MLB Tips and Trends – Texas Rangers at Houston Astros

It’s the dawn of a new era for the Astros as they kick-start the 2013 Major League Baseball season in a new division against the Texas Rangers.

 

Houston led the Majors with 107 losses in 2012 and oddsmakers are only projecting marginal improvements in this campaign but tonight’s starter, Bud Norris, gives the team a quality chance against most opponents.

 

Norris (7-13, 4.65 ERA) led the team in strikeouts and quality starts in 2012 and the fourth-year pitcher has a 3.51 ERA at home in 48 starts. The right-hander led the league with a 1.71 ERA in home games and a 4.8 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio. He faces a Rangers team who hit .269 against and opened last season with a 9-1 record in its first 10 road games.

 

It’s helped fuel a moneyline price of -165 on the road squad who are projected to win upwards of 88 games this year and challenge Los Angeles for the AL West title.

 

Baseball odds for the total show 8.5 Under (-115) and the Rangers opening day starter is Matt Harrison. The left-hander was 18-11 in 2012 with a 3.29 ERA and his team is an impressive 14-2 when he starts a series. Harrison also shows a strong 16-3 Sunday record and although he has struggled in division play (27-30), the Astros are a step down from the likes of Oakland and the LA Angels.

 

ODDS TO WIN THE 2013 AL WEST DIVISION

The Angels (-250) lead the charge followed by Texas (+250), Oakland (+550), Seattle (+1350) and then Houston (+10,000).

 

Futures for Houston’s win total hover just south of 60 and the team appears to be rolling with a ‘Moneyball’ theory, entering the year with the lowest payroll ($18.7 million) since the 2006 Florida Marlins ($15 million).

 

For what it’s worth, we could see the Astros winning at least 60 games this year, catching a few teams off-guard and taking advantage of the opportunities to face the bottom part of the rotation as opponents look-ahead to tougher matchups.

MLB Season Win Total Pick: Take the Astros Over 59 wins!

 

As for tonight’s game, our play is on the Rangers and Astros to stay under 8.5 runs. Harrison went 2-2 in his first four starts of 2012, pitching six-plus innings each time out and allowing just nine earned runs. Norris is as big a ‘homer’ as any pitcher in baseball and as the season begins, we’ll look to bank a winner with our first total.

Pick: Take the Rangers-Astros Under 8.5 (-115)

 

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