Astros vs. White Sox MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Framber Valdez, Michael Kopech Make Over/Under the Pick (Wednesday, August 17)
Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Michael Kopech.
- Framber Valdez and Michael Kopech will take the mound in an intriguing matchup between the Astros and White Sox.
- Both pitchers are among the best in the game and our analyst sees value in the total.
- Kenny Ducey breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Astros vs. White Sox Odds
|White Sox Odds||+125|
|Over/Under||8 (-115 / -105)|
|Time||8:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
The White Sox can’t be stopped, even by the mighty Houston Astros. After sweeping the Detroit Tigers, Chicago has welcomed in the AL West leaders by taking the first two games of their three-game set, and has now won five straight.
With a tantalizing pitching matchup set for Wednesday, is there anything between these two clubs? Let’s break it down.
Houston will have the benefit of turning to one of its most trusted arms here in Framber Valdez. The lefty has been brilliant this season, pitching to a 2.73 ERA in 22 starts with an elite .313 xwOBA on contact. While his expected ERA points to some slight regression, that’s nothing new for Valdez.
He’s likely benefited from good defense behind him, as he has for most of his career, and given the fact that he’s brought his hard-hit rate down to 38.3% this season — the lowest of his career when you discount his handful of innings as a rookie — he could be arguably in the best shape he’s ever been. He’s also increased his strikeout rate by a slim 0.2% and his walk rate is down 1.7%.
As many know at this point, Valdez is going to come at you with his sinker and he’s going to look for ground ball outs. His ground ball rate is at 68.4% this season which, while a bit lower than we saw last year, is still a ridiculous 23.5% above league average.
Offensively, there’s not much new for the Astros. They’re fourth in contact rate in the last week and have really made the most of it when they’ve gotten a bat on the ball given their 127 wRC+ ranks sixth in the league as well as their .168 ISO.
Chicago White Sox
On the other end of this pitching matchup we have Michael Kopech, who has done pretty well to silence the critics over his last five starts. While the results have been better — aside from one minor clunker — the diminished fastball velocity which worried many seems to be a thing of the past.
The right-hander dipped down to a new low against the Tigers on July 10th, averaging about 92 mph on his four-seamer, which capped off a slow decline. He’d decreased from the 96 mph average we saw in his June 7th start gradually, losing mph in almost every start. Then, against the Twins on July 15th, Kopech shot back up to above 95 mph and he’s done well to maintain that over his last five starts.
In three August outings, Kopech has pitched to a 3.31 ERA and even struck out 11 last timeout against the Tigers without allowing a hit. He’s allowed a few home runs, but on the whole he’s been a lot more effective now that his velocity has returned.
Not helping the White Sox’ cause in this game is the fact that they’re fourth in ground ball rate for the season. That is something we will want to look out for, though they are fourth in wRC+ against southpaws this season and in the last seven days rank 18th in ground ball rate.
Astros-White Sox Pick
While the White Sox aren’t putting the ball on the ground more than a ton of teams lately, their 42.7% ground ball rate in the last week isn’t that far off from their season-long mark of 45.3%. I still don’t think this is a very good matchup considering how effective Valdez has been at inducing ground balls and how much of a step forward he’s taken this season.
On the other hand, Kopech has been brilliant since his velocity has returned and I’m not certain oddsmakers are respecting him enough right now, given the fact that he was pretty dominant before he lost mph on the fastball.
I think this game will be a thrilling, low-scoring affair.
Pick: Under 8 (-115)
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