Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#971 Texas Rangers 8.5 vs.
#972 Houston Astros -350
Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 8:10pm EDT
Written by Nick Raffoul

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#972 Houston
74-77
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The Texas Rangers will travel to Minute Maid Park on Tuesday evening for the opening game of a two-game mini-series versus the division-rival Houston Astros.

Houston currently sits atop the American League standings with a 98-53 overall record and they are 7.5-games ahead of the Oakland A’s in the AL West. Despite numerous injuries, the Astros have managed to stay atop the AL, thanks in part to slugger Jose Altuve’s resurgence at the plate. After batting just .262 in the first half, Altuve has found his form at the dish since the All-star Break, hitting .337 with 18 home runs and a 1.026 OPS. Can the Astros continue to cruise towards October with a victory over the Rangers on Tuesday night?

Lynn hoping to snap personal four-game slide

Right-handed ace Lance Lynn will toe the rubber for Texas at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday evening. Lynn has spent the majority of the season among the AL leaders in pitching WAR this year and he enters second to only Astros’ ace Gerrit Cole (6.5) in that regard with a WAR of 6.2. However, run support has been a problem for Lynn as of late. He’s received three runs of support or less in seven consecutive outings (all Rangers losses), yet he’s allowed one earned run or less in six of his last nine starts. Last time out, the Rangers’ ace surrendered just one run on four hits in seven innings of work versus the Tampa Bay Rays, but he was unable to snap a personal four-game slide, settling for a no-decision despite a solid effort. Lynn enters with a 14-10 overall record to go along with a 3.72 ERA, though his 3.10 FIP is probably a better indication of how well he’s pitched this year.

Lynn has seen the Astros three times this year, going 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA. According to Baseball Savant, current Astros are batting .286 in 146 plate appearances off the Rangers’ ace heading into this game.

Verlander vying for AL Cy Young after lights out second half

One bettor is confident that the Houston Astros will win the World Series. A petition has been filed in New Jersey to allow a bettor to wager more than $5 million, according to PlayNJ.com. FanDuel Sportsbook confirmed Monday that it filed a petition requesting the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement to waive the state’s $5 million cap for a customer. The customer is suspected to be Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, who reportedly refunded more than $13 million to customers who participated in his win-it-all promotion back when the Astros won the World Series back in 2017.

Houston is scheduled to hand the ball to right-handed ace Justin Verlander on Tuesday evening for their first game versus the Rangers. Verlander is among the contenders for the AL Cy Young Award once again this season. The 36-year-old right-hander ranks in the top-two in the AL in several major pitching categories, including wins, strikeouts, ERA, WHIP, and innings pitched. He comes in with an 18-6 overall record to go along with a 2.58 ERA and a 0.78 WHIP in 31 starts spanning 206 frames this season. In those 31 outings, he’s completed six innings or more 27 times, while allowing three earned runs or less on 25 occasions. Verlander has punched out double-digit batters 12 times — a feat he’s accomplished in nine of his last 11 starts. He’s 8-2 with a 1.93 ERA during the second half and he’s struck out a whopping 122 batters in just 79 ⅓ frames since the All-Star Break.

In five starts versus the Rangers this season, the Astros’ right-hander is 4-0 with a 2.70 ERA. Verlander has made 30 career starts against Texas in his career, going 17-8 with a 2.80 ERA. According to Baseball Savant, current Rangers are batting .212 in 376 plate appearances off the Astros’ ace heading into Tuesday’s matchup.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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There’s just too much juice to eat in this spot. Verlander leads the big leagues in WHIP, opponents batting average, innings pitched, and ERA, yet Lynn actually owns a better WAR heading into Tuesday’s matchup (6.2 compared to JV’s 5.8). The Rangers have been finishing the season strong, winning six of their last 10 games and outside of Verlander and fellow ace Gerrit Cole, Lynn has arguably been one of the AL’s best pitchers. He’s received three runs or support or less in seven consecutive outings, so he’s due in that regard and at +260, he’s worth the price of admission here. Take the Rangers on the road versus the AL-leading Astros on Tuesday night. 

Prediction: Texas Rangers +260

Full-Game Total Pick

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The under looks to be the safest play in this ball game. Verlander has been absolutely lights out during the second half and he’s striking out batters at an absurd rate as he rounds into postseason form. Meanwhile, Lynn appeared to get back on track during his last outing and both pitchers have had considerable success versus the opposition heading into this game. Runs are undoubtedly going to be tough to come by in this one. Take the under in this American League West clash at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night. 

Prediction: Under 8.5
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.