MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions (Tuesday, August 18): Rockies vs. Astros

Credit:

Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Antonio Senzatela.

  • The Houston Astros will face the Colorado Rockies in the second game of a four-game series Tuesday.
  • The Rockies are showing some betting value on the moneyline based on Brad Cunningham's projections.
  • See how he plans to bet this game and where to grab the right number for today's matchup.

Rockies vs. Astros Betting Odds

Rockies Odds +175 [Bet Now]
Astros Odds -210 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 9 (-103/-120) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 3:10 p.m. ET

Odds as of Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

After leading the NL West early this season, the Rockies now find themselves two games behind the Dodgers after dropping two of three against the Rangers over the weekend.

The Astros have turned their season around over the past week and are now only 4.5 games back of Oakland in the AL West. They’ll send their ace Zack Greinke to the mound in hopes that he can keep the momentum going.

Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP  is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning. 

Rockies

Projected Lineup (via Fantasy Labs

Colorado has been absolutely ripping the ball in 2020, ranking fourth in MLB in wOBA (.337). Charlie Blackmon, Nolan Arenado, and Trevor Story have been on fire, combining for 15 home runs and 50 RBIs to begin the season.

They’ve mainly been crushing fastballs, with 16.0 weighted fastball runs (fourth in MLB). The fastball also happens to be Greinke’s main pitch, which bodes well for Colorado’s offense on Tuesday.

Rockies Probable Starter

Antonio Senzatela, RHP

Projected & Actual Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Senzatela has been better than his projections coming into the season, although thats not saying much. ZIPS had him projected for a 5.12 FIP, but he’s only allowed a 3.35 FIP through his first four starts.

Antonio Senzatela is your classic “fill up the zone” type of pitcher. He leans heavily on his fastball, keeping it low in the zone to produce a lot of ground balls (53.8% ground ball rate in 2019).

This type of pitcher can be effective if his stuff is good and he is able to interchange pitches. Senzatela is not one of those guys.

His fastball isn’t great, yielding a .403 wOBA against in 2019. But its been better so far in 2020, with only .345 wOBA against (not that a 0.058 wOBA differential constitutes a huge improvement).

He’s been really effective with his slider, racking up nine strikeouts and a 39.1% whiff rate. Senzatela will need to utilize his slider more in order to be effective against the Astros.

Astros

Projected Lineup (via Fantasy Labs

The Astros have been average offensively to begin 2020. They rank 12th in MLB with a .318 wOBA and 104 wRC+. Only Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel have a wOBA above .370, so everyone else needs to pick up their level of play.

Given how bad Houston’s starting pitching and bullpen has been this year, their offense will have to carry the Astros if they are going to make the playoffs.

Astros Projected Starter

Zack Greinke, RHP

Projected & Actual Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Greinke has been a bit fortunate so far. He reports a 2.53 ERA, but his xFIP is all the way up at 4.34 through first four starts. Greinke’s fastball hasn’t been great, allowing a .328 wOBA on 131 pitches. That could cause him trouble on Tuesday, because as previously mentioned, the Rockies have been teeing off on fastballs.

Greinke is an amazing tactician who can throw any pitch in any count, much like Braves hall-of-famer Greg Maddux. Greinke may not have much velocity at age 36, but he’s got some of the best control in the game. His changeup and slider have been incredibly effective this year, only yielding four hits on 68 pitches. He’s also starting to get a little cocky:

Colorado’s aptitude against the fastball may force Greinke to utilize more of secondary pitches. But, given Greinke’s command over his breaking balls, that shouldn’t be a big problem for him.

Bullpens

The Rockies’ bullpen was projected to be near the bottom of MLB before the season, but it has been better than expected. Colorado’s relievers rank 17th in MLB with a 4.41 xFIP, but they’ve been pretty bad over the past week, allowing 20 earned runs in 20 innings of work.

The Astros bullpen is also a disaster right now. Houston’s relievers report a combined 5.22 xFIP, which ranks 26th in MLB. The Astros have also suffered a litany of injuries, and it’s now down to Ryan Pressley and a bunch of rookies.

So, even if Greinke puts in a good performance, this game will not be over once the bullpen takes over.

Projections and Pick

Senzatela is typically an auto-fade for me, but I can’t ignore that the Rockies are undervalued here. Greinke vs. Senzatela is an obvious mismatch, but the Rockies offense and bullpen are even with or better than Houston. So, I like the Rockies at +170 (DraftKings) and would bet it down to +145.

Note: These projections assume that Yordan Alvarez (0.72 BaseRuns per game) will remain out of the lineup. If he is in the lineup, I would make the Rockies a +139 underdog, so I would still play the Rockies at +158 or better. 

Pick: Rockies +170 (Down to +145).

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