Who would have guessed that the Minnesota Twins would have a better record near the end of April than the World Series-favored Houston Astros? That’s the case as the AL Central-leading Twins host Houston in Game 1 of their series on Monday. Houston is solidly favored, though, on the MLB betting lines.
Astros vs Twins MLB Spread & Game Analysis
- When: Monday, 7:40 PM ET
- Where: Target Field
- Probable pitchers (away/home): Justin Verlander/Jake Odorizzi
- TV: MLB Extra Innings
- Live Stream: MLB.tv
- Radio: WCCO
- MLB Spread: Houston Astros -1.5 (Total 8.5)
Houston leads 2-1 as the clubs played in Texas from April 22-24. Minnesota won the first 9-5 but lost the next two, 10-4 and 7-1.
Why Bet on Houston?
This starts a six-game road trip for Houston that will take them all over the map. They play in the Twin Cities until Thursday and then head to Monterrey, Mexico, for two games against the Angels next weekend.
Closer Roberto Osuna is seven-for-seven in save chances this season and has successfully converted 22 straight save chances, the longest active streak in the majors. In his 12 appearances this season, Osuna has allowed just three baserunners, all singles, for an MLB best 0.24 WHIP. Setup man Ryan Pressly has been scoreless in his last 31 games (29.1IP), the longest scoreless appearance streak in club history and the longest scoreless innings streak by a reliever in club history. He’s also closing in on the longest scoreless innings streak in franchise history, currently held by RHP Roy Oswalt (32.1IP), which he set in 2008.
The Astros lead the AL in OBP (.350) and batting average (.273) while ranking second in OPS (.828) and hits (248) and third in slugging (.479). After a slow start, the Astros offense has erupted over the last 20 games, scoring 5.7 runs per game while batting .286 and a .881 OPS.
It’s ace Justin Verlander on the mound. Verlander (4-0) gave up one run on four hits with no walks while striking out eight through eight innings in a win over the Twins last Wednesday. It was a terrific start for Verlander as he rode 13 swinging strikes to eight strikeouts and another victory. Verlander retired the first 10 batters before Jorge Polanco crushed a pitch into the second deck in right field in the fourth inning for the Twins’ lone run. Verlander retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced.
“He’s done this for over a decade,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. “He knows how to finish his outings strong and control the game when he’s got the lead. I’ve said before, he’s a good pitcher all the time, he’s a really tough guy to come back on when he has the lead.”
The 36-year-old Verlander has given up a home run in every start this season. The right-hander has been dominant otherwise with a 2.61 ERA, 10.9 K/9, and 2.1 BB/9 through six starts.
- Runs: 4.71
- Hits: 9.04
- Walks: 3.86
- Strike Outs: 7.46
- Runs: 3.71
- Hits: 6.71
- Walks: 2.39
- Strike Outs: 9.46
Why Bet on Minnesota?
The surprising Twins swept the Orioles over the weekend. The team is succeeding without injured former All-Star third baseman Miguel Sano. He will begin a rehab assignment on Tuesday. Sano will report to High-A Fort Myers, and then work his way to Triple-A Rochester. He has been out all year with his heel laceration.
The team has placed catcher/infielder Willians Astudillo on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain. Astudillo was pulled from Saturday’s contest against the Orioles after he appeared to pull his hamstring while tagging up and scoring from third base on a sacrifice fly. La Tortuga is off to a fantastic start at the dish this season, slashing .327/.340/.531 with a pair of homers and seven RBI in his first 53 plate appearances. To take his spot, the team recalled OF Jake Cave from Triple-A Rochester. Cave will serve as a backup outfielder, and likely won’t get much playing time with the Twins.
Nelson Cruz is hitting .341 with three doubles, four home runs, nine RBI and a 1.107 OPS in his last 10 games. He ranks 83rd on baseball’s all-time home runs list (365), one shy of Lance Berkman (366) and four short of Todd Helton and Ralph Kiner (369). Among designated hitters this season, he ranks second in batting average (.319), OBP (.420), slugging (.609) and OPS (1.028).
The Twins are on pace to hit 318 home runs, which would smash the club record of 225, set in 1963. The MLB record is 267, done by New York-AL last season. The Twins rank fourth in baseball in home runs, despite playing in the fewest games. They lead baseball in the at-bats-per-home run (17.51).
It’s Jake Odorizzi on the bump. Odorizzi (gave up two runs on eight hits with no walks while striking out two through 5.2 innings in a win over the Astros last Monday. Odorizzi fell just short of a quality start but pitched well enough to earn the victory. The 29-year-old has won his last two starts even though he hasn’t been able to make it through six innings more than once this season. The right-hander has a 2-2 record with a 4.37 ERA and a 9.1 K/9 through five outings.
- Runs: 5.60
- Hits: 9.08
- Walks: 2.96
- Strike Outs: 7.32
- Runs: 4.52
- Hits: 8.40
- Walks: 3.28
- Strike Outs: 8.36
Astros vs Twins MLB Betting Trends
- Over is 6-2-1 in the last 9 meetings in Minnesota
- Houston is 14-6 SU in their last 20 games against an opponent in the American League conference
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Houston’s last 5 games this season
- Minnesota is 2-7 SU in their last 9 games when playing at home against Houston
- The total has gone OVER in 4 of Minnesota’s last 5 games when playing as the underdog
Expert Final Score Prediction for Astros vs Twins
Houston Astros 4 – Minnesota Twins 3