We’re back in a nice groove with two straight wins, as we nailed the Pirates in a big win over the Rockies on Friday. That returned some solid value and we should again locate some reliable value tonight. It doesn’t take a genius to back the Houston Astros these days. The second best team in the majors behind perhaps only the Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston is grinding through the loss of elite shortstop Carlos Correa and sports one of the most balanced and explosive units in baseball.
It’s a testament to Houston’s depth and elite talent that they can still put up run’s like nobody’s business with Correa on the shelf, and it’s fair to anticipate them doing more of the same tonight in the hittable Citizens Bank Park. Taking the Astros to topple the Phillies isn’t a bold move, but it surprisingly could hand us some of the best value on Monday’s MLB betting slate.
Brad Peacock (8-1, 2.49 ERA) has morphed from stable relief pitcher to high level starter, while he enters a dangerous park with a great matchup and an elite offense backing him. He’ll try to best Vincent Velasquez (2-5, 5.14 ERA), who boasts solid strikeout upside, but hasn’t enjoyed a stellar season and has a matchup to forget.
Is there still value to be found in the Phillies or the Total? Or is this matchup as obvious as it looks on paper? Let’s dive into this one to find out:
Houston Astros (-148) @ Philadelphia Phillies (+128) Total: 9.5
Brad Peacock (8-1, 2.49 ERA) vs. Vincent Velasquez (2-5, 5.14 ERA)
This isn’t a scary Total and the Phillies offer some value. We absolutely can attack the Over considering this park, some beatable pitching and the power we get from either side. The odds favor Houston putting up the majority of the runs to kick off this series, but the Phillies could chip in enough to push us to where we need to get.
The major problem is siding with the Phillies. They offer the most upside of any bet you’ll find for tonight’s tilt, but there isn’t much logic to back them and the playability isn’t where it needs to be. Seriously, we’re supposed to get excited about the Phillies at +128 against arguably the best team in baseball in this park? Sorry, but I’m not getting out of my seat for that.
Philadelphia really doesn’t even deserve a cursory glance, and the reasoning is layered. For one, Brad Peacock has been a K machine, racking up 7 or more strikeouts in 8 of his last 10 contests. He’s really been ablaze in general, too, as he’s given up 1 or fewer runs in 5 of his last 6 starts. The Phillies pan out as an elite matchup, as they rank 29th in the majors in home runs and just 20th when facing right-handed pitching.
Adding to the allure for Peacock is the K upside in this matchup specifically, as the Phillies own the 16th most strikeouts in the majors against righties. That’s not damning for the Phils, but collectively there is enough here to get behind Peacock. His stable 2.65 road ERA might seal the deal for us.
It gets better for the Astros on the other side, too, as they take on a pretty volatile arm in Velasquez. Vegas might be tightening the gap here due to Velasquez’s recent form (3 runs allowed over his last three starts), but he is not in a great spot at all. Velasquez owns an awful 6.26 ERA in his troublesome home park and offers up a .287 collective batting average to visiting hitters.
The one thing Velasquez offers is some K upside, but he hasn’t consistently been making batters miss at a high level in 2017 and the Astros are the second best team in MLB at avoiding Ks vs righties. Velasquez really has his work cut out for him when it comes to damage control, too, as the Astros also rank 2nd in home runs and tops in batting average when taking on right-handed hurlers.
This matchup favors the visiting Stros in just about every way, so there’s no sense in getting cute here. Usually I’d say that MLB bettors don’t need to be fed obvious bets like this, but we actually may want to go harder than usual. Houston offers pretty solid value at -148, but the real value lies with a nice +110 Money Line. I’ll take the Astros all day in this spot and also don’t mind the Over or Houston straight up, either.