Houston Astros @ Texas Rangers – July 9th 8:05 PM EST
The Rangers are mired in an inconceivable slump. They’ve lost 9 of their last 10, including the first two of this series as sizable favorites against the cellar-dwelling Astros. To avoid the sweep today, they send ace Yu Darvish to the mound. Darvish has been outstanding as usual this season, posting an 8-4 mark with a 2.63 ERA coming into today. This, along with his very public flirtations with perfect games against Houston, has pushed the moneyline skyward to the point where it sits as high as -205 at some outs. This presents a multitude of value on Houston for several reasons:
1. Houston is opposing Darvish with Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel has broken out this year, to say the least. He strolls into this game with an 8-5 mark and a 3.06 ERA and has posted 3.1 WAR through 16 starts (via Baseball Reference). He has staked his claim as Houston’s staff ace.
2. Houston is coming off two blowout victories in the last two days against the Rangers, scoring a total of 20 runs. This is a confident offensive team on a roll.
3. Sometimes it really is as simple as this: The Rangers are favored to win this game nearly 67% of the time despite being destroyed by the Astros the last two nights and losing 9 of their last 10. Yu Darvish is good, but he doesn’t play all 9 positions.
With a total of only 8 juiced under -120, the game is expected to be low-scoring by American League standards, especially for a game in Arlington. This creates a lot of value in the run line that wouldn’t normally occur for a Texas game where they are so heavily favored. The Astros should win or keep this close.
PLAY: HOUSTON ASTROS +1.5 -115 (List Dallas Keuchel)