Rangers vs Astros Odds, Expert Pick | Sunday Night Baseball Preview and Prediction

Rangers vs Astros Odds, Expert Pick | Sunday Night Baseball Preview and Prediction article feature image

Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images. Pictured: Marcus Semien.

  • The Texas Rangers and Houston Astros conclude their three-game series at Minute Maid Park on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.
  • Andrew Heaney and Framber Valdez are tabbed to take the hill in a battle of left-handed pitchers.
  • Continue reading for our Rangers vs. Astros game preview and betting pick.

Rangers vs. Astros Odds

Sunday, April 16
7:08 p.m. ET
Rangers Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
+100 / -120
Astros Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
+100/ -120
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

MLB Sunday Night Baseball is back with a matchup between the start-up Rangers and defending-champion Astros.

It's always fun when we get a southpaw pitching matchup, and we're getting Andrew Heaney and Framber Valdez on national TV.

This is a must-watch, must-bet game. Let's dive into Rangers vs. Astros before getting to my moneyline pick.

Texas Rangers

The Rangers look good. They're now 8-6 and in first place in the AL West following a series win over Kansas City, and they'll look for back-to-back series wins in Houston on Sunday Night.

They could be hitting the ball a bit better. Texas ranks in the back half of the league in wRC+ and most batted ball statistics. Then again, the Rangers are getting unexpectedly valuable contributions from Jonah Heim (109 OPS+), Brad Miller (114 OPS+) and Josh Jung (109 OPS+).

Corey Seager is smashing the ball. Unfortunately, he's on the 10-day with a hamstring strain.

The Rangers' defensive metrics are brutal, ranking 24th in defensive runs saved.

Hopefully, that won't matter if Heaney keeps striking out a third of batters faced (14 K/9 through two starts). Unfortunately, he's getting barreled up like crazy while walking too many batters, and his groundball rate has dropped under 25%.

Heaney also has gotten slightly unlucky, with a .368 BABIP allowed and a strand rate under 50%. His batted ball stats look fine, his xERA is around 4.00, and he projects as a mid-3.00s ERA pitcher.

I'm not uber-high on Heaney, but he'll be better going forward.

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Houston Astros

It's weird that the Astros are bottom-five in barrel rate so far, barreling up the ball less than 5% of the time.

The top half of the lineup is raking, as Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker and Chas McCormick all have an OPS+ above 150. We don't talk enough about how good Kyle Tucker is, and I'd venture to say he's a top-three third-baseman in MLB.

Unfortunately, the rest of the lineup is way underperforming. For example, Jose Abreu looks brutal at the plate, with a 69 OPS+ combined with a career-high strikeout rate (26.9%) and career-low walk rate (4.9%).

And I don't see those struggles ending soon. His ISO is below .035, his BABIP is sky-high (.356), so he's not getting unlucky, and his batted-ball profile is brutal.

The Astros need Abreu to snap out of this slump. And it'd be nice if they got some version of World Series MVP Jeremy Pena (88 OPS+).

Valdez is slightly overperforming (3.70 xERA), but he's so good. He's on pace to post another stupid high ground-ball rate (68.6%) and is pitching as deep into games as ever (19 IP over three starts).

Valdez's sinker looks superb. He already has recorded a -5 Run Value over 156 pitches with a wOBA allowed under .250.

No wonder nobody can hit the ball in the air against Valdez.

Valdez sinkerball night. Sunday Night Baseball betting guide getting published soon. pic.twitter.com/qf8J5nIBC7

— Tanner McGrath (@tannerstruth) April 16, 2023

Rangers vs. Astros Betting Pick

I give the starting pitching advantage to Houston, and it sucks that Seager is hurt. However, the price is still too high for the Rangers.

Texas is playing a solid brand of baseball while the Astros are going through a rough patch. I think there's a good chance they steal this early-season series, and it's worth taking a shot on them at this high number.

The market agrees. The Action Network App has tracked sharp and big money on Texas.

At anything over +150, I'll be on the Rangers.

Pick: Rangers ML (+175 at Wynn) | Bet to (+150)

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