MLB

Astros-Rangers Total Is Worth A Look

The Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers open the second half of the season on Thursday night. What's the right MLB pick?

Houston Astros (57-33) vs. Texas Rangers (48-42)

Thursday, July 11 at 8:00 PM ET

Globe Life Park in Arlington

Coverage: ESPN

33°

Mostly clear

Winds from the NNE 13 km/h

The Astros are -123 favorites and according to the computer projections at FiveThirtyEight, they win this game 50 percent of the time, which gives us a +100 line using an odds converter, so I'm not taking a side here.

Jazz Sports set the total for this game at 11 and TeamRankings gives the Under a 50.6 percent likelihood. FiveThirtyEight doesn't project scores but Jeff Sagarin at USA Today assigns each team an offensive and defensive rating so let's interpret those numbers.

Here's what Sagarin has for these two teams:

Astros: 3.21 OFF, 2.91 DEF

Rangers: 3.37 OFF, 3.27 DEF

Now we multiply one team's offense with the other's defense to get the first team's projected score:

Astros: 10.50

Rangers: 9.81

Now we subtract each number by the provided constant, which is 5.80 in this case.

Astros: 4.70

Rangers: 4.01

This gives us a combined score of 8.71 runs, so it seems like we're supposed to play the Under in this game and it does make sense with this inflated total. Sure, Framber Valdez is just 1-3 with a 5.09 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP in eight road games (one start) and he's just 1-2 with a 9.49 ERA and a 1.82 WHIP in his last three starts but Lance Lynn can help make this game go Under.

Lynn is 4-0 with a 2.83 ERA and an 0.94 WHIP in his last five starts, he's 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP in eight career games (seven starts) against the Astros and their current roster is just 12-for-59 (.203) against him.

The MLB Trends also support our calculations, as the Under is:

4-0 in Houston's last four games after allowing five runs or more in their previous game

19-7 in Texas' last 26 games after a win

12-5-1 in Texas' last 18 games when their opponent scores five runs or more in their previous game

7-2 in Lynn's last nine starts overall

MLB Pick: Under 11 (-105) at Jazz Sports

Check odds here: http://bit.ly/jazzonaff

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