MLB Baseball Playoffs Free Pick – Game 2: New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros
The Houston Astros put their best pitcher on the mound on Wednesday night – a future Hall of Famer – and got their desired results. But they have to follow that up so that the New York Yankees cannot achieve a split at Minute Maid Park in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series.
They may have just the guy to help them get there as they line up for Thursday’s game, which will begin at 7:37 PM ET.
Here are the odds as they have been posted by the good folks at BetOnline:
Houston Astros (Valdez) -135
New York Yankees (Severino) +125
Over 7 Runs -110
Under 7 Runs -110
Astros -1.5 Runs +158
Yankees +1.5 Runs -178
Luis Severino (7-3, 3.18 ERA), a right-hander, gets the assignment for the Yankees, while Framber Valdez (17-6, 2.82 ERA), a southpaw, is the starter for the Astros.
In Game 1, the Astros got homers from Yuli Gurriel, Chas McCormick, and Jeremy Pena to propel themselves to a 4-2 victory. And Justin Verlander gave them six innings of one-run ball and eleven strikeouts.
Severino started Game 3 of the ALDS against Cleveland, leaving with two outs in the sixth inning and allowing three runs. The Yankees lost 6-5. Two starts ago, he was brilliant against the Texas Rangers, tossing seven hitless innings. Since coming off the IL with a September 21 start, Severino has pitched 21-2/3 innings.
He’s lost three decisions in a row against the Astros, including a pair of starts in June, allowing five runs and eight hits in a dozen innings. It should be noted that Severino has not given up a home run in any of his last four starts. Due to his performance, the odds at MLB betting sites has always been high.
Valdez led the American League in innings pitched (201-1/3) and had three complete games, which is a lot in this day and age. In what was an All-Star season, he was the stingiest starting hurler in the AL when it came to giving up homers, surrendering only eleven. And there was no wonder; his ground ball percentage was 66.5%, the highest in the league.
For a guy with so many innings, he’s not gone beyond the sixth inning in any of his last five starts. He’s been pretty good over the last two, yielding two runs and six hits in 10-2/3 frames with fanning 16. He went six against the Yankees on June 23, allowing three runs, including a homer to Giancarlo Stanton.
We like the potential of an “under” play here, especially if you’re talking about a first five-inning prop, because of these starters and their ability to keep the ball in the park.
After that, we will give the Astros the edge because of the fresher bullpen. The guys who should be available are an impressive list – Ryan Pressly only threw 15 pitches on Wednesday night, and then there is Ryne Stanek (1.15 ERA), Bryan Abreu (13.1 K’s per 9), and whichever starters don’t wind up part of the rotation, like Jose Urquidy (13-8), Luis Garcia (15-8) or even Christian Javier (0.948 WHIP). That’s a lot of depth, and until the Yankees can get a day off, they’re still catching up a bit. And remember that Houston’s bullpen ERA was better than anybody’s this year.
So we’ll lay the price, as we did in Game 1.
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