Astros vs. Yankees MLB Odds & Picks: How to Bet Opener Between American League Elites (Tuesday, May 4)

Astros vs. Yankees MLB Odds & Picks: How to Bet Opener Between American League Elites (Tuesday, May 4) article feature image
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Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Giancarlo Stanton.

  • Two American League contenders start a series on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.
  • Zack Greinke starts for Houston against a Yankees lineup that is yet to get contributions from some of its key bats.
  • Kevin Davis breaks down where there's betting value and which side he's backing in the Bronx.

Astros vs. Yankees Odds

Astros Odds +105
Yankees Odds -115
Over/Under 8.5
Time Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds as of Monday and via William Hill

Both the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees are remarkably similar. Both teams are always in the playoffs, and both got off to a slow start to the 2021 season and are now on hot streaks. In the Yankees and Astros’ last 10 games, both teams are 7-3.

The question for Tuesday’s game and the series between both teams: Which team is better at the moment?

Both teams have strong starting lineups but for Tuesday, the Astros have might have an edge in starting pitching. Let’s dig into the matchup to see whether the Yankees’ lineup and home-field give them enough of an edge to have betting value.

Houston Astros

Houston’s biggest strength is its lineup. Last year, the Astros averaged 4.67 runs per game which was the 13th-best number in the league. This season, despite teams across the league scoring fewer runs per game, the Astros are fifth in MLB at 4.93 runs per game.

While Houston has been good at producing runs this season, it has gotten lucky. The Astros lead the league in RBIs with runners are in scoring position. Ultimately, they are going to drive in the same number of runners in scoring position as the median MLB team. Based on my model’s projections, I project the Astros lineup to average 4.69 runs per game on a typical night, which is .24 fewer runs than right now.

Tuesday night’s game could come down to is over how well starting pitcher Zach Greinke does for Houston. Greinke has a 2-1 record with a 3.44 ERA and 4.18 xFIP through six starts. Unlike many in the Astros rotation, Greinke is a consistent pitcher who is averaging more than six innings per outing.

However, Greinke has a strikeout rate of only 6.63 strikeouts per nine innings. Against a dangerous Yankees lineup, Greinke’s low K rate leaves him vulnerable when runners are on base.

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New York Yankees

The Yankees’ lineup is in many ways the opposite of Houston’s. New York averaged 5.39 runs per game last season, which was third in the majors. This season, the Yankees have the seventh-lowest average at only 3.93.

Outside of catcher Gary Sánchez and infielder Rougned Odor, every single Yankees position player is playing worse than their pre-season projections. The biggest disappointments this season have been Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton. Once those two start hitting well, the Yankees should go back to producing more runs in each game.

The Yankees’ lineup has also been unlucky this season. They have a .258 BABIP (batting average on balls in play), which is the fourth worst in the league. Over the course of a full season, as long as the Yankees are putting balls into play, they should produce more runs and get on base more as their BABIP reverts to the mean.

Additionally, the Yankees have the fifth-fewest RBIs with runners in scoring position. Ultimately, they’ve been unlucky rather than just bad under pressure and should be more dominant offensively this season.

The only issue for the Yankees on Tuesday night is with their starting pitcher Domingo Germán. Since returning to the Bronx this season, Germán has been mediocre and is only averaging five innings per start. However, the Yankees’ bullpen has the third best xFIP in the league, so any lead should be safe if the lineup gets to Greinke often enough.

Astros-Yankees Pick

I like the Yankees to win on Tuesday night, but they should only be narrow home favorites. Currently they have opened at -115 favorites, and that is the lowest odds that I would play them at.

Houston may have an edge in starting pitching, but their edge in starting pitching is negated by the Yankees’ impressive lineup.

Pick: Yankees -115

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