The Arizona Diamondbacks take on the Houston Astros. Check out our MLB odds series for our Diamondbacks Astros prediction and pick.

Zac Gallen will start for the Diamondbacks, while Justin Verlander gets the call for the Astros. Two of the very best pitchers in baseball go at it in this late-season showcase.

Zac Gallen has a 2.46 ERA. He has greatly surpassed anyone’s expectations for him this year. If Sandy Alcantara and Julio Urias had not produced tremendous seasons, Gallen might have had a chance at the National League Cy Young Award. He has been that great. He registered a scoreless streak of 44 1/3 innings, the all-time Diamondback franchise record. In his most recent start, he dominated the powerful Los Angeles Dodgers in Dodger Stadium. Look at this pitching line: 8 innings, 2 hits, no runs, no walks, 13 strikeouts. That’s as good as it gets, folks. The 13 strikeouts were a career high for Gallen, who has not lost steam after losing that scoreless inning streak. He should be viewed as a top-tier pitcher, someone who can regularly be relied on to deliver a quality start, at minimum, if not something better.

Justin Verlander will be the 2022 American League Cy Young Award winner at the age of 39. It’s a spectacular achievement for a man who, as we can see, still brings the 97-mile-per-hour running fastball with late movement when he needs to. Verlander can still throw 100 pitches, get into the seventh inning, and pitch his way out of a jam with big-league heat. Yet, how does someone like Verlander deliver the goods at his age? It’s not just the fastball. It’s the location. It’s the mixture of pitches. Verlander rarely throws change-ups, but he will do so every now and then, sometimes on 3-2 counts with runners on base, because the last thing a hitter expects is the change. He outthinks hitters in addition to blowing them away. With a curveball and slider also in the bag if he needs them, Verlander has a lot of different ways to get hitters out. He’ll break his patterns, which causes hitters to guess more. They aren’t able to sit on one pitch. He is a craftsman, not just a fireballer.

Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the Diamondbacks-Astros MLB odds.

MLB Odds: Diamondbacks-Astros Odds

Arizona Diamondbacks: +1.5 (-146)

Houston Astros: -1.5 (+122)

Over: 6.5 (-102)

Under: 6.5 (-120)

Why The Diamondbacks Could Cover the Spread

Zac Gallen is the main reason the Diamondbacks will cover. He has been sensational, and given that he just shut down the Dodgers — probably a better hitting team than the Astros — he can certainly go into Houston and smother the defending American League champions. Keep in mind that the Astros have the No. 1 seed in the American League wrapped up. There’s not a huge amount of urgency attached to this game for the Astros. Also: Justin Verlander, in preparation for the playoffs, is not pitching into the seventh inning these days. He has not pitched into the seventh in his last two starts after returning from a groin injury in mid-September.

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Why The Astros Could Cover the Spread

Justin Verlander is the reason to take the Astros. He is going against a young Diamondback lineup which has had its moments, but is still well below par in terms of overall offensive production in the major leagues this season. Though Verlander won’t throw too many pitches in this game, the Astros still need him to go five or six innings and save the bullpen some work. Verlander wants to be sharp as he heads into October. If he pitches five scoreless innings, that wil put Houston in position to cover the spread.

Final Diamondbacks-Astros Prediction & Pick

If you know which pitcher will prevail in a great matchup such as this one, go ahead, but this should be seen as a stay-away game. If you have to lean one way, take the run and a half with the D-Backs and Gallen, who will likely go deeper into the game than Verlander.

Final Diamondbacks-Astros Prediction & Pick: Diamondbacks +1.5