MLB Odds & Picks for Astros vs. Mets: Betting Value on Wednesday’s Favorite
Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images. Pictured: Taijuan Walker (Mets)
- Two of the best teams in MLB square off on Wednesday at Citi Field in Queens, New York.
- The Astros will turn to future Hall-of-Famer Justin Verlander, while the Mets will look toward Taijuan Walker, who's played well on the surface this season.
- Doug Ziefel explains why Houston's lineup will be too much for Walker and New York.
Astros vs. Mets Odds
|Over/Under||8.5 (-105 / -115)|
|Time||1:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
Houston chose to flip its rotation for this series, and the plan worked to perfection in game one. Framber Valdez held the Mets scoreless for the entirety of his outing in what was ultimately a 9-1 victory.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Astros get to turn to their ace and future Hall of Famer, Justin Verlander. Verlander has not missed a beat coming off of Tommy John surgery, as he enters this start with a 9-3 record and 2.22 ERA.
Opposing Verlander will be Taijuan Walker. On the surface, Walker’s numbers are excellent, as he’ll take the ball for this outing with a 6-2 record and 3.03 ERA. He’s allowed three runs or less in nine of his 12 starts this season, but a closer look may reveal how good Walker has actually been.
Can Walker dazzle the hot Astros bats and even up the series? Or will Verlander continue to dominate on the way to his 10th victory of the year? Let’s dig deeper to find out.
Look for Houston to Ambush Walker
As I eluded to in the intro, Walker has been everything the Mets have needed him to be in the backend of the rotation.
However, his underlying metrics are pointing toward some significant regression. Walker is in the bottom 20% of all qualified pitchers in Average Exit Velocity Allowed and Hard-Hit Rate.
He also has not missed many bats this year, as he’s in the bottom 40% in both strikeout and whiff rate. While that’s primarily due to an arsenal that’s tailored toward producing ground-balls, that level of hard contact allowed is a bad recipe against this Astros lineup.
Houston comes into this matchup after a nine-run outing, and that type of offensive production is nothing new to this team.
Houston is tied for the second-highest wRC+, and it has the third-highest ISO in the majors. The Astros flashed that power last night, as seven of their nine runs came by way of the long ball.
We could see more homers in this contest, as they’re very formidable against pitchers with Walker’s contact metrics.
Yordan Alvarez has been tearing the cover off the ball, as he’s tied for the highest Average Exit Velocity in the majors.
However, he’s not alone. Kyle Tucker has begun to get hot, and he now has an elite xwOBA and a xBA of .305.
Stud rookie shortstop Jermey Pena was recently activated off the IL, and he enters with a .274 xBA and an Average Exit Velocity of 89.2 mph.
Walker has only surrendered three homers this season, but what the big bats of Yordan and Tucker have in common is that they are lefties. Walker’s xFIP against lefties is significantly higher (4.21) than his xFIP to righties (3.59).
All signs point to the Astros getting to Walker early and often.
Verlander to Keep Mets Lineup in Check
When you look at the Mets’ lineup, their numbers are not staggering. But they’re currently the best team in the National League.
Pete Alonso leads the majors in RBI, and Francisco Lindor is not far behind him. However, the Mets have done all of this without making consistent hard contact. Only J.D. Davis, Brandon Nimmo and Alonso have above-average exit velocities.
This is a lineup that a veteran like Verlander can take advantage of.
Even though Verlander has not lost his stuff post-Tommy John surgery, his strikeout rate has decreased significantly since he was last healthy.
Verlander is primarily a three-pitch pitcher, as he throws his fastball over 50% of the time while his slider and curveball make up the rest.
However, his fastball usage is all to set up the breaking stuff. His slider and curveball have double the put-away percentage that his fastball does. His breaking stuff still has above-average spin rates, and as a result, they each have BAAs under .190.
While the Mets may cause some traffic on the bases, expect Verlander to limit the damage.
The Astros showed they were the better club when they swept the Mets in their two-game series last week.
When they pick up another victory on Wednesday, they’ll be well on their way to another sweep.
Houston’s lineup is too much for Walker, who is bound to regress in this matchup — especially given the amount of hard contact he allows and his glaring struggles with lefties.
On the other side, Verlander will look to execute a particular approach against this pesky Mets lineup.
In the end, the Astros get on the board early and take this afternoon matinee.
Pick: Astros -130