The Houston Astros have seen their lead atop the American League West shrink by half over the past two weeks — but they're in a great position to re-establish that gap this weekend.
The Astros kick off a weekend series with the reeling Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park on Friday, fresh off taking two of three from the Cleveland Indians.
Houston sits 2.5 games ahead of the Oakland A's but hopes to see that lead grow as it prepares to tangle with a visiting Rangers team that comes in having lost nine consecutive games, all by multiple runs.
Here are our best MLB betting predictions for Rangers vs. Astros on Friday, July 23, with first pitch set for 8:10 p.m. ET.
Rangers vs Astros game info
• Location: Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX
• Date: Friday, July 23, 2021
• Time: 8:10 p.m. ET
• TV: Bally Sports Southwest, ATT SportsNet-SW
Rangers vs Astros odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
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Rangers vs Astros betting preview
Kolby Allard (2-7, 4.06 ERA): Allard looked sharp in June, posting a 3.56 ERA while allowing just three home runs over five starts. But he has taken a major step back in three July starts, surrendering 14 runs in 16 2-3 innings while getting taken deep five times in that span. Allard has tossed three shutout innings over two relief appearances versus Houston this season.
Jake Odorizzi (3-5, 4.09 ERA): Odorizzi has been terrific since struggling to a 10.13 ERA in three April appearances. The offseason acquisition has posted a 2.95 ERA in 42 2-3 innings since returning to action at the end of May, holding opponents to a .204/.265/.342 slash line. He held Texas to two hits over four strong innings in their only previous meeting in 2021.
Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.
Rangers: Ronald Guzman 1B (Out), Willie Calhoun OF (Out), Jose Trivino C (Out).
Astros: Aledmys Diaz SS (Out), Alex Bregman 3B (Out).
Find our latest MLB injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Rangers have lost eight consecutive road games. Find more MLB betting trends for Rangers vs. Astros.
Boy, it is hard to see value in the Rangers right now. They've careened to the bottom of the AL West standings and have looked rather terrible in the process, getting outscored by a ridiculous 66-15 margin over the course of their nine-game skid. They're 0-7 on their current 10-game road trek and have won just 13 of their 50 games away from Globe Life Park in 2021.
The Astros, meanwhile, are chugging toward another division title, owners of the top run differential (+135) in the American League. Their 31 home victories are second-most in the AL, and they own a 6-3 advantage in the head-to-head series so far this season. And while they've struggled recently, with just four wins in their past 10 games, they're 25-13 against divisional opponents.
Don't overthink this one. These teams are in completely different classes, and with Allard having struggled mightily so far in July, there's little reason to expect that the Rangers can stay competitive for long.
PREDICTION: Astros (-220)
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It isn't all that surprising to see the overwhelming majority of the action falling on the O9 here. These teams have averaged more than 10 runs in their six previous meetings at Minute Maid Park this season, converting the Over in each of the past five meetings in Houston.
Add in the fact that the Astros are 55-41-1 O/U for the campaign, and that Over lean makes even more sense.
Neither Allard nor Odorizzi are likely to pitch deep Friday, and the Houston and Texas bullpens rank 16th and 20th, respectively, in bullpen ERA. Houston ranks near the middle of the pack in park factors this season but with the way these teams have lit up the scoreboard in recent meetings at Minute Maid Park, it won't take much for this game to surge past the total.
PREDICTION: Over 9 (-110)
Rangers vs Astros betting card
- Astros ML (-220)
- Over 9 (-110)
Picks made on 7/23/2021 at 8:03 a.m. ET
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