Houston Astros vs. Cleveland Indians Pick 8/1/19
Houston Astros (69-40) vs. Cleveland Indians (63-44), 8/1/19
Time: 7:10 pm ET Thursday, August 1
Where: Progressive Field, Cleveland, OH
Listed Pitchers: Gerrit Cole (12-5, 2.94 ERA, 1.00 WHIP) vs. Danny Salazar (0-0, 0.00, 0.00)
TV: MLB, SportsNet Southwest, SportsTime Ohio
Moneyline: Astros -190/Indians +170 (WagerWeb)
After splitting the first two games of this three-game series the Astros and Indians meet for a rubber match Thursday evening at the Jake. Cleveland’s been lined as a home dog for each of those first two games, and it’s getting a big underdog price for this one. How are we playing this game with our free MLB pick?
MLB Betting Odds
Thursday’s MLB betting odds opened Houston and Cole at around -185 over Cleveland and Salazar, with an over/under of nine runs. Early betting action then bumped that line up to -190.
The Astros could also be found at around -120 giving the run and a half on the MLB run line.
Astros vs. Indians Set-Up
Houston took the opener of this series Tuesday night 2-0, winning as a -135 favorite on the MLB betting line with Justin Verlander. But Cleveland then took Wednesday’s game 10-4, cashing in as a +135 home dog.
The Astros now lead the season series with the Indians four games to two.
With Wednesday’s win, Cleveland is 13-4 over its last 17 games. At 63-44 overall the Indians trail division-leading Minnesota by three games in the AL Central, but they also lead the American League wild-card race by 2.5 games over second-place Tampa Bay.
Meanwhile, Wednesday’s loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Houston. At 69-40 overall the Astros lead the AL West by eight games over second-place Oakland, and they’re tied with the Yankees for the lead in the battle for the best record in the American League.
Thursday’s Starting Arms
Salazar will be making his first ML appearance since September of 2017 Thursday night. He’s been out of action since then recovering from shoulder surgery.
Salazar went 25-16 with a 3.63 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in 2015-16 combined. That ERA rose to 4.28 in 2017 and the WHIP to 1.34 before having surgery. He then missed all of 2018.
Earlier this summer Salazar posted a 2.60 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP through 17 1/3 innings of rehab ball down in the Minors.
This start will be Salazar’s first against Houston since May of 2017.
Cole, by our strict standards, is 17/23 on quality starts this season, working on a run of three in a row. Last Saturday he held St. Louis to one run and four hits through seven innings of an 8-2 Astros win. And over his last three starts, he’s allowed just three runs and 13 hits through 21 innings, with 29 strikeouts.
Houston is 16-7 with Cole this season, 3-0 over his last three starts.
Over his last three starts against Cleveland, two last year, including one in the playoffs, and one back in April of this season, Cole allowed six runs and ten hits through 21 innings, with 30 whiffs. Somehow the Astros lost two of those three games.
Thursday’s Batting Splits
Houston is batting .266/.338/.464 against right-handed pitching this season.
Cleveland is batting .250/.323/.434 against RH pitching this season. The Indians also made trade-deadline deals for Franmil Reyes (27 HR) and Yasiel Puig (23 HR), although their availability for this game is uncertain.
The Astros bullpen owns a 3.87 ERA this season and a 1.22 WHIP while allowing a .695 OPS.
The Indians pen owns an ML-best 3.19 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP while allowing a .697 OPS.
Both these units rank among the top handful of bullpens in Baseball.
- Unders are 58-46 in Astros games this season.
- Unders are 57-47 in Indians games this season.
- Unders are 31-24 in games played at Progressive Field this season.
- Unders are 3-1 in Astros-Indians games this season.
- Overs are 13-10 with Cole this season, although most of that has to do with great run support.
Free MLB Pick
Cole gets the obvious nod in this pitching match-up, and Houston owns the edge in the splits with the sticks. So we like the Astros here. We also like chasing better prices, especially with road favorites who we know will bat nine times. That said, we’ll play Houston against the run line.
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