Astros vs Rangers MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back the Houston Bats in this Lone Star State Matchup (Wednesday, August 31)

Astros vs Rangers MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back the Houston Bats in this Lone Star State Matchup (Wednesday, August 31) article feature image

Logan Riely/Getty Images. Pictured: Yordan Alvarez #44 of the Houston Astros.

  • The Rangers host the Astros in a lone star state showdown on Wednesday afternoon in Arlington.
  • This sets up for an awesome starting pitching matchup with Cristian Javier on the mound for the Astros and Martin Pérez taking the ball for the Rangers.
  • D.J. James breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.

Astros vs. Rangers Odds

Astros Odds-160
Rangers Odds+135
Over/Under7.5 (-110/-110)
Time2:05 p.m. ET
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Martín Pérez vs. Cristian Javier is a sneaky pitching matchup on Wednesday afternoon. Pérez has had a great season with a 2.69 ERA and 3.33 xERA, and Javier has been even better with a 2.96 ERA and 2.63 xERA. Pérez has benefitted from some luck, while Javier has not received the same fortune. Even still, Javier has a slight edge between the starting pitchers.

However, the Astros are the better of these two teams, so their moneyline is steeply priced at -160. The Rangers are slightly above average against right-handers, but Javier is not like most righties in the league: he is significantly better. Pair this with the Astros' stronger bullpen, and there is a reason the market is set as it is.

Seeing this, backing the Houston Astros on the team total over is the correct call. It is a decent number and reasonable enough. Pérez has been impressive, but he allowed seven earned runs over five innings pitched against the Astros in their last matchup. Houston will score at will early.

Javier Should Thrive for the Astros

Javier is a stud. He will fill in nicely as the ace of the staff when Justin Verlander retires in a few years. His 32.4% Strikeout Rate is phenomenal and ranks in the 93rd percentile in the majors. He has had issues with walks this season, ranking in the 34th percentile at 8.9%. However, the Rangers have ranked in the middle of the pack in Walk Rate against righties in August, so this shouldn't be much of an issue for the Astros.

The Rangers are missing Mitch Garver and Eli White to the 60-day Injured List, but they are otherwise healthy. They have a team wRC+ of 103 this month off of northpaws, so they have potential against other pitchers not named Cristian Javier.

Nathaniel Lowe, Corey Seager, and Charlie Culberson are the only three Rangers hitters above a .330 xwOBA off of righties. Adolis García, Marcus Semien, and Kole Calhoun come in above .300, so this means they can piece together a strong plate appearance here and there. Either way, Javier will carve up the bottom portion of this lineup.

Houston’s bullpen has been great. They have a 3.11 xFIP and 28.9% Strikeout Rate in August. Blake Taylor and Josh James are on the 60-day IL, but missing Ryan Pressly to the 15-day IL does hurt this team’s late-inning lockdown ability. Nonetheless, every member of the Astros bullpen aside from Ryne Stanek has a sub-4.00 xFIP. They will be fine after Javier exits.

Keep in mind, Javier has faced this Rangers team three times and has gone at least five innings without allowing more than two earned runs in each appearance.

Can Pérez and the Rangers Hold Off the Astros Hitters?

Pérez has had a consistent 3.41 ERA in July and August, and his ERA has remained similar to his first half (2.72 ERA versus 2.68). He hovers a bit below the 50th percentile in Strikeout Rate and Walk Rate. He will struggle to strike out the Astros as they have a 12.7% Strikeout Rate as a team against lefties, the lowest in the MLB.

With Aledmys Díaz and Michael Brantley on the IL, the Astros have seven batters eclipsing a .340 xwOBA, five of whom remain over the .400 mark. They will hunt Pérez for a few innings and get to the bullpen easily, as they did in his last matchup.

However, the Rangers have a decent bullpen of their own at a 3.41 xFIP, which is behind the Astros, but not by much. They do have a few weak links in middle relief whom the Astros may see if they hit Pérez hard, so this is another small advantage for Houston.

Astros-Rangers Pick

Both of these pitchers are strong, but the Astros kill southpaw pitching, especially lately. They will do the same with Pérez, as they proved by thumping him in his last appearance against them.

Javier is a great righty, and the Rangers should see little success with him on the bump. The Astros also have one of the best bullpens in baseball behind him, even without Ryan Pressly.

Take Houston’s team total over at 4.5 (+105), and play this up to 5 (-130).

Pick: Houston Astros Over 4.5 (+105) | Play to 5 (-130)

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