After a nice little two-game winning streak we got burned by the Orioles and Athletics on Friday. The two missed out on hitting the Over by one run and then did so again on Saturday for the second game in a row. They then quickly hit that bet in the very next game, as they combined for over 10 runs in the first two innings of their Sunday matchup. Of course, right?
Bad beats aside, we’re back to the MLB betting grind on Monday, where we get a truly brutal slate. There are not legit aces toeing the rubber, so a lot of these games have very tight spreads and seem impossible to gauge. That’s why you come here, though, so we can sort through the madness and try to point you in the right direction.
One interesting spot comes at Chase Field, where we get the lone ace of the day in Zack Greinke taking the mound against the mighty Houston Astros. Should we back Greinke and the favored D’Backs here, or take the value with one of the best teams in baseball? Let’s dig a little deeper to find out:
Houston Astros (+130) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (-150) Total: 9
Collin McHugh (0-1, 5.32 ERA) vs. Zack Greinke (13-5, 3.14 ERA)
The first thing working against the Diamondbacks is that Greinke hasn’t been in amazing form. He’s had some really tough tests lately, as he’s coughed up 9 runs and walked four batters in showdowns with the Dodgers and Cubs. We’ve seen Greinke work through elite offenses before and he’s actually been exceptional (2.52 ERA) at home, but it’s worth noting that he hasn’t handled things in an ideal fashion recently.
Does that mean we expect Greinke to implode against the Astros? No, he probably won’t. He sports a mean K rate and he’s comfortable at Chase Field, regardless of how dangerous it is for the best of pitchers. Still, this is a tough park and the Astros are one of the nastiest lineups in baseball.
Houston haven’t really been themselves lately (3-7 over their last 10 games), but they got George Springer back three games ago and are as healthy as they’ve been in months. The on the year numbers only help the Astros, too, as Houston ranks 2nd in the majors in home runs against left-handed pitching and tops in batting average. Putting those staggering numbers to use against an elite arm on the road is cause for pause, but in this park, perhaps any edge for either side goes out the window.
Yes, the Astros are slumping a bit, but this is a huge park upgrade for an offense stacked with nasty power and strong efficiency. Needless to say, Greinke will have his work cut out for him, not just to consistently get batters to miss, but to keep the ball in the park.
Houston has a steady pitcher on their side, too. Collin McHugh got roughed up in his last start (7 earned runs), but was pretty stable in his previous starts (6 total runs allowed in three outings). This is a bad spot for him, but it’s worth noting that Arizona is only average against righties this year (15th in HR) when it comes to power.
McHugh has also been slaying right-handed hitters on the year. If the data stays the course, that could mean he really only needs to navigate tough lefty bats like Jake Lamb and David Peralta. That doesn’t mean he’ll shut the D’Backs down on the other side, but it does look like he could have a nice splits edge that some bettors might overlook.
The knee-jerk reaction here is probably to bet against the inferior arm or just back Greinke at home. It’s a logical bet, but it doesn’t give us much value. Betting against the Astros isn’t a great way to make money usually, either. Ultimately, I see positives for the Astros, who are the better team overall and get a nice park upgrade. I don’t think McHugh will dominate and I doubt the Astros completely wreck Greinke, but I think they can do enough to get the win.