Astros vs Twins Predictions, Picks, Odds: Javier Can Outlast Minnesota

Cristian Javier has had a disappointing season, but it might be time to jump on his bandwagon. With playoff ball, we're seeing shorter leashes but the Astros have deployed him liberally and there could be major value on his outs recorded prop.

Oct 10, 2023 • 13:09 ET • 4 min read
Cristian Javier Houston Astros MLB
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The Minnesota Twins were able to steal a big win at Minute Maid Park and even their American League Division Series with the Houston Astros. Now, with the series knotted up at one win apiece, the matchup shifts back to Target Field in Minnesota as both squads jockey for better positioning in World Series odds

The Twins were able to even up this ALDS thanks to another strong pitching performance from starter Pablo Lopez and are hoping Sonny Gray can follow suit. However, Game 3 could be more of a pitcher’s duel than some would expect.

That’s because Cristian Javier gets the ball for the Astros, and despite a bewildering season, the right-hander started to find his form down the stretch and could pose a problem for this Twins lineup.

I break down the MLB odds for this ALDS matchup and bring you my best MLB picks and MLB playoff predictions for Game 3 between the Astros and Twins.

Astros vs Twins odds

Astros vs Twins Game 3 odds

Astros vs Twins series odds

Team DraftKings FanDuel bet365 Caesars BetMGM
Blue Jays Astros -125 -106 +100 -115 -115
Blue Jays Twins +105 -114 -120 -105 -105

Astros vs Twins predictions

The results of this American League Division Series have been pretty straightforward. The team that has gotten the better performance from its starting pitcher has won the ballgame. While it may look like the Twins have the edge in that regard in Game 3 with Sonny Gray going against the Astros’ Cristian Javier, the result is far from a lock. 

Gray led the American League in FIP and was second in ERA, while it was admittedly a disappointing season for the Astros right-hander. But I’m not so sure if it’s as clear-cut as that.

Javier came into 2023 with big expectations following a breakout campaign in 2022. Things did not go as planned for much of the year. His strikeouts were down, and opponents were making much better contact. However, it looked like Javier turned a corner down the stretch. 

The 26-year-old found his good form in the month of September. Over six starts last month he pitched to a 3.42 FIP while limiting opponents to a .198 batting average. And most importantly, his strikeouts have returned. Javier has struck out 11.7 batters per nine innings over 30 2/3 innings pitched to finish the season.

He also has a good track record against this Minnesota lineup. The sample size isn’t huge, but current Twins hitters are 0-for-15 with six strikeouts in 17 plate appearances vs. Javier. That works out to a ridiculously low .016 expected batting average and a .029 expected slugging percentage.

So to me, all that adds up to there being some value in Javier’s props. The one that immediately stuck out to me was his outs recorded prop, which is sitting at a low 11.5.

Now, obviously, Javier’s overall numbers aren’t great and pitchers have a shorter leash in the postseason, but three innings is really short outing. Particularly for Javier. 

The right-hander averaged 94.3 pitches per start in the second half of the season, recorded at least 15 outs in 23 of his 31 starts, and failed to reach 12 outs just once all season.

Then there is also the fact Javier has a 2.20 ERA over 17 postseason appearances since 2020. That includes two starts last season in the ALCS and the World Series, where he gave up no runs on just one hit over 11 1/3 innings.

Javier has shown signs of being the guy who was so dominant last season. And with the Twins striking out at a much higher rate in the postseason (30.8% of plate appearances through four games), the right-hander is set up to go Over his outs recorded prop.

My best bet: Cristian Javier Over 11.5 outs recorded (-125 at bet365)

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Astros vs Twins same-game parlay

Cristian Javier Over 11.5 outs

Javier first strikeout

Kyle Tucker Over 1.5 total bases

Now, in addition to Javier clearing his outs recorded prop, I wanted to add his strikeouts as well but it has come down off the board at some spots. So instead, let’s add Javier to record the first strikeout.

That requires Gray to not punch out one batter in the top of the first, which isn't a far-fetched proposal. Gray was a middle-of-the-pack strikeout pitcher this season, ranking in the 56th percentile in K-rate, and is going against a Houston lineup that had the fourth-lowest strikeout rate vs. right-handed pitching.

We'll round this SGP out by putting in Kyle Tucker to go Over 1.5 total bases. Tucker is 2-for-6 in his career vs. Gray with two doubles. Tucker is also coming off another fantastic season where he hit .284 with an .886 OPS and 29 home runs.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Astros vs Twins moneyline and Over/Under analysis

The Twins were able to snatch home-field advantage away from the reigning World Series champions and are now the favorites to take a 2-1 series lead. But it’s hard to look at the Astros as underdogs in this spot and not see value.

For starters, the Astros were one of the best road teams in baseball, going 51-30, and this group is arguably the most experienced and battle-tested of any team remaining in the postseason.

Then there is the case of Sonny Gray. Sure, he had some solid numbers this season and is coming off an outing against the Toronto Blue Jays in the Wild Card round where he shut them out over five innings. But that game was marred by errors that the Jays were not able to take advantage of. On top of that, his expected ERA was nearly a run higher a 3.69 and his opponent's expected batting average was in the 48th percentile.

Gray’s thing is he tends to give up hits but limits the damage. That may not be the best course of action against an experienced Astros team that will manufacture runs. I would lean toward the road team at +110.

Meanwhile, the total hit the board at 8.0 and that’s where it sits as of Tuesday afternoon. I don’t have a strong feeling for the total either way since I could see a wide range of outcomes for both pitchers.

Trend to know

The Astros have cashed the moneyline in 42 of their last 66 road games for +13.50 units. Find more MLB betting trends for Astros vs. Twins

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Astros vs Twins game info

Location: Target Field, Minneapolis, MN
Date: Tuesday, October 10, 2023
First pitch: 4:07 p.m. ET

Starting pitchers

Cristian Javier (0-0, 0.00 ERA): As noted, Javier had quite an up-and-down season but has been terrific in the postseason over the last three seasons pitching to a 2.02 ERA over 32 2/3 innings of work. This will be his first postseason appearance of 2023.

Sonny Gray (1-0, 0.00 ERA): Gray led the American League in FIP this season and was second in ERA. The right-hander shut out the Blue Jays in his first start of the 2023 postseason but allowed five hits and two walks over five innings.                                                                 

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