Rangers vs. Astros MLB Best Bet: Nathan Eovaldi Will Lasso Houston

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Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Texas Rangers delivers a pitch to the Tampa Bay Rays in the first inning at Tropicana Field on April 03, 2024. Julio Aguilar/Getty Images/AFP

We have a typical Sunday Major League Baseball slate today with 14 afternoon MLB matchups plus Sunday Night Baseball. As usual, we are here with our three plays for the day that we feel hold the most betting value with the current MLB odds at the top-rated sportsbooks.

These picks are mostly based on our proprietary model, and we start the day at 2:10 pm ET with a side play in the Lone Star State battle between the Rangers and Astros. For more best bets, check out:

MLB Best Bet: Rangers ML (+104) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Rangers ML (+104)
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Texas Rangers vs. Houston Astros

Sunday, April 14, 2024 – 02:10 PM ET at Minute Maid Park

We feel that the wrong team may be favored in Houston on Sunday, so we are betting on Nathan Eovaldi and the Rangers as small underdogs when they visit Cristian Javier and the Astros.

Already in Prime Form

Eovaldi had a fine first season in Texas last season going 12-5 with a 3.63 ERA, 3.96 xFIP and a good K/BB ratio of 8.25/2.94 per nine innings. Well, he has followed that up by allowing a total of three earned runs through three starts so far this young season, covering 18.2 innings.

No, that 1.45 ERA is not sustainable, but the more realistic 3.48 xFIP is better than last season. The key catalysts are improvements in both Nathan’s already good strikeout and walk rates, with that ratio currently at 9.16/1.93 per nine innings. When you then add in a big drop in hard-contact rate from 36.2% last year to a current 22.7% and an uptick in average velocity from 95.3 MPH to 95.9 MPH, Eovaldi may be in line for a big year.

ERA a Mirage

Javier has a history of slow starts before getting better as the season goes on, which is why he has been a great post-season pitcher. Well, some may say that is changing considering Cristian is currently 1-0 with a 1.10 ERA through 16.1 innings over three starts. However, unlike Eovaldi, Javier’s peripherals do not support his ERA.

In fact, Cristian has an ugly 5.60 xFIP primarily due to a weak K/BB ratio of 7.16/4.96 per nine innings. He has escaped harm due to ranking high in the Luck stats, with a low .217 BABIP allowed and a high 84.2% strand rate. We do not see that luck continuing against a Texas offense that has a potent wRC+ of 126 against right-handed pitching.

When you also factor in the Houston bullpen ranking in the bottom third of the league in xFIP at 4.62, we feel Texas should have the pitching edge from start to finish here. Thus, bet the Rangers as small underdogs.

Predicted Score: Rangers 6 – Astros 4

MLB Best Bet: Rangers ML (+104) at Heritage Sports

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Rangers ML (+104)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.