Astros-Rays Betting Preview: The One Time To Bet a Big Favorite

Astros-Rays Betting Preview: The One Time To Bet a Big Favorite article feature image

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander

Houston Astros vs. Tampa Bay Rays, 8:10 p.m. ET

  • Astros -260
  • Rays +215
  • Total 7

Bet to Watch:

Astros -260

The Houston Astros can’t lose. The ‘Stros have won a franchise record-tying 12 consecutive games, including a 5-4 comeback victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night. Houston is a big favorite to make it 13 straight. Bookmakers opened the AL West-leading Astros as -260 favorites against the Rays on Tuesday with Justin Verlander starting. The ace is 9-2 with an AL-leading 1.61 ERA. Lefty Blake Snell (8-4, 2.58 ERA) will go for Tampa.

Casual bettors love big moneyline favorites. Since 2005, there have been 2,776 teams that were -200 or greater favorites, according to Bet Labs. Of those teams, 2,725 (98%) received more than 50% of moneyline tickets. Betting the uber chalk has not worked out for the squares. While these teams are 1,924-852 (69%) straight-up, a $100 bettor would be down $2,128.


Knowing sizable favorites have not been profitable, I thought there would be value fading Houston considering their recent scoring outburst. The Astros have outscored their opponents 86-44 and averaging 7.2 runs per game during this winning streak. However, favorites of -200 or greater that have scored five or more runs for at least five consecutive games have gone 77-20 (79%) straight-up in their next game. Unlike with all big favorites, betting teams in this situation has been profitable. A $100 gambler would have returned a profit of $1,261 betting these squads for a 13% return on investment.

It is a small sample size, but with Verlander on the mound and the Astros offense clicking, this could be the one time to bet a big favorite.

Editor’s note: The opinion on this game is from the individual writer and is based on his research, analysis and perspective. It is independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.