Wild Card Team MLB Betting Preview: Houston Astros

Posted by Alex Murphy on October 6, 2015 in

If any team is primed to collapse in MLB betting during the one-game wild card play-in, it’s the Houston Astros. Houston led the American League West for the vast majority of the season, taking the lead in the first week and then holding it until there were just over two weeks left, except for a two-week gap just after the All-Star break when the Los Angeles Angels vaulted into first place. The Rangers surged ahead of Houston in September, and it was only the fact that the Rangers knocked off the Angels in Game 162 that kept the Angels from surging past Houston and taking the second wild card position.

Wild Card Team MLB Betting Preview: Houston Astros



Luckily, the Astros have the best starting pitcher in the American League taking the hill for them in the wild card tilt, with Dallas Keuchel getting the start. His season ERA is a stout 2.48, good for second in the American League. He also led the American League with 20 wins. However, he is only pitching on three days’ rest, having thrown 99 pitches when he won his 20th game back on Friday night. He did get shelled by the Rangers in his third-to-last start, but his last two starts saw him return to form.

Keuchel has had two starts against the Yankees – the Astros’ wild card opponent – this season. He has thrown a combined 16 shutout innings, including a complete game shutout in Houston on June 25, complete with 12 strikeouts. When he started in Yankee Stadium in August, he threw seven shutout innings, with only three hits and nine strikeouts.

The wild card game will take place at Yankee Stadium because New York finished with an 87-75 record this season, one game better than the Astros. Keuchel went 15-0 in starts at home, with a microscopic 1.46 ERA. When he’s pitching on the road, though, Keuchel actually has a losing record and a 3.77 ERA. The Astros as a time went 53-28 at home – but only 33-48 in road games. The Yankees went 45-36 at home this year. The Astros did win four of the seven games against New York this year.

Consider the Astros a slight favorite in this game, even though most of the betting lines basically have this as a pick with even odds. With the big bats of Jose Altuve and potential rookie of the year Carlos Correa in the lineup, the Astros will likely break through. With Keuchel on the mound, the Yankee offense, which has struggled down the stretch, will have a hard time scratching out more than a run or two, as long as Keuchel has his normal stuff.

All season long, people have been amazed at the Astros’ overperforming. This was a team that was expected to contend in 2016, but they went against expectations this year. It would be easy to expect this team to fold, to give in to the possibility of collapse after losing their division title to Texas. However, the smart money still has them eking out a close win against the Yankees and moving on to the AL Division Series against Kansas City.