Rangers vs Astros Game 7 Prediction | MLB Playoffs ALCS Pick

Rangers vs Astros Game 7 Prediction | MLB Playoffs ALCS Pick article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured: Adolis Garcia and Yordan Alvarez.

Rangers vs. Astros Game 7 Odds

Monday, Oct 23
8:03 p.m. ET
Rangers Odds
-102o / -120u
Astros Odds
-102o / -120u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Betting odds for ALCS Game 7 between the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros show the Astros as modest favorites at -130 on the moneyline. The Rangers are +110 underdogs.

The total for this game has been set at 9, with -102 juice on the over and -120 juice on the under. On the spread, Astros run line -1.5 is +158, while Rangers run line +1.5 is -192.

Here is my ALCS Game 7 Rangers vs. Astros pick and preview.

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Check out our MLB Betting Hub for more previews from today's slate.

Texas Rangers

I will admit I've had some fun fading Max Scherzer over the last couple of seasons. The future Hall-of-Famer hasn't been quite the dominant pitcher we've grown accustomed to seeing, and with his name value there have been plenty of opportunities to take advantage and make some money.

I'm just not convinced that the time to do so is Monday, when Scherzer will toe the slab as an underdog in a Game 7. We have to pump the brakes a bit on going against the right-hander, considering his 2023 numbers really weren't as bad as they've been made out to be.

Even at 38, Scherzer still struck out 28% of the batters he faced and pitched to a 3.28 xERA. His fastball had a run value just outside the top 10% of the league, and we've seen it remain effective into the late summer, as it produced better than a .220 xBA over the last three months of his season.

Yes, Scherzer was the goat in Game 3 of this series, surrendering five runs on five hits and a walk over four innings. Beneath the surface, though, he still did plenty of things well. Despite throwing 22 fewer pitches than Javier, he still produced eight whiffs to Javier's 11, and while he did allow nine hard-hit balls versus Javier's seven, only two of those put into play were recorded as barrels.

That all amounted to a .313 xBA — a bad number but certainly not one that would cause you to completely shut the door on a guy with this much ability.

Scherzer was able to work himself into a lot of two-strike counts in that game and allowed just one walk and one home run. I think you can chalk some of the shaky performance up to rust, considering his two-month layoff between outings, and I'd be willing to bet he's able to turn more of those two-strike counts into outs this time around versus Houston.

As long as the ball will stay in the yard, as it did in Game 3, Scherzer should be just fine here and avoid a third straight disastrous postseason appearance.

In terms of the rest of this team, the Rangers should have every pitcher on the roster ready to pitch in this one other than Nathan Eovaldi and Jordan Montgomery. If Scherzer does falter early, Texas could go back to the effective Dane Dunning on three days' rest out of the bullpen.

And while Jose Leclerc and Josh Sborz worked on Sunday night, they should be relatively well-rested after having the day off on Saturday.

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Houston Astros

It's been a long, long season for Cristian Javier. A Cy Young hopeful back in March, the 26-year-old started hot out of the gates before his strikeout numbers quickly cratered.

While there was much debate about what caused this, and while the prevailing theory was a slight downturn in velocity, his numbers still fluctuated significantly when it returned. We may never know what caused his drop in strikeouts, but one thing we can say for certain is that without them, Javier is almost throwing batting practice to opposing offenses.

Just a few months ago in August, Javier's strikeout rate sunk to 14% after a brief renaissance in July. He pitched to a 6.17 ERA in 23 1/3 innings that month, but the very next month he registered a better 4.11 ERA and 3.42 FIP with a season-best 32.2% strikeout rate in September.

While those results don't sound all that convincing, it's clear what this guy can do when he's missing bats. He was dominant in Game 3 of the ALDS versus Minnesota, with nine strikeouts over five scoreless frames, and he held the Rangers to two runs over 5 2/3 innings in Game 3 of this series.

While I did communicate above that Javier produced 11 swings and misses, this didn't really translate in his strikeout line. He sat down just three batters — or just 14% of those he faced — in his winning effort. Javier's line included a 41% hard-hit rate and an average launch angle of 29 degrees, so it's rather fortunate he only allowed the one home run in this contest.

It's also worth noting that while he had those five scoreless innings against Minnesota, he walked five — and walks have been a massive issue for the right-hander over the course of his career. It's possible the strategy for Texas here is a less aggressive one.

Rangers vs. Astros

Betting Pick & Prediction

We have two teams that are equally good at hitting fastballs going against two big-time fastball pitchers. I don't really think there is anything separating the two offenses with their respective performances in this series, so for me this is all about which pitcher I like more.

I really think it's got to be Scherzer. I've been a card-carrying member of the Cristian Javier Fan Club for the better part of three seasons, and I really believe when he brings his best level he's one of the five best pitchers in baseball. The thing is, though, that we've rarely seen it since the start of the season and even his good starts have their warts.

As I laid out above, Javier's dominance is directly tied to his performance in the strikeout department, so I'm very fixated on Javier's three K's in Game 3. Texas hit a whopping 14 fly balls versus Javier, and with that many coming back into play in the bandbox known as Minute Maid Park, I find it hard to believe the Rangers don't hit at least two homers off of Javier.

Mix in his issues with walks that have persisted for months and you've got a blueprint here for Texas to chase the right-hander from this game early.

On the other side of the coin, Scherzer's issue in Game 3 wasn't really general ineffectiveness but an inability to put hitters away in two-strike counts. I'm betting on the fact that the two months off had a bit to do with that, considering hitters were at .146 off of Scherzer in two-strike counts this year with 174 strikeouts in 355 plate appearances.

He will get to face these Astros hitters a third and fourth time in this series, and he should have a better idea as to how to put these guys away given his track record as a strategist on the mound.

I'm willing to go down with a proven postseason pitcher and one who was just a few pitches away from a much better line in Game 3, as opposed to the highly volatile Javier. While the righty has shut down some of the best hitters in the world — even in the postseason — I don't recognize the man we've seen for the last four months.

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