The Kansas City Royals will attempt to earn a series split as they finish the four-game set against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. It's time to continue our MLB odds coverage with a Royals-Astros prediction and pick.
The Royals defeated the Astros 7-4 on Wednesday. Kansas City got on the board early when Whit Merrifield cracked a shot to deep left field for a solo home run. It was his fourth in 2022, giving the Royals the early 1-0 lead. Then, Hunter Dozier came up with a runner on base and belted a 2-1 fastball to deep left field. It was his ninth in 2022, giving the Royals the 3-0 lead. The second inning came and the Royals added on when Emmanuel Rivera blasted a 2-1 fastball to deep left. It was his 4th of 2022, giving the Royals a 4-0 cushion. Kansas City held the lead and secured their first win in this four-game series.
Kris Bubic will start on the mound for the Royals today. Bubic is 1-5 with a 7.06 ERA. He had a mediocre outing last week, lasting 4 2/3 innings while allowing two earned runs on five hits. Additionally, June was not a kind month for Bubic, as he went 1-2 with a 4.62 ERA. He tossed five scoreless innings in his only career start against the Astros on June 4.
Justin Verlander will take the hill for the Astros. The future hall-of-famer is 10-3 with a 2.03 ERA. Likewise, he tossed eight scoreless innings in his last outing, allowing two hits. Verlander went 4-1 with a 2.04 ERA in June. Subsequently, he is 23-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 45 career starts against the Royals, including two complete games and one shutout.
Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the Royals-Astros odds:
MLB odds: Royals-Astros Odds
Royals: +1.5 (+134)
Astros: -1.5 (-162)
Over: 8 (-115)
Under: 8 (-105)
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Why The Royals Could Cover The Spread
The Royals have weapons on offense that can help them get the job done. Whit Merrifield is one of their long-time leaders, but struggling this season. Merrifield is batting .239 with four home runs, 34 RBIs, and 44 runs through 80 games this year. The batting average is significantly lower than last year, where he hit .277 and way below his .286 career batting average. Merrifield is 5 for 21 against Verlander in his career with one double. However, he is batting .429 with nine hits and five runs in five games against the Astros. Likewise, Merrifield is 4 for 10 during this series. There is an inkling that he is starting to turn things around, a hot second half could occur.
MJ Melendez is their newest addition to the club. He is batting .226 with nine home runs, 22 RBIs, and 19 runs through 54 games since he debuted on May 1. However, he is batting .202 with five home runs, 13 RBIs, and 10 runs since May 31. Melendez sprung out of the gate in relief of oft-injured catcher Santiago Perez and earned himself a full-time role with the Royals. He is a catcher and an outfielder and has fit in well as Perez recovers from another injury.
The Royals will cover the spread if Bubic can give them a decent outing and contain a red-hot Astros lineup. Likewise, Merrifield and Melendez must carry the offense with Perez out.
Why The Astros Could Cover The Spread
The Astros have a plethora of weapons. However, Kyle Tucker, Jose Altuve, and Alex Bregman are the guys that may have an impact on this game.
Tucker is batting .262 with 16 home runs, 57 RBIs, and 37 runs in 2022. Additionally, he is batting .364 with one home run, six RBIs, and five runs through six games against the Royals. Tucker is also batting .390 with two home runs, nine RBIs, and eight runs in 11 games against the Royals in his career.
Altuve is batting .278 with 16 home runs, 29 RBIs, and 14 runs scored. Alternatively, he is batting .190 with just four hits and two RBIs with one run scored through 21 at-bats against the Royals this season. Altuve has a .256 batting average, with six home runs, 23 RBIs, and 30 runs scored through 57 career games against the Royals.
Bregman is batting .242 with 10 home runs, 42 RBIs, and 44 runs scored this season. Additionally, he is batting .278 with five hits, one home run, two RBIs, and four runs scored through 18 at-bats against the Royals in 2022. Bregman is batting .258 with five home runs, 12 RBIs, and 17 runs scored through 25 career games against Kansas City.
The Royals will cover the spread if Verlander dominates the Royals. Likewise, they quickly cover if Tucker, Altuve, and Bregman get it going offensively.
Final Royals-Astros Prediction & Pick
The Royals are trying to earn the split. Unfortunately, they are facing a long-time tormenter, and the sadness will continue for the Royals. Expect the Astros to handle this game quite easily.
Final Royals-Astros Prediction & Pick: Astros -1.5 (-162)