MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Yankees vs. Astros: Why Houston is the Better Value (Friday, July 9)

MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Yankees vs. Astros: Why Houston is the Better Value (Friday, July 9) article feature image

Nic Antaya/Getty Images. Pictured: Yordan Alvarez #44 and Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros.

  • The New York Yankees and Houston Astros meet on Friday night to renew their eminent rivalry.
  • However, the 2021 Yankees have not been nearly as formidable as many expected and are mired in an extended hitting slump.
  • Can New York get right against one of MLB's top teams, or is Houston undervalued as a short favorite? Kenny Ducey breaks down how to bet Yankees vs. Astros on Friday night.

Yankees vs. Astros Odds

Yankees Odds+123
Astros Odds-143
Over/Under9 (-120 / -103)
Time8:10 p.m. ET
TVMLB Network
Odds as of Friday afternoon and via DraftKings.

The Yankees and Astros renew their rivalry on Friday night, but the matchup hardly has the same luster as it once did. New York has been battered by injuries and poor play. The Yankees have lacked the home runs this year that have brought them so much success in years' past.

So, with a pitcher in whom that oddsmakers have no confidence in facing the Bombers, could the Yankees be the play as underdogs? Do we think this line is a lie and want to play Houston?

Let's run through the matchup and make up our minds.

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New York Yankees

This Yankees offense appeared to be coming back to life a week ago, but even with a 12-run explosion in the opening game in Seattle, they have still found a way to instill doubt in their ability to hit.

Thursday marks the first time that the Bombers have ever been held to one hit or fewer against the Mariners — and that's not the way they'd like to roll into a huge series against the mighty Astros.

The Yankees rate exactly average over the last two weeks with a 100 wRC+ (17th in MLB), and their OPS ranks 21st at .714. New York has continued to draw walks in bunches while simultaneously minimizing strikeouts, but it hasn't been enough. This team is still going through a power outage.

Nonetheless, if there's one number that may inspire hope, it's New York's 41.1% hard-hit rate during the last two weeks, which ranks inside the top 10.

Nestor Cortes, Jr. will be the one to take the ball for the Yankees, and a bullpen with a league-best 3.26 xFIP will be right behind him. The lefty Cortes has been special this year, averaging 12.4 K/9 and allowing just three earned runs in 21 innings.

Cortes will likely go two or three innings on Friday, but given his strong form and the Yankees' stable of right-handed pitchers, things could be looking up for this staff.

Houston Astros

Speaking of bullpens, the Astros' relievers have quietly posted a 3.64 xFIP in July and have developed steadily since their dreadful run in May and June. A unit that held this team back has now been one of Houston's strengths as Ryne Stanek and Ryan Pressly have found their grooves.

I have been rolling with Jake Odorizzi a lot lately, and he's been paying dividends to those who believe in him. The journeyman has brought his season-long ERA down to 3.70 after posting a 2.45 ERA in June.

Though the strikeouts haven't come in bunches, he's hardly had an issue with walks and hasn't allowed many hits at all. His recent form runs in contrast to his 45.5% hard-hit rate; but, then again, he was a different pitcher earlier in the year. Odorizzi was giving up hard-hit balls and walking guys in bunches, but he has controlled himself since that point.

Odorizzi will face a great test in the Yankees, who have made plenty of hard contact of late and are very picky at the plate, but he should at least get some run support. After all, the Astros are the top team against left-handed pitching judging by wRC+.

Yankees vs. Astros Pick

I see value in fading the Yankees once again and instead taking the Astros as a very short home favorite. Oddsmakers continue to overprice New York, which has done very little lately at the plate to deserve a price like this.

Cortes is a neat pitcher, but there's a chance he only goes two innings. Furthermore, he'll be pitching from a point of weakness against a team that mashes lefties.

I think Odorizzi's last two months have been legit, and I believe in him to do a good enough job against a team that's struggled in the power department to allow the offense a chance to catch up.

Pick: Astros ML -130 or better

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