Astros vs. Nationals Odds, Picks, Predictions: Houston Should Roll with Framber Valdez On Friday (May 13)
Katelyn Mulcahy/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Framber Valdez.
- The Houston Astros take on the Washington Nationals in a rematch of the 2019 World Series on Friday.
- The Astros have remained on their game since that season, while the Nationals have been trending downward.
- Check out Doug Ziefel's full betting guide complete with odds and picks below.
Astros vs. Nationals Odds
|Time||7:05 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
The Houston Astros have been among the top tier of teams for some time now, and even with the departure of Carlos Correa this past offseason, not much has changed. They come in tied for the third-best record in the league.
Their opponent Friday has had a very different franchise trajectory. It wasn’t long ago that the Washington Nationals were on top and perennial contenders. However, things can change fast as stars leave and injuries mount up.
This season is supposed to be the beginning of something new. The Nationals’ young talent is up, but they haven’t quite flourished yet like the brass may have thought.
With that said, this line is a bit peculiar given the circumstances surrounding each of these teams. Is this line too good to be true? Or are the Nats primed to steal the series opener? Let’s dive in to find out.
Expect Astros to Get to Gray
It may be no surprise, but the Astros’ lineup has been one of the best in the early going. They’ll enter this matchup fifth in the league in wRC+ and seventh in offensive runs above average.
Their lineup is a talent mix of young studs and all-star caliber veterans, as players like Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker have started to lead the club offensively.
However, they will be without one key bat in this game in star rookie Jeremy Peña. Peña is the odds-on favorite for AL Rookie of the Year and has filled in the big shoes at shortstop quite nicely. While his presence will be missed, the Astros have plenty of bats that should get to Josiah Gray.
Gray’s stuff has translated well to the big league level, and we’ve seen strides thus far. His curveball and slider each have 48.5% whiff rates and have helped him put together multiple quality outings.
However, Gray runs into trouble when his command fails him, and that has been a common occurrence this season. His walk rate is among the bottom 20% of the league, and that lack of command has also led to many mistakes inside the zone as well.
While Gray’s stuff may be good, if it’s not located well, it has been hit hard. That’s shown in the underlying numbers, as Gray will enter this start in the bottom 35% of all qualified pitchers in average exit velocity allowed and hard-hit rate.
This Astros lineup will make him pay dearly for any mistakes in location.
Valdez to Keep Nats’ Bats Quiet
Framber Valdez has quietly been one of the better pitchers in baseball, and this season has been no different. He’ll enter this start with a 3.34 ERA through six starts.
While that ERA may not be the flashiest, Valdez excels in generating soft contact with his excellent sinker and elite curveball.
He sits in the top 40% of the league in hard-hit rate and average exit velocity. In addition, he’s in the top 4% of pitchers in barrel rate. That’s the most telling of how effective his arsenal is in producing poor contact.
Now, this is not just the Valdez Show, as the Nationals have threats in their lineup. Juan Soto has begun to pick it up of late with two homers in his last three games. Josh Bell and Yadiel Hernandez have carried the club offensively but have started to cool down. And we can’t forget about old Nelson Cruz, who’s demolished left-handed pitching over the course of his career.
The Nationals are not being overlooked here. The fact of the matter is that Valdez’s arsenal is designed to contain lineups and limit damage. The Nats only have a few threats that Valdez will need to be wary of. He has the potential to cruise in this outing.
All signs are pointing toward a Houston victory in this one. The Astros should give Valdez plenty of run support, as they will have plenty of traffic on the bases around Gray.
Meanwhile, Valdez’s crafty stuff will give the young Washington lineup fits for the duration of the evening.
This line should be much higher, and I’ll gladly back Houston at this price.
Pick: Astros -155