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MLB Betting Odds, Picks for Astros vs. Red Sox: Back Houston’s Offense (Tuesday, May 17)

MLB Betting Odds, Picks for Astros vs. Red Sox: Back Houston’s Offense (Tuesday, May 17) article feature image

Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images. Pictured: Jose Altuve.

  • The Boston Red Sox take on the Houston Astros in Tuesday night MLB action.
  • While the Astros find themselves atop the AL West standings as usual, the Red Sox have struggled to begin 2022.
  • Mike Ianniello breaks this game down and shares his top betting pick below.

Astros vs. Red Sox Odds

Astros Odds+104
Red Sox Odds-122
Over/Under8.5 (-112 / -108)
Time7:10 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

It can be nearly impossible to take personal biases out of gambling. The good news is that I am a Yankees fan, so I absolutely despise the Red Sox and Astros. That means you don’t have to worry about bias here.

That being said, it brings me great joy that the Red Sox are on pace for over 100 losses. Shame. Houston, meanwhile, is back in its usual spot atop the AL West standings. The Astros have won the division in four of the last five years — although there was the whole cheating scandal.

This series is the first meeting of the season between these two teams after Houston defeated Boston in six games in last year’s ALCS.

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Astros Rolling on Offense 

It has been a rocky start to the season for José Urquidy (RHP), holding a 4.40 ERA with even worse expected stats. His xERA is way up at 6.36, and his xwOBA sits at .408.

Teams are hammering Urquidy, and he ranks in the bottom 10% of the league in xERA, xwOBA, xBA, hard-hit percentage and average exit velocity.

The good news for Houston fans is Urquidy showed signs of improvement over his last two starts. He has allowed just one run over nine innings in his last two outings. And hey, he still doesn’t walk anybody.

Despite injuries to Jose Altuve and slow starts from Kyle Tucker and Alex Bregman, the Houston offense ranks top-10 in wOBA and top-three in wRC+. It ranks 27th in BABIP, so it could be even better if that returns to average.

Yordan Álvarez has been mashing the ball for Houston, ranking second in the league in home runs. He leads the Astros in wRC+. Jeremy Peña has been great at shortstop, hitting .448 over the last two weeks but is day-to-day with a knee injury.

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Can Eovaldi Avoid Negative Regression?

Nathan Eovaldi (RHP) has been his usual reliable self this season. The Red Sox ace has a 3.15 ERA through seven starts, which would be the best mark of his career. Opponents have a .309 wOBA against him, and his curveball remains effective once again.

Similar to Urquidy, Eovaldi’s advanced stats are concerning. He holds a 4.38 xERA and .350 xwOBA to go along with a 2.03 K/9 and nine home runs in seven starts. In each of his last two starts, he has allowed three earned runs. He has also walked more batters in his last two starts than his previous five.

Despite finishing last season third in wOBA and sixth in wRC+ and adding two-time All-Star Trevor Story, the Boston offense has been as cold as winter in the South Shore. The Red Sox are in the bottom five of the league in wOBA and wRC+. Only Detroit has hit fewer home runs.

Pitchers have gotten the Red Sox to chase pitches out of the zone more than any other team in the league.

Rafael Devers is the only player in Boston’s lineup to hit more than five home runs this year, and Devers, Xander Bogaerts and JD Martinez are the only players with a wRC+ over 70.

Astros-Red Sox Pick

Since Altuve returned from injury on May 2, he’s batting .327 with a .482 wOBA and 233 wRC+. Over that stretch, Peña has a wOBA of .508 and a wRC+ of 251, while Álvarez, Tucker, Brantley, Bregman and Yuli Gurriel all have a wOBA over .340 and a wRC+ over 130.

As a team, the Astros have the highest wRC+ in the league since Altuve’s return.

Houston also absolutely mashes right-handed pitching. As good as Eovaldi can be, his xERA is more than a full run higher than his actual ERA, and he has given up a lot of home runs this year.

Even if he does have a strong outing, the Red Sox bullpen ranks 24th in reliever ERA and 25th in xFIP.

Despite the starting pitching advantage for the Sox, Houston has been the much better team this year. It has a big advantage on offense, especially against a right-handed pitcher.

I’ll back the Astros at anything plus-money here.

Pick: Astros +108

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