Rangers vs Astros MLB Odds & Prediction | Expert Prop Pick for Nathaniel Lowe
Photo by Emil Lippe/Getty Images. Pictured: Nathaniel Lowe.
Rangers vs. Astros Odds
With the Houston Astros sitting just three games back of the Texas Rangers in the AL West, this three-game rivalry series holds a ton of playoff significance.
Yordan Alvarez (oblique) was a possibility to return to the Astros' lineup for the first time since June 8, but he remains out.
The starting pitching matchup is a quality one as Jon Gray (3.31 ERA in 103 1/3 innings) of the Rangers takes on Brandon Bielak (3.46 ERA in 65 innings) of the Astros.
That should make for a stellar matchup for the Monday series opener — check out my preview and betting pick for Rangers vs. Astros below.
Texas continues to play to some of the best offensive splits in baseball, owning balanced numbers against both righties and lefties. Over the last 30 days they have hit to a wRC+ of 126, with a .356 wOBA. They have been the most potent team in the league versus right-handed pitching, with a wRC+ of 120.
The Rangers will be without AL MVP candidate Corey Seager for this matchup, however, as he was placed on the 10-day IL with a thumb strain yesterday. Adolis Garcia also sat out yesterday's matchup, but that was likely precautionary as he is expected to play in this series.
Nathaniel Lowe should be a crucial factor in the lineup tonight with Seager out, as he owns tremendous splits versus righties and is in good form. Lowe has batted .296 versus RHP, with a SLG rate of .493 across 315 PA's. He is hitting .329 in July, with an OPS of .968.
On top of that, Lowe has slugged .480 versus fastballs, as well as .600 versus off-speed pitches, which should set him up quite well in a matchup versus Bielak.
Brandon Bielak's early dominance has been a key to Houston's ability to hang around in the division race with the Rangers, but he does appear due for some regression from here on out. Bielak's xERA of 5.49 is over two runs greater than his actual mark, and his hard-hit rate is among the worst in the league among qualified starters at 48.5%.
Even if Bielak is just another undervalued ground-ball pitcher in terms of his xERA and xFIP of 4.72, it still seems unlikely that he'll continue to find this level of success. Opponents are batting just .175 with RISP this season, which is the 10th-lowest mark in the league among pitchers with over 40 IP.
Opponents specifically own a ground-ball batting average of .138 with RISP, which has been a major factor in his success and not without intent.
His Stuff+ rating comes in far below league average at 84, and his Location+ rating isn't great either at 97.
Left-handed batters have consistently found success versus Bielak throughout the season. They own a SLG-rate of .476, and an average of .286. He also owns a strike rate of just 57% versus lefties on the year, which is the fifth-lowest mark in the league among pitchers who have thrown over 40 IP.
Rangers vs. Astros Betting Pick
The sides look pretty close, and a pick'em price on the game sounds fair to me.
Bielak has struggled badly with left-handed batters, both in terms of his expected rates and his actual averages. Nathaniel Lowe has come up with some key performances in big moments for the Rangers this season, and I will be looking for that to continue in this crucial series.
He gets a great matchup versus Bielak, and all of the splits are in his favor.
Betting over 1.5 total bases at any price better than +120 is a good look.