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MLB odds: Astros vs. Rangers prediction, odds, pick, and more – 9/16/2021

Astros, Rangers, MLB, odds, pick, prediction, betting

The Houston Astros and Texas Rangers will play the final game of a four-game series on Thursday evening.  Let’s continue our MLB odds series, make an Astros-Rangers prediction, and pick on the last matchup of the season between these AL West teams.

Texas currently stands at 54-91 and is 32-39 at home. If you put $100 on every single Rangers game so far this season, you’d be down $1,435 on the moneyline.

Houston currently stands at 85-60 and is 4o-33 on the road. If you put $100 on every single Astros game so far this season, you’d be up $23 on the moneyline.

Here’s how sportsbooks have set the Astros-Rangers odds.

MLB Odds: Astros-Rangers Odds

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Houston Astros ML (-205)

Texas Rangers ML (+190)

Over 8.5 Runs (-115)

Under 8.5 Runs (-105)

Why The Astros Could Win This Game

The Astros will send one of their best arms to the mound to finish off the series: Framber Valdez. Through 19 starts, Valdez has pitched to a 3.26 ERA and the Astros are 12-7 when he starts the game for them.

Valdez’s best pitch is a power sinker, which opponents have either waved at or beat into the ground all season. In every single game, he’s started, the lefty has gotten more ground ball outs than fly ball outs. He’s struck out at least five batters in 14 of his 19 appearances.

This spells trouble for a light-hitting Rangers team. Texas has hit the fifth least home runs in the league and holds the second-lowest batting average. As long as Valdez continues to keep the ball on the ground, it’s highly unlikely the Rangers string together enough hits to do serious damage.

On the other hand, this red-hot Astros lineup should have a much easier task tonight. They face righty Glenn Otto, who is currently sporting a 6.92 ERA.

In two of the three games of the series so far, Houston has torched the opposing starter. Both Spencer Howard and Kohei Arihara allowed six earned runs and failed to pitch past the fourth inning.

Otto is another young starter who has the potential to be touched up early. In the first two innings of all three of his starts, Otto has allowed a total of eight earned runs. If Otto is shaky to start, this one could get ugly fast.

Why The Rangers Could Win This Game

While Framber Valdez has been solid all year for the Astros, the Texans are catching him in the midst of a mini-slump.

In his first 17 starts, Valdez allowed four earned runs in only one start. In his last two appearances, the lefty has allowed four runs in both outings.

Even more worrisome to Astros backers is the quality of opponent Valdez was shelled by. The lefty was knocked out early by a Padres team in the midst of a cold streak at the plate and then roughed up by the light hitting Angels for two homers and five walks in only five innings of work.

The Rangers might not hit much, but they have been decent at limiting their strikeouts (10th least in the league) and at least putting the ball in play. It’s not a guarantee that Valdez cruises tonight.

On the mound, the Rangers need a bounceback from Glenn Otto to have a shot at getting the win.

Just a glance at Otto’s stats show some terrible numbers, but a deeper dive shows that horrendous ERA is a bit misleading.

Otto has made three starts this year and was very good in two of them. In his first start against the Astros, he threw five shutout innings. In his second start against the A’s, he came an out away from completing five innings and gave up only two earned.

His third and most recent start is the source of the ERA blow-up. Otto allowed eight earned to the A’s, ballooning his ERA from 1.86 to 6.92 in his young career.

Otto is better than that, and we saw it first hand against the very team he faces tonight. Look for the righty to settle back in with a much better outing tonight.

Final Astros-Rangers Prediction & Pick

The Astros runline is appealing here, especially considering how they’ve been swinging the bat of late. However, the strongest best of the night is the under. It’s doubtful the Rangers get much off Valdez, and Otto was excellent against this Houston lineup the last time out. The Rangers starter should at least keep the Astros in check, and runs will be at a premium tonight. Take the under.