Mariners vs. Astros Odds, Pick, Prediction: Is Market Overvaluing Houston? (September 6)

Mariners vs. Astros Odds, Pick, Prediction: Is Market Overvaluing Houston? (September 6) article feature image
Credit:

Alika Jenner/Getty Images. Pictured: Yusei Kikuchi.

  • The Astros are favored over the Mariners in Monday night MLB action.
  • This exact same pitching matchup happened last week, with Houston closing at -159 on the road.
  • Is the market overreacting to the Astros home-field advantage here? Get our Mariners vs. Astros breakdown and pick below.

Mariners vs. Astros Odds

Mariners Odds +170
Astros Odds -200
Over/Under 8.5
Time 7:10 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds as of Monday morning and via DraftKings.

The Astros and Mariners will play their final regular-season series beginning on Monday night. Houston has a 9-7 edge in the series, but it’s lost three of the last four meetings and comes in on a two-game losing streak. The Mariners are riding high on a five-game winning streak.

This series opener is a rematch of last week between Houston’s Lance McCullers Jr. and Seattle’s Yusei Kikuchi. Houston closed as a -159 road favorite in the game, and now it’s as high as a -225 favorite just six days later.

If most things are equal, and we assign a generous 8% edge to the Astros for home-field advantage, at best, they really shouldn’t be higher than a -180 to -185 favorite.

That’s just the first observation we can make. Let’s go even deeper to explore how to find value in this matchup.

Seattle Mariners

After 25 starts this season, Kikuchi is 7-7 with a 4.12 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. His WHIP is still in decent shape, but his 22.4% HR/FB rate has led to his higher ERA. Though his 4.65 FIP does point to some regression, I’d argue that he’s still a pitcher with the long-term value given his 4.04 SIERA.

Some of Kikuchi’s flaws are corrigible — particularly his 3.30 BB/9 ratio. That’s the impression I get after factoring in his first-pitch strike rate of 63.2%. Ideally, if he’s getting ahead of hitters, one would think he should have the upper hand in most of his matchups. His 1.65 GB/FB ratio also gives him a chance, given his ability to induce groundballs helps the team convert double plays and get out of jams.

Kikuchi went 1-1 in six August starts, but Seattle was 4-2 in those outings. That includes two impressive team wins on the road against the Rays and Yankees in which he allowed just one run. And on the final day of August against the Astros, he allowed four hits and two walks in seven shutout innings to pick up his first career victory against them.

In 10 starts against Houston, he’s 1-4 with a 5.50 ERA. The Astros lineup has 153 at-bats against him with a .268 / .351 / .516 line. They also have a .248 ISO with 21 extra-base hits (eight home runs).

If Kikuchi can’t go deep in the game, Seattle’s bullpen should be in decent shape as no pitcher has thrown more than 37 pitches over the last three days, and only two have thrown more than 30 pitches.


Houston Astros

McCullers gets set to make his 23rd start of the season. He’s 10-4 with a 3.20 ERA with a 1.25 WHIP. Like Kikuchi, he’s also a candidate for some regression, as evidenced by his 3.55 FIP. His 4.28 BB/9 ratio is even worse, but he does have the edge with a 12% HR/FB rate and a 10.47 K/9 ratio.

McCullers’ ability to strike batters out helps to make up for some of his walks. However, he’s often pitching from behind in the count as he throws a first-pitch strike 56.4% of the time. That’s almost a 7% drop off compared to Kikuchi, and yet McCullers can still be an effective pitcher.

Even with a high walk rate, you shouldn’t question his ability to throw strikes, given that his Called + Swinging Strike Rate (CSW) is elite at 31.4%. But sometimes, when you throw strikes is just as important as how many throw. The Florida native has an impressive 2.03 GB/FB ratio. When you combine that with his strikeout prowess, it’s clear to see how he’s able to strand 79.6% of runners that reach base.

McCullers has yet to lose a decision against the Mariners this season. He’s 2-0 with a 3.18 REA and 9-3 with a 2.78 ERA in 17 career starts against them. If we look at his last two months of work, he’s gone at least six innings on six occasions. That could mean another short night for an Astros bullpen with only one reliever with more than 30 pitches in the last three days.

Mariners-Astros Pick

The Mariners began this five-game winning streak with back-to-back shutouts against the Astros. That’s against a Houston team that leads the majors with a .337 OBP and a wRC + value of 116. I do think both teams have motivation in this matchup, with the Astros possibly looking to avenge those shutout losses while the Mariners remain in hot pursuit of the playoffs.

Seattle is three games behind Boston for the wild card and 4.5 games behind Houston for the division. I would expect this game to be competitive in the early frames, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it takes the Astros a little while to get going after returning from a nine-game road trip.

In its last seven games, Houston is just 1-6 (-5.02 units) against the first five run line with five straight losses. If you play the Mariners on the +0.5 run line, you can grab them at plus money.

This number’s available at BetMGM, and it’s worth a look at +105.

Again, the market told us this matchup was closer just a few days ago.

Lean: Mariners F5 RL +0.5 (+105)

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