Thursday MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions for Rangers vs. Astros: Expect Both Offenses to Break Through in Positive Pitching Matchups (May 19)

Thursday MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions for Rangers vs. Astros: Expect Both Offenses to Break Through in Positive Pitching Matchups (May 19) article feature image

Ron Jenkins/Getty Images. Pictured: Adolis Garcia #53 of the Texas Rangers.

  • The red-hot Texas Rangers open their four-game series against the Houston Astros on Thursday.
  • Texas has won its last four games, while Houston boasts arguably the top offense in MLB right now.
  • So, in a matchup between ascending ball clubs, which team will draw the first win of the series?

Rangers vs. Astros Odds

Rangers Odds+184
Astros Odds-220
Over/Under8 ( -112 / -108)
Time8:10 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Rangers are hitting the ball, and so are the Astros. With both offenses kicking it into gear, we should be in store for a very fun weekend series between these two in-state rivals.

How do we bet the first of four? Let's take a look at the matchup below.

Texas Rangers

The Rangers are officially on fire.

They've won their last four games and scored at least six runs all four. The Rangers were never favored in their three-game sweep of the Angels, and they've now picked up 13 wins as underdogs.

In the past two weeks, Texas has actually been an above-average offense with a 103 wRC+ despite a .219 average. The Rangers have been doing serious damage with 18 home runs and a .285 on-base percentage.

It may not be a super-sustainable plan of attack, but the Rangers have shown in recent games that when their big boppers are hot, they can single-handedly carry the load with a few tanks.

Glenn Otto, on the other hand, is not.

His 7.70 expected ERA according to Statcast ranks in the bottom 2% of the league, and that's due in large part to the fact that he's allowed a .517 xwOBA on contact and a 46.3% hard-hit rate.

When batters are making contact, bad things are happening to Otto — and they are making a lot of contact considering his low 19.8% strikeout rate. He's also issued a free pass to 12.3% of batters, which is bad!

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Houston Astros

In theory, the pitching matchup tilts towards Framber Valdez and the Astros.

The lefty owns a 2.92 ERA and has been one of Houston's most consistent pitchers — and really one of the most consistent in the American League. He's only allowed one barrel in 117 batted balls this season, which is stupifying, and he's pitched to a low 34.2% hard-hit rate.

There are some cracks on the surface, though. Valdez continues to see his strikeout rate tank — now down to 18.9%. His walk rate is also up over 10%, which is in the bottom third of MLB. Valdez has also made a terrible habit of allowing hard-hit balls all throughout his career.

All of this makes sense due to the fact that he's a pitch-to-contact sinkerballer, but it's worth noting that he has not always been able to successfully do that.

In terms of the Astros offense, there's really not much else to say at this point. After a slow start, they've picked it up and then some. Houston is No. 1 in wRC+ during the last two weeks at 144. That puts the Astros well ahead of everyone else in the game right now.

Rangers-Astros Pick

Texas is scoring runs like crazy and doing some serious damage when it makes contact. While Valdez has been an expert at pitching to contact this year, I see him struggling against a team that can put the ball in the air and do damage — like this Rangers team.

On the other hand, the matchup with Otto against the Astros has the potential to be a catastrophe. Houston could cover this over by itself.

Pick: Over 8 (-112)

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