The slump-busting ability of the Texas Rangers continues to be on full display – and unfortunately for the Rangers, it isn't their slump that's getting busted.
The Houston Astros cruised to a 7-3 win in Friday's series opener and will look to repeat the feat Saturday against a reeling Rangers team that has now dropped 10 consecutive games.
The host Astros have played mediocre ball for the past two weeks but still come into the weekend with a 3.5 game lead over the Oakland Athletics in the American League West race — and are again heavy MLB betting favorites for tonight's contest.
Here are our best free MLB picks and predictions for Rangers vs. Astros on Saturday, July 24, with first pitch set for 7:10 p.m. ET.
Rangers vs Astros game info
• Location: Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX
• Date: Saturday, July 24, 2021
• Time: 7:10 p.m. ET
• TV: ATT SportsNet-SW, Bally Sports Southwest
Rangers vs Astros odds
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Rangers vs Astros betting preview
Kyle Gibson (6-2, 2.86 ERA): Gibson was putting together one of the most surprising elite seasons of any pitcher before running into the Detroit Tigers, who battered him for 13 runs over 11 1-3 innings in consecutive starts to raise his ERA from 1.98 to 2.86. He might welcome a meeting with the Astros, against whom he has a 1.89 ERA in 19 innings this season.
Framber Valdez (5-2, 3.26 ERA): Valdez is also going through his roughest stretch of the season, as the 27-year-old has been tagged for 13 runs in 15 1-3 innings over his previous three starts — with an unsightly 15:10 K-to-BB ratio over that stretch. Surprisingly, Valdez has yet to face Texas in 2021 despite the fact this will be the 11th meeting between the teams.
Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.
Rangers: Ronald Guzman 1B (Out), Willie Calhoun OF (Out), Jose Trevino 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 nine consecutive road games. Find more MLB betting trends for Rangers vs. Astros.
Neither starting pitcher has performed all that well of late, so that matchup might be a wash. The challenge to handicapping this game, however, is deciding whether we're going to see the Gibson that looked mostly dominant over the first 3 1/2 months of the season... or the one that has a WHIP approaching 2.00 over his previous two outings.
If you want to keep it simple, focus on the offenses, which are headed in completely opposite directions. The Astros continue to lead the majors in batting average (.266), on-base percentage (.339), and runs scored (528) while ranking fifth in slugging (.435). The Rangers, on the other hand, have been outscored by an incredible 73-18 margin over the length of their 10-game losing skid.
The Rangers will eventually snap out of their doldrums — but we don't see it happening on the road against one of the most well-rounded teams in baseball. Take the Astros to extend their state rival's losing ways Saturday.
PREDICTION: Astros (-200)
Both teams were forced to go to their respective bullpens early in Friday's series curtain-raiser — and while seven relievers combined to throw 8 1-3 innings of scoreless ball, a repeat is highly unlikely given that both clubs rank at, or slightly below, the league average in bullpen ERA for the season.
And there's a real possibility both Houston and Texas might need to go to the bullpen a little earlier than they would like. Given how Gibson and Valdez have pitched of late, it's hard to have confidence in either starter at the moment.
These teams hit the over in just five innings on Friday. It might not happen as quickly in Saturday's rematch, but this feels like too low a number given the potential of the offenses (Houston's in particular) and the shakiness of the pitching.
PREDICTION: Over 8 (-110)
Rangers vs Astros betting card
- Astros (-200)
- Over 8 (-110)
Picks made on 7/XX/2021 at 9:39 a.m. ET
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