Two of the three clubs are underdogs in Sunday's MLB Odds and the other is a road favorite which will have several baseball handicappers looking closer at the home underdog.
Astros vs. Rays Betting Odds: Houston Counting on McCullers
The Astros have lost five in a row and hope a well-rested Lance McCullers (4-2, 2.16 ERA) can provide them welcome relief at Tampa Bay and salvage one game of the series and post just their second win in eight tries. With a victory, Houston is guaranteed to hang on to first place in the AL West.
McCullers regular turn was supposed to be Friday, but manager A.J. Hinch wants to lighten the load on his prized rookie who will start on six days rest. He's allowed just one run in each of last three starts, averaging six innings per outing.
It might not matter how well McCullers pitches unless Houston starts scoring some runs. During this five-game losing streak, Astros pitchers have only allowed 3.0 runs per game, but the offense has been quieter than the box office for Arnold Schwarzenegger's new movie in registering four total runs.
Houston is a -127 away favorite (-121 at Hertiagesports.eu) as the Rays Matt Moore (0-0, 8.00) tries to regain the form he showed pre-Tommy John surgery. This looks like a fairly good setup for the Stros who are 15-5 after batting .240 or worse over a 15-game span this season.
Slight Advantage - McCullers and Houston
Braves vs. Rockies Betting Odds: Atlanta Looks to Avoid Sweep in Colorado
Atlanta has dumped four consecutive games and might not draw much support for those placing MLB picks with their current 19-29 away record (-3.3 units). Alex Wood (6-5, 3.34) is actually making his second start of the series, after throwing only two pitches and forced to sit for over two hours in a rain delay. The left-hander has been a handful for opposing teams playing at home with Wood 4-2 with a 2.11 ERA over his last seven road starts. He was asked about coming right back the Braves pitchers said, "You've just got to deal with it and move on and I look forward to taking the ball on Sunday."
Atlanta's a +110 underdog has they try to escape from Denver having never lost a four-game series to the Rockies and will take on Chad Bettis (4-4, 4.95). Not sure how good Bettis actually is but he better not be as bad as his last outing again when he gave up 10 runs and eight hits - including four homers - in 2 1/3 innings in a 10-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
If Wood has his good stuff, he can limit Colorado who is 4-14 vs. lefties and averaging only 3.2 RPG.
Slight Advantage - Wood and Atlanta
Phillies vs. Giants Betting Odds: Large Road Underdogs (What's New?) in San Fran
Philadelphia has been run over in away encounters like road kill, losing 36 of 47 games by an average of 2.4 RPG. The Phillies Chad Billingsley (1-2, 6.67) picked up his first victory in 25 months the last time out against his former team the Dodgers and will finish off Philly's first half.
However, San Francisco is among the teams that love to face the Phillies, with a recent 11-3 mark and averaging 6.0 RPG. Billingsley will be in the opposing dugout getting a good look at the Giants Chris Heston (8-5, 3.51). Philadelphia is a +205 underdog and fits a very profitable system which says to Play Against NL road teams in July who are allowing 4.8 or more RPG. Since 2010 clubs like the Phils are 15-62 and those making sports should have the choice to bet the money or run lines.
Disadvantage - Billingsley and Philadelphia