Tampa Bay Rays vs. Houston Astros Pick 10/5/19

by | Oct 5, 2019 | mlb

Tampa Bay Rays (96-66) vs. Houston Astros (107-55), 10/5/19
Time: 9:07 pm ET Saturday, Oct. 5
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX
Listed Pitchers: Blake Snell (6-8, 4.29 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) vs. Gerrit Cole (20-5, 2.50, 0.89)
TV: FS 1

Moneyline: Astros -305/Rays +270
Over/Under: 7.5

The Houston Astros grabbed Game 1 of this best-of-five American League divisional-round playoff series with the Tampa Bay Rays Friday afternoon, and shoot to go up 2-0 when the teams meet for Game 2 in H-Town Saturday night. Houston is a heavy betting favorite for Game 2, throwing a guy who might win the AL Cy Young Award. How are we playing this game with our free MLB pick?

Game 2 Betting Odds

MLB’s playoff betting odds for Game 2 opened Houston and Cole at around -285 over Tampa and Snell, with an over/under of 7.5. Early betting action then bounced the Astros to -305.

Houston could also be found giving around -145 minus the run and a half on the MLB run line.

Rays vs. Astros Game 2 Set-Up

Houston, favored by upwards of -250 with Justin Verlander, took the opener of this series Friday 6-2. The Astros broke a scoreless tie on Jose Altuve’s two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning, tacked on two more runs before the inning was over, then added a pair in the seventh and hung on from there.

Houston also covered against the run line at a price of around -100.

Friday’s game played over a total of 7.5 when Tampa scored two meaningless runs in the top of the eighth.

With Friday’s win, the Astros are 13-2 over their last 15 games.

With Friday’s loss, the Rays are 1-3 over their last four games.

Houston finished 11 games ahead of Tampa in the American League standings this season, but the Rays took the season series from the Astros four games to three.

Game 2 Starting Arms

Cole, by our strict standards, finished 25/33 on quality starts this season and five for his last six. Last Sunday, he held the Angels to one run and four hits through five innings, with ten strikeouts, in an 8-5 Houston win. And over his last six starts, he allowed just six runs – five earned - and 20 hits through 42 innings, with 74 whiffs against only seven walks!

On the season, the Astros finished 26-7 with Cole, 13-0 over his last 13 starts!

Over four career starts against Tampa, two this season and two last season, Cole allowed 10 ER and 19 hits through 25 2/3 innings, with 37 strikeouts. Thanks to some iffy run support, Houston only split those four games.

Lefty Snell finished 10/23 on quality starts this year, 0 for three since doing two months on the DL. But he’s basically been used as an opener over his last three outings, throwing a couple of innings before turning things over to the bullpen. Most recently, last Sunday, Snell allowed two runs on three hits and two walks through 2 1/3 innings of an 8-3 Rays loss to Toronto. And over his last three outings, he’s allowed three runs on five hits and five walks through six total innings.

Tampa finished 12-11 with Snell this year, 1-2 over his last three starts.

This will be Snell’s first-ever playoff appearance.

Over his last three starts against Houston, one this year and two last year, Snell allowed seven runs and 13 hits, including four homers, through 20 1/3 innings. The Rays won two of those three games.

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Game 2 Batting Splits

Tampa Bay batted .253/.325/.436 against right-handed pitching this season.
Houston batted .274/.362/.505 against left-handed pitching this season. Numbers like those are why we rank this lineup among the top two or three in Baseball in this split.

The Bullpens

The Rays bullpen posted a Major League-low 3.66 ERA this season and a 1.20 WHIP while holding opponents to a .694 OPS. Friday, the Tampa pen gave up four runs – two earned – and five hits through 3 2/3 innings of work.

The Astros bullpen put up a 3.75 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP this year while also holding foes to a .694 OPS. Friday Houston relievers combined to allowed two runs and four hits through two innings.

We rank both these units among the top three or four bullpens in Baseball this season.

MLB Betting Trends

  • Tampa Bay finished 48-33 on the road this season, second-best in the Majors.
  • Tampa Bay played 62-41 against right-handed starters this season.
  • Houston finished an ML-best 60-21 at home this season.
  • Houston played 39-11 against left-handed starters this season.

Totals Report

  • Overs played 77-75 in Rays games this season.
  • Unders played 84-71 in Astros games this season.
  • Unders played 39-37 in games played at Minute Maid Park this season.
  • Overs played a combined 29-24 with Cole and Snell this season.
  • Unders played 4-3 in Rays-Astros games this season.

Free MLB Pick

Cole owns a considerable advantage in the pitching match-up, and Houston holds a significant edge with the sticks, so our pick on this game is rather obvious. But that price is way too high for a single baseball game. So we’ll play the Astros against the run line.