Houston is Saturday’s MLB Betting Favorite Against Cleveland

Posted by Kenny Bell on Friday,May 19, 2017 9:30, EDT in

In my opinion, the best MLB series of the weekend is from Houston with the Cleveland Indians visiting. I believe the Astros will win the AL West – they already have a big lead – and the Tribe will do the same in the AL Central. The Indians are coming off a 3 game series against the Tampa Bay Rays, which they lost 1-2. For the Astros, they swept the Miami Marlins in a 3 game series, taking every single game. They continue to be one of the best teams this season. Thus these two could well meet in October.

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Cleveland as Houston MLB Betting Preview & Pick

When: Saturday, May 20, 4:10 PM ET
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston
Probable pitchers (away/home): Mike Clevinger/Mike Fiers
TV: MLB Extra Innings
Stream: MLB.tv
RadioCleveland / Houston
Opening MLB Lines: Astros favored by TBA

Why Bet On Cleveland?

The Tribe took two of three at home vs. Houston back in April and thus this will be the last regular-season series between the two. On April 26, the Indians won 7-6. Michael Brantley had an RBI double in Cleveland’s three-run first inning and added a two-run single in the fifth. Carlos Santana had a two-run double in the sixth for the Indians. Andrew Miller worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh by striking out Carlos Correa and Brian McCann. Houston scored two in the eighth off Bryan Shaw, but Cody Allen recorded the final four outs for the save.

On April 27, the Tribe won 4-3. Francisco Lindor hit the go-ahead homer in the seventh inning. The 456-foot blast off Chris Devenski landed in the visitors bullpen about 50 feet beyond the center field wall. Edwin Encarnacion and Abraham Almonte also homered for Cleveland. Allen pitched out of a ninth-inning jam for his second save of the series.

The Indians remain without ace Corey Kluber, who threw a successful 40-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday. Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said the right-hander “looked really strong” during the workout. The next step for Kluber is a simulated game on Saturday, then a rehab start.

Because Kluber is out, the Tribe have to start Mike Clevinger (1-1, 2.61) again here. Clevinger lasted just 4 1/3 innings and gave up three runs in a loss to the Twins on Saturday. He gave up only three hits but struggled to throw strikes, walking five batters in the brief outing. He did manage five punchouts. He was unscored-upon through the first three frames, but the Twins pounced for three runs in the fourth inning. Clevinger basically beat himself in that inning by walking the first two batters, throwing two wild pitches and making a throwing error on a bunt by Joe Mauer. It was Clevinger’s second start while filling in for Kluber.

Clevinger had a 1.50 ERA in six starts for Triple-A Columbus this season before being called up. The 26-year-old had a 5.40 ERA in 17 appearances, including 10 starts, with the Indians last season and was used as a reliever in the postseason.

Why Bet On Houston?

The Astros’ lone win in the earlier series with Cleveland was on April 25 by the score of 4-2. Dallas Keuchel had a complete game. He gave up solo homers to Austin Jackson in the third and Michael Brantley in the ninth. Josh Reddick gave Houston a 3-1 lead with a two-run single in the fifth, and then took a home run away from Jason Kipnis with a leaping catch at the center field fence in the bottom of the inning.

The Astros lead the AL in batting average (.275), hits (377) and in total bases (612), while ranking tied for first in runs scored (208). The pitching staff leads the AL in ERA (3.49), strikeouts (400) and in opponent batting average (.230). Houston has posted a +31 run differential in the 7th inning or later, including a +24 differential in the 7th. The Astros lead the Major Leagues with 16 comeback victories, including three five-run comebacks. The Angels and Nationals rank second with 15 comeback wins in 2017.

It’s Mike Fiers (1-1, 5.75) on the mound for the Astros. Fiers has struggled to get through six innings this season. In his seven starts, Fiers has only completed six twice. But he won his last decision, a May 7 start vs. the Angels in which he went five innings, giving up four hits and three runs.

Fiers has allowed a major league-leading 16 home runs in just 36 innings of work. For comparison sake, he allowed 26 and 24 home runs in the past two seasons when he pitched at least 168.2 innings. When an opposing hitter has hit a fly ball against Fiers this season, it has left the yard a staggering 41.2 percent of the time. From 2014 to 2016 he saw an increase in this rate each year — from 8.4 to 11.3 to 15.2 percent — but his current number is crazy.

Cleveland at Houston MLB Betting Pick: Houston Astros

This looks to be a high-scoring game and the Astros have the superior lineup