Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#971 Kansas City Royals 8 vs.
#972 Houston Astros -265
Monday, May 6, 2019 at 8:10pm EDT
Written by Chris Altruda

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Kansas City Royals at Houston Astros

When and Where: Monday, May 6, Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas, 8:10 p.m. EDT.

Having finally gotten some run support last time out, Gerrit Cole looks to make it back-to-back wins Monday night when the Houston Astros begin a three-game series versus the Kansas City Royals.

Junis hitting groove for Royals

Jakob Junis (3-2, 5.12 ERA) is looking to win a third consecutive start after picking up his effectiveness following a rough opening to 2019.

The right-hander matched his longest outing of the year Wednesday, pitching 6 1-3 innings and holding the Tampa Bay Rays to two runs and six hits in a 3-2 victory.

“Having some success in Tampa with that start, we kinda just went in sticking with the same game plan,” Junis told the Kansas City Star. “We were going to adjust on the fly if we needed to. Not as many strikeouts today, obviously. They were probably sitting on my slider a little more, but we got outs when we needed to and got deep enough into the game to let the bullpen do their job.”

Opponents are hitting .286 against Junis, though that number dips to .258 on the road — where the righty is 1-1 with a 4.41 ERA in three starts. He is 0-1 with a 10.00 ERA in two starts versus the Astros, getting tagged for six runs and seven hits — three of them home runs — in 5 1-3 innings of a 7-3 loss in the lone meeting last year.

Carlos Correa is 3 for 5 with a homer lifetime versus Junis.

Cole racking up strikeouts, now trying to rack up wins

Cole (2-4, 3.95) has struck out at least six in every start, and his 65 led the majors entering play Sunday. The left-hander had been backed with only 11 runs in his first six starts before the Astros matched that Tuesday as he tossed seven one-hit innings while fanning 11 in an 11-0 rout of Minnesota on Tuesday.

“I just tried to fill up the zone in the second and try to find where the middle of the zone was,” Cole told The Associated Press. “I just got better command of my off-speed stuff, and I was able to just attack the zone better.”

Cole, who is holding opposing hitters to a .190 average, is 0-1 with a 3.21 ERA in two home starts and has been backed with only four runs in those games. The right-hander was effective in beating Kansas City in his lone matchup last year, yielding one run while striking out eight in five innings of an 11-3 victory.

His only other appearance versus the Royals was a road loss in 2015 while pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Despite batting just .143 on the season, Chris Owens could be in line for a start for the Royals since he is 5 for 12 with four doubles versus Cole.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

A confidence pick in Cole picking up where he left off from his last start coupled with facing a Royals team that has dropped 11 of its last 16 games. Houston appears to have righted itself offensively after scoring 24 runs in its two-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels and has held opponents to three or fewer runs in seven of its last 11 games.

Prediction: Astros -1.5 runs (-140)

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:

Rating:

This is a bit of a toss-up considering the Astros will be flying back from Monterrey, Mexico, on Sunday night, so jet lag may be a concern. The Astros have also scored their runs in bunches late, plating 10 or more in three games while scoring two or less in the other three over their last six contests. This line ticked up one-half run, and without the hook, the over still feels like a safer play.

Prediction: OVER 8 runs (-110)

Full-Game Prop Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

A confidence pick in Cole continuing his solid form while Junis is able to keep the Royals within touching distance. Cole is sporting a solid 1.04 WHIP while also giving up 0.692 hits per inning.

Prediction: UNDER 25.5 runs+hits+errors (-115)

First Five Innings Side Pick

Insiders Status:

Rating:

Junis has helped the Royals grab a five-inning lead in four of his seven starts, while Cole’s sharp outing last time out marked the first time he led after five in four starts. This should be a low-scoring game, so a flyer grabbing the Royals and a half-run is worth a play.

Prediction: Royals +0.5 runs (+157)

First Five Innings Total Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

The hook makes the under the play here with the expectation Cole and Junis matching quality pitches. Cole has delivered the five-inning under in five of his last six starts and could carry this if he follows up with the same form from his last start.

Prediction: UNDER 4.5 runs (-115)

First Five Innings Prop Prediction

Insiders Status:

Rating:

Both pitchers have a 9.00 ERA in the first inning, but recency bias gives the edge to there being a scoreless opening frame. Cole’s number is inflated by a five-spot hung on him by Texas on April 20, while Junis has gotten through two of his last three starts without giving up a first-inning run.

Prediction: NO to 1st-inning run (-130)
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Written By Chris Altruda

A 1994 graduate of Marquette University when they were known as the Warriors and Brooklyn native, Chris Altruda is based in Chicago. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiner, he worked at three major U.S. wire services and also has prior experience in sports handicapping and daily fantasy roster building. Now that the Cubs have won a World Series, he holds out hope the Jets will win a Super Bowl before he dies. Follow Chris daily right here at W&W and on Twitter at @AlTruda73. You won’t be disappointed.