MLB Odds on Houston Astros at Kansas City Royals ALDS Game 1

Posted by Alex Murphy on October 8, 2015 in

The Houston Astros are a young and developing team, but none of that mattered when they played the veteran-laden New York Yankees on Monday Night in a National League Wild Card game, a showdown they handily won as Dallas Keuchel shined to give the Astros an all-important 3-0. Up next for Houston is the Royals team from Kansas City, the team that shocked last year’s MLB odds to become the reigning AL Champs.

The Astros-Royals best-of-five American League Divisional Series will be starting on Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium, as Houston looks to ride on the Wild Card victory, pretty much like last year’s Kansas City team did to go all the way to the Playoff Finals. There is, however, just one problem with that plan—the Astros will be going against Ned Yost’s squad that is coming off a 95-win season, and their first division title in 30 years, something that is bound to a big motivation for them to do even better than in last year’s campaign.

With young and energetic talents on both teams, and a great sense of belief from both teams, who will be drawing first blood in their Game 1 clash this Thursday? Follow us, as we take you through a preview of this enticing MLB betting clash, complete with free baseball picks.

Here’s Our Take on the MLB Odds for Game 1 on Astros at Royals & TV Info

Starting Pitchers: Collin McHugh vs. Yordano Ventura
Venue: Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
Date: Thursday, October 8m 2015
Time: 7:37 PM ET

As you’d probably expect, Kansas City (95-67) enters this game as the favorite in the MLB betting lines as favorite to win this matchup. The Royals will however need to be wary of the fact that the Astros (87-76) have been a good team throughout the season, and after beating the Yankees in New York earlier in the week, they won’t hesitate to take exploit any loopholes against Kansas City this Thursday.

Outside the young nature of both squads and their similar zest for success, the two teams are also more-or-less comparable in pitching, as both squads finished in the top seven in runs scored across the majors, riding hard on their pitchers to dominate opponents. The Astros team led the AL with a 3.57 ERA and finished second with 13 shutouts, while the Royals were third in the AL with a team ERA of 3.73.

Also, each side has a top notch bullpen, so although the Royals lost star reliever Greg Holland to a season-ending injury, Wade Davis and Co. should be good to go against Houston’s closers, spearheaded by Luke Gregerson, who led Houston’s pen with 31 saves, and grabbed the first postseason save of his career against the Yankees on Monday.

In addition, just five runs separated Houston’s 6th-ranked offense from Kansas City’s 7th-ranked offense, meaning both teams will be bringing a lot of attacking quality this Thursday.

However, whereas Kansas City tends to play to contact and grind out runs, the Astros tend to pounds home runs at the expense of strikeouts. Also, whereas Houston often accepts walks, Kansas City is known to prefer swinging away, regardless of the count. Another difference is that, while Kansas City’s offense heavily relies on making timely hits and smart base-running, Houston tends to go for a combination of speed and power to wear down opponents. It will therefore be interesting to see how the similarities and differences affect their meeting on Thursday.

To lead their charge, the Royals will give the ball to Yordano Ventura, who along with probable Game 3 starter Edinson Volquez tied for a team-best 13 wins apiece this season. Deadline day acquisition Johnny Cueto, who hasn’t impressed much in Kansas City colors will be the starter in Game 2, as he hopes to find his form in the playoffs.

On the opposite end, star pitcher Collin McHugh will be taking to the hill for the Astros. McHugh is coming off a wildly successful season, with his 19-7 record over 32 starts this season coming just one-win shy of Cy Young favorite Dallas Kuechel. Given that the Royals didn’t get to face McHugh in the regular season, it’s going to be a tough ask for Kansas City to prepare adequately on how to handle him.

In addition to the McHugh x-factor, the Astros have a far-much better offense than the Royals (at least on paper). Using the regular season as an example, the Astros led the AL in homers whole the Royals were last in that department. Also, the Astros had better numbers in steal bases (121 compared to Kansas City’s 104.).

But as key factor favoring the home team, recently tabulated reports indicate that the Royals lead MLB in highest local TV ratings, meaning the Astros will be facing a very loud and unfriendly crowd, probably worse than what they faced in New York. This could be intimidating to the very young Houston team and affect how they play. In addition, the Royals have considerably better playoff experience after going all the way to Game 7 of the World Series. Of course, this was after a 29-year playoff drought, but it should count for something against the Astros, who are in the playoffs for the first time since reaching the World Series in 2005.

Key MLB Betting Trends

•    Houston is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
•    Kansas City is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
•    Houston is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games on the road
•    Kansas City is 4-8 SU in its last 12 games at home
•    Houston is 4-2 SU in its last 6 road games against Kansas City
•    Kansas City is 2-7 SU in its last 9 overall games againt Houston
•    The regular season series between the two teams went 4-2 in favor of the Astros. The Royals were swept in Houston early in the year before they revenged by winning two of three in the rematch at Kansas City, which was highlighted by Ventura outpitching Keuchel in a 5-2 victory July 26
•    The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Kansas City’s last 5 home games against Houston
•    The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Houston’s last 5 overall games against Kansas City

My MLB Betting Prediction

Going by the explosiveness of both teams, this  will be a high-energy game, as the Royals seek to fend off an Astros team riding the same kind of high they felt after winning last season’s wild-card game. Still, when all is said and done, we believe Houston will come out on top, mainly because they have a better offense and McHugh has been considerably better on the hill than Ventura. For total bettors, a high-scoring game looks to be in the offing, so lean on an OVER.