We’ve almost made the weekend, and there’s an opportunity to add a little cash to our weekend bankroll with the right MLB pick on the baseball betting battle between the Houston Astros and Cleveland Guardians.
Hats off to Terry Francona and the Cleveland Guardians for staying in the playoff hunt longer than the preseason MLB futures odds expected them to. They’ll try to continue beating those odds Thursday evening at home when the Houston Astros arrive for a long weekend series.
Houston Astros vs. Cleveland Guardians
Thursday, August 04, 2022 – 07:10 PM EDT at Progressive Field
Astros vs. Guardians: Who Are the Starting Pitchers?
We’re crossing our fingers Mother Nature doesn’t get in the way of a nice duel of starting pitchers in the series opener when Justin Verlander (14-3, 1.81) takes on Zach Plesac (2-9, 4.33), a pairing that has the oddsmakers establishing Houston as -180 chalk with a 7½-run total that is generally priced ‘Over.’
Cleveland was in Houston before Memorial Day when the Astros won two of the three matchups – and were -180 favorites or better in all three games – while two of the contests stopped short of totals that all closed on 8-run marks
- Houston has dominated the rivalry recently by winning 12 of the last 15.
- Cleveland still owns a 40-36 advantage in regular season meetings dating to when this was an interleague series.
- The Astros swept four in Cleveland last season and were favored in all four games.
- Totals split 2-2 O/U in the series at Progressive Field a year ago.
Father Time ain’t got nothing on Justin Verlander. Since a couple of rough outings in mid-June – when his defense did him no favors – the Houston ace has reeled off six consecutive wins while pitching to a microscopic 0.86 ERA. Not bad for a 39-year-old coming off Tommy John surgery.
Verlander is setting himself up for a third Cy Young Award as well as the Comeback Player of the Year in the Junior Circuit, and if it wasn’t for the media already handing New York’s Aaron Judge the trophy, Verlander could be in line for a second American League MVP.
He is coming off consecutive dominating outings against the Mariners on chalk lines at top-rated sportsbooks. Verlander missed facing Cleveland when the teams met in May but has plenty of experience against the team during his 18 seasons. Due to his injury and the pandemic, this will be Verlander’s first start at Progressive Field since July 2019.
Anything that could go wrong, did go wrong for Plesac during July when Cleveland lost four of his five starts. He pitched poorly in the one that did go into the team’s win column, and it all ended with a 5.84 ERA, the highest ERA for any single month in his short career.
Some of the blame might go to six of his last eight assignments coming on the road, like last Saturday when Plesac took on the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field and allowed 5 runs in 4 innings of a 6-4 loss that BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review) closed Cleveland +130 on the moneyline.
Plesac would just as soon forget his collision with the Astros back in May. The 27-year-old pitched like the underdog that he was, giving up 7 runs before he could get out of the fifth inning. That was just the second time Plesac faced Houston, with the first coming at home during his 2019 rookie campaign.
Cleveland Weather Forecast
Bettors may want to wait until closer to game time before making their wagers due to the potential of a passing thunderstorm interrupting the starting pitchers’ preparation or even leading to an early delay after the contest gets underway.
The weatherman lists a 30%-45% chance for rain bands to cross through Cleveland beginning in the late afternoon and running into the evening hours. The forecast includes muggy temps in the low-80s around game time with a light southwest breeze (out to center).
MLB Best Bet for Today
Another consideration for baseball bettors is to keep an eye on when Christian Vazquez, acquired from Boston in a trade earlier this week, is scheduled to be behind the plate performing catching duties.
Houston hurlers are used to having Martín Maldonado calling the game, and there will be an adjustment period for Vazquez as he gets to know his new pitching staff and coaching staff.
The Astros’ recent dominance in the rivalry and Verlander’s dominance this season have me on a run line play with my free baseball pick. Houston wins it, 5-3.
*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.