The Texas Rangers will head out to Minute Maid Park for an epic AL West showdown with the defending champion Houston Astros. Join us for our MLB odds series, where our Rangers-Astros prediction and pick will be revealed.
Entering Friday evening with a 7-5 record overall, the Rangers hands down endured one of their worst games of the young season to this point as they were blown out 10-1 at home versus the Royals. Nevertheless, Texas is off to a fairly good start as a whole as they are tied with the LA Angels for first place in the AL West. On the mound in this one will be the lefty Martin Perez who has posted a 1-1 record to go along with a 2.53 ERA in a pair of starts to open up the new season.
A more sluggish start has been in the works for the last year's World Series champs, as the Astros sit one game below the .500 mark. Nevertheless, Houston did look like themselves yesterday as they were able to string together one of their better performances of the season in a 7-0 rout of the Pirates. Getting the nod for this divisional battle will be right Luis Garcia who is 0-1 with a lofty 7.00 ERA in his first two starts.
Here are the Rangers-Astros MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
MLB Odds: Rangers-Astros Odds
Texas Rangers: +1.5 (-152)
Houston Astros: -1.5 (+126)
Over: 8.5 (-122)
Under: 8.5 (+100)
How To Watch Rangers vs. Astros
TV: AT&T SportsNet Southwest/MLB.TV
Time: 8:10 ET/5:10 PT
*Watch MLB games LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why The Rangers Could Cover The Spread
Although the Rangers are 16-38 in their last 54 meetings in Houston, there is valid reason to believe that this Texas roster has what it takes to cover the spread on this Friday night. First things first, the sole reason why the Rangers have exceeded early season expectations is because of an efficient offense that has scored the sixth-most runs among all 30 MLB teams.
Of course, the recent injury suffered to shortstop Corey Seager is a devastating one, as the former Dodger was recently placed on the 10-day injury list with a Grade 2 hamstring strain. Still, Texas should still be in good hands as guys like first-baseman Nathaniel Lowe and third-baseman Josh Jung to carry the load in Seager's prolonged absence.
Above all else, Texas will need to remain patient in their at-bats, as their .310 on-base percentage remains near the bottom of the league. If Texas can work some walks and make Houston's pitching sweat it out, then they may end up in fairly good shape.
Pitching-wise, Martin Perez does happen to possess a 3.23 ERA all-time in 19 career starts versus the Astros, so there is no doubt that Texas will keep their fingers crossed that the southpaw can mix up his pitches enough to keep Houston off-balanced and uncomfortable at the dish all night long in this one.
Why The Astros Could Cover The Spread
With extremely high expectations yet again for a franchise that has managed to reach the World Series in three of the past five seasons, the Astros' sluggish start to the season has been uncalled for. However, with only 13 games played in the book of the 2o23 regular season, the defending champs have plenty of time to start reeling in some wins starting tonight against a division rival.
In order for Houston to string together a second-straight solid outing and cover the spread in doing so, they will need to make sure that they get off to a hot start early to keep the bats hot and to instill some confidence into their scuffling starting hurler. At the moment, in Luis Garcia's pair of opening season starts, he has surrendered a total of seven runs and has yet to officially get himself into a rhythm. In order for Garcia to garner his first solid start of the season, logging in at least six innings pitched would do wonders in how this game ends up shaping up.
Even if this matchup ends up being a shootout offensively, the Astros are well aware that they can hang with anyone in the runs department. Having scored 66 runs altogether through 13 games played, Houston has been led by the hot start of left-fielder Kyle Tucker who has been absolutely ripping the cover off of the baseball when standing in the batter's box. Alas, Tucker is raking a healthy .311 and has hit four moonshots into the bleachers to lead the club in both of those categories. Someone will need to step up in a big way offensively for the Astros, so look no further than Kyle Tucker to be that man.
Final Rangers-Astros Prediction & Pick
There surely isn't a whole lot of love between both of these teams over the years in the Battle of Texas. By the time the final out is recorded, don't be surprised if Texas makes this a ball game by getting after Garcia early and often to pave the way offensively.
Final Rangers-Astros Prediction & Pick: Rangers +1.5 (-152)