Mariners vs. Astros Betting Odds & Pick: How to Back Houston in Series Opener (Monday, April 26)
Bob Levey/Getty Images. Pictured: Jose Urquidy.
Mariners vs. Astros Odds
|Time||Monday, 8:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Sunday and via FanDuel|
It has been a roller-coaster season for the Astros so far in 2021.
Houston started the year 6-1, a stretch that included going 5-0 against the A’s. The Astros then lost nine out of 10 to Oakland, the Tigers, Mariners and Rockies — three of the projected worst teams in the league.
The Astros enter this series after winning three of four against the Angels at home. We’ll see how long this hot stretch lasts before things go downhill — that’s just how this season has gone so far.
The Mariners have been a surprise group to start this season. Seattle is 13-9 and just one game behind the first-place A’s in the American League West.
Let’s dig into this matchup to see who has the edge.
Justus Sheffield showed the potential that once made him a top prospect last season, registering a 3.58 ERA and 3.17 FIP in 10 starts (55 1/3 innings). The fact that his WHIP was 1.30 and he still registered those numbers indicates that he was not allowing much hard-hit contact.
This season, he has struggled to the tune of a 4.86 ERA and 5.14 FIP through three starts, spanning 16 2/3 innings. His hits per nine innings are down and his strikeouts are up, but he’s already allowed three home runs and is issuing 3.8 walks per nine.
Sheffield has faced the Astros once in his career, tossing six innings last year while allowing two runs (one earned).
The best way to describe the Mariners’ lineup this season is top heavy. Mitch Haniger (.892 OPS) and Ty France (.940) are both raking. Take them out of the equation, and there is not much to write home about. Kyle Seager’s OPS is right around league average, while Kyle Lewis has only played four games after starting the season on the injured list.
Houston’s Jose Urquidy is not a strikeout pitcher, and you don’t have to be to handle this Mariners lineup. Avoid any major mistakes and Seattle can be contained, as Urquidy did earlier this season when he allowed two runs on five hits while striking out seven over 5 2/3 innings.
With Justin Verlander probably out for the season due to Tommy John surgery and Framber Valdez on the injured list for who knows how long, the Astros are relying heavily on Urquidy this season.
The Mexican right-hander made just 16 appearances (14 starts) in his first two seasons between 2019-20. He made eight postseason appearances in that time and registered a 2.81 ERA. He even got a win in the 2019 World Series.
Houston was able to rely on him entering this season, and there’s reason to believe it will be able to over the course of a 162-game campaign.
Injuries limited Urquidy to only five starts last season, and he’s already made four this year. His 5.14 ERA says he’s been subpar, but a 3.43 FIP indicates better results are around the corner. He’s allowing 9.4 hits per nine innings, but a lot of softly hit balls have caused trouble. Urquidy’s 8.6 strikeouts per nine innings are encouraging, as well.
The Astros’ lineup is close to fully healthy. They are just waiting on Jose Altuve’s return, which could come during this series.
Michael Brantley has been the consistent presence atop the lineup with a .978 OPS so far. Yuli Gurriel (.970) has been a necessary run-producer, as well.
Kyle Tucker is the only Astros regular who is below an .800 OPS on the season, but he leads the team in home runs (five) and is tied for the RBI lead (13) delisted a .593 OPS.
Bad news for Sheffield: The Astors have a strong .774 OPS against southpaws this season, good for eighth in the majors.
I see good things coming for Urquidy on Monday night against a lineup that lacks any depth, and the Astros match up well against any lefty starter.
Houston’s moneyline is far too steep. I’ll back the Astros to make it four wins in five games through the run line.
Pick: Astros -1.5 (+114)