MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions for Astros vs. Yankees

MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions for Astros vs. Yankees article feature image

Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Verlander (Astros)

Astros vs. Yankees Odds

Saturday, August 5
1:05 p.m. ET
Astros Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
-104 / -118
Yankees Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
-104/ -118
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.
Check out our MLB Betting Hub for more previews from today's slate.

Justin Verlander is back with the Astros after a short half-season stay with the Mets, and he'll make his season debut for Houston on Saturday afternoon in the Bronx against the Yankees.

Just before the trade, Verlander showed signs of returning to his Cy Young form. But there remain underlying questions about his decline in strikeout rate this year.

Verlander is opposed by Yankees lefty Nestor Cortes Jr., who makes his long-awaited return from the injured list.

The Yankees and Astros have split the first two games of their four-game series, as Houston is attempting to chase down Texas for the AL West crown and the Yankees attempt to tread water in the AL wild card race.

There's a lot of uncertainty with both pitchers right now, but the Astros are in a significant split advantage against the lefty Cortes, and there's a lot more questions about Cortes' effectiveness than Verlander's at the moment.

Houston Astros

Even though the results have been good in the last month in New York, you can't really project Verlander as an elite starter given the decline in his peripherals. His strikeout rate is down seven percent from last season and his walk rate is up from well above league average to solidly below.

Even if Verlander consistently outperforms his underlying xERA and stuff data, the Astros right-hander can't be priced at the levels he was during his 2022 Cy Young campaign.

The graph below shows just how sharp the decline has been in his rolling K/9 rate. Even as the results have improved in July — a 1.69 ERA across six starts — his strikeout rate remains well below one per inning, and he's still had 16 walks in 37 innings pitched.

A lot of the success he's had is BABIP driven, with a .212 BABIP allowed in the last month.

Verlander did completely shatter his underlying peripherals en route to the 2022 Cy Young Award, but I remain skeptical of him continuing to do so this season.

There's nothing in the swinging strike rate, fastball velocity or CSW% to suggest that he'll maintain this recent run of form.

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New York Yankees

Cortes has relied on his cutter to induce weak contact and beat his K-BB% peripherals for the majority of his successful time with the Yankees. After a stellar 2021 and part of 2022, there's been a lot more inconsistency for him this season, though.

Prior to his injury that put him on the 60-day IL, Cortes had a 3.83 xERA, which is considerably higher than his marks in 2021 (3.30) and 2022 (2.70).

His strikeout rate had dropped from 27% in 2021 down to 23% this year, the h0me run problem returned for him and the walks creeped up to the territory where it became difficult to remain an elite pitch-to-contact guy with consistent traffic on the base paths.

Cortes hasn't pitched for the Yankees since May 30, and a pitcher who's reliant on feel and effective command is always a bit of a risk immediately after a long layoff. His minor league rehab stint in Double-A was pretty effective, but nothing can really simulate a return to the big leagues.

The chart below gives an indication of how Cortes' metrics have trended over the last three years. The projection systems really aren't a fan of Cortes going forward, as THE BAT expects a continued home run problem of 1.47 HR/9 with less than one strikeout per inning.

Cortes has quite a difficult matchup against the full strength Houston lineup, and he could struggle in his return.

Astros vs. Yankees Betting Pick

The Astros' lineup is back to full strength now that Yordan Alvarez and Jose Altuve are back in the fold. The Astros have been consistently elite against southpaws for multiple seasons with those two in the lineup.

There's a small downgrade with Yainer Diaz likely out and Martin Maldonado behind the plate for Houston, but the Astros have a favorable handed split advantage in this game.

The Yankees aren't in their better split offensively — they project better against southpaws as well — but New York could benefit from the improved power output from Giancarlo Stanton.

He's always been a streaky hitter and his recent run of barrels and power could be the spark the offense needs going forward to produce at an above-average level following Aaron Judge's return.

I continue to have questions about both starters, and I think neither can match the past form the market is pricing them at with this line.

Both bullpens can lock this game down, but I'm betting on offense early.

Pick: First Five Over 4.5 Runs (-115 or Better)

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