Take a good look at Kansas City, your 2015 World Series champions because by this time next year, they will have a far different look and those betting baseball will have to adapt to a different club.
The pitching staff has already been revamped and not for the better and several of the everyday players have contracts that are up this season and the Royals front office has made it known not everyone can come back next year.
Houston on the other hand is on the rise to those generating MLB picks and is favored to take this Sunday matinee.
Nathan Karns won the battle for the fifth starter role with Kansas City after being acquired from Seattle in the off-season. Karns has an above average curve and fastball combo, but throughout his career as a starting pitcher he’s always had trouble making it a third time around the opposing team’s batting order. This has been his downfall and why he’s moved around and is on his fourth different team since 2013.
Lance McCullers Jr. (1-0, 1.57 ERA) has one of the best curveballs in the American League and when he is able to properly spot his fastball, he can be a rough customer for opposing hitters. Still only 23, McCullers has a very high ceiling, but he’s been a little injury-prone which has cast a few doubts if he will reach his potential. If the left-hander can stay ahead in the count of Kansas City hitters, he should have a strong game.
Last season, Kansas City was less disciplined, striking out more and taking fewer walks than previous two years when they played in the Fall Classic. If they are to beat Houston today, they must work the count and force McCullers to throw strikes and not chase pitches.
The Astros have a number of free swingers and when one or more gets in a groove, those following the MLB odds will back them regularly. In this contest, if Karns uses fastball in hopes of getting ahead in the count, Houston hitters should be ready to swing. Otherwise, force Karns to throw the ball over the plate and not let him nibble.
Betting Odds, History and Bullpen Numbers
Houston was sent out as large -210 favorite in the series final and has split eight encounters with Kansas City at home since 2015. (As of 4/8). Once the strength of the team, the Royals bullpen is a shell of former self and has been walking far too many batters, leading to terrible start. The Astros pen has also walked a lot of hitters, but has bailed itself out in averaging 1.3 strikeouts an inning.
The Winner Is……
I honestly believe Houston wins the game, but a -210 on the money line is pricey. I’m not a big run line player at -1.5, which would lower the odds to around -110, however, this comes with a risk. I would shop around the sportsbooks at SBR and grab the Astros at -1 RL, which should be about -155 odds and more palatable.
Free MLB Play – Houston on -1 Run Line