MLB American League Division Series Best Bets for Mariners vs. Astros Game 2

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Luis Castillo #21 of the Seattle Mariners looks up after ending the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays. Mark Blinch/Getty Images/AFP

The top sportsbooks have released their MLB odds for today’s baseball action, and there is one game that I wish to invest heavily in: Seattle vs. Houston.

After achieving a highly improbable comeback in Game 1 in the most dramatic of fashions, with a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth inning, Houston leads the series 1-0.

Both teams, in different respects, will have to collect themselves emotionally in order to achieve their best possible performance in Game 2.

For reasons that I will explain, you should play the moneyline and play some prop bets for this game.

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Seattle Mariners vs. Houston Astros

Thursday, October 13, 2022 – 03:37 PM EDT at Minute Maid Park

Who Starts for Seattle?

The Mariners start Luis Castillo for today's game.

I find it incredible that the Mariners are listed at +140 despite the fact that Castillo, with his 2.99 ERA and 3.07 FIP (like ERA but factors out fielding), is starting.

Overall, Castillo has been a profitable pitcher for bettors to back. He's yielding +2.2 units in his starts.

Castillo as an Underdog

Pertinently to my best bet for this game, he has thrived in the underdog role. The sportsbooks have repeatedly listed him in this role, and he makes doubters pay.

As the underdog, Castillo is yielding +8.8 units. In fact, his team has won the last seven games in which he was posted as the underdog.

During this win streak, his biggest upset victory was when he was posted at +165 at the Yankees.

This, therefore, is not a matter of something being too good to be true, it is a matter of oddsmakers repeatedly and foolishly underrating Castillo.

Castillo's Improvement

Castillo, to be fair, is enjoying a unique kind of year, the quality of which many might not have expected. His regular season ERA was .99 better this season than it was last season.

While he's always been one to strike a lot of batters out –he does this, especially with his high-velo fastball but he also has other pitches that yield a high whiff rate– his command needed work.

Crucially, he is walking much fewer batters while surrendering fewer home runs.

Castillo's Pitch Breakdown

Castillo's pitch selection consists of four options. He throws his fastball, sinker, changeup, and slider, and these four pitches make up the entirety of his arsenal.

Specifically, he throws each pitch between 21 and 33 percent of the time. This level of variety and balance in his pitch selection helps make him less predictable.

If a pitch isn't working for him in a given outing, he can rely on three other pitches to be effective.

Castillo's Pitch Quality

Castillo's best pitches typically work for him. His pitch selection is intelligent in that he throws his very best pitch most often.

Opponents are hitting just .152 and slugging .194 against his fastball, as they struggle to deal with its combination of velocity and spin rate. Castillo's fastball averages 97.1 mph, which puts it in the 93rd percentile in velocity, but also, it ranks in the 60th percentile in spin rate.

This combination makes Castillo's fastball uniquely solid and, in terms of quality, comparable to the best fastballs, such as Gerrit Cole's,

Batters struggle to keep up with Castillo's heater, and they have trouble tracking its location in view of its spin rate. Castillo likes to elevate this pitch, whose spin gives it the appearance of rising action, inducing batters to swing underneath it.

He'll also play this pitch off slower pitches, so, in addition to creating a change of pace via this velocity differential, he'll change the batter's eye level by locating especially pitches other than the fastball lower in the strike zone.

Matchup Consideration

Castillo is a reliable option even against teams that match up well against him.

While there are teams who hit his pitches well, they face iterations of those pitches that are inferior to Castillo's.

Hence, Castillo thrived repeatedly against, for example, the Yankees, although they ranked higher than Houston in slugging rate against his pitches from righties.

Who Starts for Houston?

Framber Valdez starts for the Astros today.

It's noteworthy that Valdez is left-handed because Seattle hits lefties slightly better than righties.

More to the point, the Mariners rank well above average in slugging rate against Valdez's favorite pitches from lefties.

Bets for this Game

Given Seattle's matchup potential against Valdez and the fact that Castillo is pitching, I like Seattle to score first at -130 with Bovada (visit our Bovada Review).

Also, since the Mariners will ride their starting pitcher advantage, I like them to win both half-time and full-time at +200 with Bovada.

MLB Pick: Mariners Half-Time/Full-Time (+200) at Bovada

MLB Pick: Seattle to Score First (-130) at Bovada

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Seattle to Score First (-130)
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For the above reasons, for our moneyline MLB pick, I like the Mariners' ML at +144 with Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review).

MLB Pick: Mariners ML (+144) at Heritage Sports

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Mariners ML (+144)
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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.