The Houston Astros will try to win a second straight game at home when they host the Chicago White Sox in the third game of their opening series on Saturday afternoon.
The White Sox (1-1) opened the season with a 3-2 victory over the Astros (1-1). Houston responded on Friday with a 6-3 win that saw Kyle Tucker hit his first home run of the year.
Saturday’s game features another quality pitching matchup, as Lucas Giolito takes the mound against Jose Urquidy. We’ll break down who has the edge in our free MLB picks and predictions for White Sox vs. Astros on April 1.
White Sox vs Astros odds
White Sox vs Astros predictions
Even after the Astros had a poor offensive showing on Opening Day, it was hard to imagine their bats would stay quiet for long. Sure enough, the defending World Series champions broke out for six runs on seven hits on Friday, with most of their big names contributing to the win.
Kyle Tucker had the only home run for Houston, but it was Yordan Alvarez who struck the biggest blow with a bases-clearing double in the seventh inning that gave his team the lead for good. The Astros expect Avarez, Tucker, Alex Bregman, and others to keep the offense humming while they wait for Jose Altuve to return from his World Baseball Classic injury.
They also expect to get good pitching up and down their rotation. So far, that has gone to plan. Cristian Javier was only okay on Opening Day, but Framber Valdez provided five scoreless innings yesterday. On Friday, Houtson hands the ball over to right-hander Jose Urquidy, who will look to build on the success he had throughout most of the 2022 season.
Urquidy went 13-8 with a 3.94 ERA and a 1.168 WHIP last season, working almost exclusively as a starter. However, he faded down the stretch, posting a 5.01 ERA in September. That led Houston to use him only out of the bullpen — and only once in that role — during the postseason.
Still, Urquidy has been a quality starter for the Astros for the past two seasons, and he should continue in that capacity in 2023. He was also effective in his one start against Chicago last season, going 7.2 innings and giving up just one run on six hits.
Urquidy will face off against Lucas Giolito, who had a difficult season in 2022. Giolito had received at least some Cy Young consideration in each of the previous three seasons, but went 11-9 with a 4.90 ERA in 2022. That marked a 1.37 run jump in his ERA, while his WHIP rose to 1.435 after being at 1.1 or lower in each of the previous three seasons.
Houston had no problem taking advantage of those struggles last year. In two starts against the Astros, Giolito went just eight total innings, giving up 15 runs and losing both games.
This Houston lineup should have no trouble continuing that success against Giolito at home on Saturday. I’m taking the Astros on the run line to win by at least a couple runs behind Urquidy.
My best bet: Astros -1.5 (+160 at PointsBet)
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White Sox vs Astros moneyline analysis
Houston opened today’s game as a -131 favorite over Chicago. The line has shifted ever so slightly towards the White Sox, though most books still have the Astros at around -130 on the moneyline.
Houston, of course, is coming off a World Series-winning campaign in which it went 106-56. However, the White Sox gave the Astros some trouble in their limited meetings last year, with the Astros only winning four of the seven. That’s despite a middling 2022 for Chicago, which ended up just 81-81 and out of the playoff race.
Most analysts are expecting more of the same from both teams this year. FanGraphs gives the Astros a 78% chance of making the playoffs and an 8.9% shot at repeating as World Series champions, while projecting the White Sox to win just 80 games on the year.
Based on what we saw last year, this should be a favorable pitching matchup for the Astros as well, though we shouldn’t dismiss Giolito’s chances of having a bounce-back season. Still, with Houston at home behind a solid starter and with a powerful lineup even without Altuve available, they are the clear favorites in this matchup. I’m happy to back Houston on either the moneyline or the run line tonight.
White Sox vs Astros Over/Under analysis
The total for today’s game opened at 8.5 runs. That Over/Under has held pretty steady as of Saturday morning, with most books favoring the Under just slightly. A typical line has the Over at -105 with the Under fetching -115.
Houston was a solid offensive team last season, but might not have produced quite as much as you think. The Astros generated 4.55 runs per game, good for eighth in the majors. Meanwhile, the White Sox came in right around league average at 4.23 runs per game.
Those numbers would have us leaning slightly towards the Over. However, scoring is always depressed slightly in April, and even with new rules that promise a slight bump in run production, we shouldn’t expect a dramatic change in that trend for 2023.
This game also features two pitchers who at least have the capability of pitching well on any given day, even if Giolito didn’t really live up to that reputation last season. Still, the White Sox starter has been better throughout most of his career, even if the Astros have often given him trouble.
Overall, I think this game leans slightly towards the Under based on the pitching matchup. Giolito’s struggles against Houston last year concern me, but Urquidy should be able to keep the Chicago bats quiet enough to give this game a chance of coming in below a relatively high number.
White Sox vs Astros game info
|Location:||Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX|
|Date:||Saturday, April 1, 2023|
|First pitch:||2:10 p.m. ET|
|TV:||NBCS-CHI, ATTSN Southwest|
White Sox vs Astros betting preview
Lucas Giolito (0-0, 0.00 ERA): It’s hard to say exactly what went wrong for Giolito last season. While he posted an 11-9 record for the second straight year, he gave up more hits and walks than he had since his rookie year back in 2016 with the Washington Nationals. The White Sox will be counting on their veteran to get back in the All-Star form he enjoyed in 2019 if they want to make a postseason run this season.
Jose Urquidy (0-0, 0.00 ERA): The 27-year-old Urquidy had a second straight strong year as a back-of-the-rotation starter for the Astros in 2023. He posted a career-high in innings pitched with 164.1, though his late-season struggles saw his FIP rise to 4.60. Urquidy also posted career highs in WHIP (still a solid 1.168) and home runs allowed per nine innings (1.6). However, his crash may have been due to fatigue, and the Astros are counting on Urquidy to be back in form to start the 2023 season.
Trend to know
The Astros are 45-17 in their last 62 home games. Find more MLB betting trends for White Sox vs. Astros