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.



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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Dogs bite, catching action in three of four Sweet 16 matchups

Thursday’s NCAA basketball underdogs were 3-1 against the spread (ATS) and that’s tempting bettors to test their luck Friday in three of four games on the college card


Betting underdogs last night in the first-half and half-time lines available from top online sportsbooks produced a 6-2 record but according to one source, the action is following an unfamiliar pattern Friday.


Oregon (60-percent), Michigan State (56-percent) and Florida Gulf Coast (72-percent) have all collected a higher percentage at the proverbial ‘ticket window’ with just four hours left until tip-off.


Normally, when chalk bettors have a bad night the tendency is for Joe Public to charge back towards the favorites with even more vengeance. Books are well versed in these habits and thus charge a higher price, often resulting in losing night for late chalk bettors who didn’t grab the best line. The chase is on!


Tonight it looks like dog bettors are not only grabbing all the points they can find, but are taking a nice shot on the money lines, too. It should be a great night of basketball.


No. 12 Oregon vs. No. 1 Louisville

Line: Cardinals -10.5 and O/U 132

Louisville HC Pitino is 4-0 SU/ATS in this round his past four visits and the Cards are riding a 12-game win streak that started Feb. 14 against St. John’s. They are 10-1 ATS in their past 11 games and all 10 covers were by double-digits. Oregon is 5-0 straight-up (SU) in its past five and 4-1 ATS; all five games were played on a neutral court.


No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Duke

Line: Blue Devils -2 and O/U 134.5

Dogs are 10-7 ATS in this round when it’s a 3- vs. 2-seed and the Spartans have covered three-straight in this series including two games since 2010. With two good coaches and two good D’s it’s no wonder books report 75-percent action on the “Under”.


No. 4 Michigan vs. No. 1 Kansas

Line: Jayhawks -2 and O/U 136

This game has the most even split for side and moneyline betting out of the four, with 68-percent action going to the over. No. 1 seeds are only 15-19 ATS in the Sweet 16 vs. a 4- or 5-seed and the past 12 times a No. 1 seed was favored by -5 points or less they are just 6-6 SU and 2-9-1 ATS.


No. 16 Florida Gulf Coast vs. No. 3 Florida

Line: Gators -13 and O/U 136

With only two seniors in their lineup this will without a doubt be the biggest stage yet for the upstart Eagles. They have no doubt earned their right to play but the Gators have made a habit of blowing teams they ‘should beat’ out by double-digits, although it should be noted Florida’s overall record this season is a pedestrian 18-14 ATS. Dogs are now 14-6 ATS in the semis after last night’s three covers and the Eagles are playing with confidence but given the situation, we’d feel more comfortable laying the points in this contest.



For tonight’s big games our three picks are Michigan State-Duke Under 134.5, Michigan +2 and Florida -13 or less. Good luck with your plays and enjoy the action.


Our past seven plays are 7-0 ATS! Check out PickSixtySports on Twitter for daily updates and free picks

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