Rangers vs Astros Picks and Predictions: Valdez and Houston Ground Texas

It's a matinee in Houston today, as Texas wraps up a three-game set with the 'Stros at Minute Maid Park. The Astros are massive MLB betting favorites against the Rangers, so our MLB betting picks highlight the value in this game.

Last Updated: Aug 11, 2022 11:42 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Framber Valdez Houston Astros MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Astros and Texas Rangers will wrap up a three-game series on Thursday afternoon.

The two teams have split the opening pair of games. Last night, the game went into extra innings before the Rangers dropped a 5-run spot in the top half, propelling them to an 8-4 victory.

Who will get the series win? Find out our MLB picks and predictions for Astros vs. Rangers on Thursday, August 11, 2022.

Rangers vs Astros odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

Coming off the loss, the Astros opened up as massive -320 favorites. Since then, the Rangers have taken some money, with the Astros falling to around -290 and Texas returning at about +245.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until first pitch and be sure to check out the full MLB odds before placing your bets.

Rangers vs Astros predictions

Picks made on 8/11/2022 at 11:30 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Rangers vs Astros game info

Location: Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX
Date: Thursday, August 11, 2022
First pitch: 2:10 p.m. ET
TV: SN360, YouTube

Rangers vs Astros betting preview

Starting pitchers

Cole Ragans (0-0, 0.00 ERA): This will be Ragan's second appearance in his professional career. Ragans was called up from AAA Round Rock Express after a July in which he posted a 4.4 ERA. A four-month stint in the minors saw him post four scoreless starts along with an outlier of surrendering seven earned runs in just three innings in May. 

His first start at the major league level came against the White Sox, which was impressive. Ragans posted five innings and gave up no earned runs on just three hits. Ragans is primarily a fastball, change-up pitcher, with the four-seam fastball making up over 45% of his pitching arsenal. 

Framber Valdez (10-4, 2.87 ERA): Valdez has posted a 1.15 WHIP and a 3.27 xERA, but his game has a few concerns. Valdez has managed to keep his ERA below three despite a hard-hit rate and average exit velocity, ranking below league average. In addition to that, Valdez walks a lot of batters and doesn't have much fastball velocity. 

Valdez produces an astronomical 66.4% groundball rate VS a league average of 44.9%. That, along with keeping the ball inside the park, has been a key to his success this season.

Weather

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Key injuries

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Betting trend to know

The Astros are cashing over 70% of the time on the moneyline after a loss. Find more MLB betting trends for Rangers vs. Astros

Rangers vs Astros picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Run line analysis

I started this handicap as I often do when a large price is placed on the favorite. I look at the underdog and find as many angles as possible — along with my projections — to see why they could or should win. I'm seeking value vs. the number. I'm sad to report, it's just not there today. So, I'll be backing the Astros in this spot. 

A fast-ball-heavy approach, like the one Cole Ragan will take today, against the Astros can get you into trouble. The Astros’ lineup is littered with batters that hit the four-seam fastball well. 

The strength of this handicap is found here. Framber Valdez has made two starts against this Rangers team this season and found tons of success in both. Each time he's over six innings, he's surrendered just one earned run. Why? Well, the biggest reason is that it's Valdez's strength vs. the Rangers' weakness. 

Valdez produces one of the league's most considerable groundball rates at just over 66%. Conversely, the Rangers hit the 4th most ground balls in the bigs. This factoid makes this a nightmare matchup for the Rangers and gives the Astros a massive edge. 

My projections don't give this much edge and have it priced where you can find it. While I likely won't be wagering a side here because I don't see the value, the best play is in the first five-inning market. If the Rangers can jump out to an early lead, I may jump in on the Astros live at a better price. 

Prediction: Astros first five innings -0.5 (-190 at DraftKings)

Over/Under analysis

This is going to be a common theme: We're going to fade the Rangers’ hitting because of who is on the mound for the Astros.

I've already spoken about the Rangers' issues with hitting the ground ball, but let's dig a little deeper. Valdez is a sinker heavy pitcher. He throws them over 50% of the time, then backs it up with the curveball. There are just not a ton of players in the lineup for the Rangers that hit the sinker well. There are only three players in the lineup with a positive run value and only one at all that hits it consistently at Kole Calhoun, and he's not in the lineup today.

So, this means we have a lineup that struggles against a pitcher's favored pitch and hits into ground balls, which is what that pitcher wants to accomplish. In short, the Rangers will have trouble scoring runs today. 

Our projections don't give us a huge edge here. It has the Rangers scoring fewer than three runs about 55% of the time. So, while it's not a strong one, it's worth a bet.

Prediction: Rangers team total Under 2.5 (+100 at DraftKings)

Best bet

Hey, what a surprise, our best bet centers around the biggest edge in this game.

The Rangers hit many ground balls, which is the bread and butter of his game. Given the market price of -200 for the Astros to be ahead after five innings, this shouldn't be priced at -110. If the Astors are leading, it will be because Valdez has stayed in the game and led them there. 

To add a little more comfort to this side, Valdez has gone over five innings — the distance needed to record a win — in every single start since the end of May. There's no reason to suggest that changes today.

In a game where there doesn't seem to be much value, there is tons here. 

Pick: Framber Valdez to record a win (-110 at DraftKings)

MLB parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed today’s MLB Rangers vs. Astros picks, you could win $48.28 on a $10 bet?

Use our MLB parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

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