By Will Hill
FOX Sports MLB Betting Analyst
Houston, we have a series.
The Astros won Game 3 of the ALCS in Texas 8-5 and now have a chance to even the series Thursday night in Game 4 at 8 p.m. ET live on FS1.
Max Scherzer’s first outing in a month was a rocky one. After a clean first inning, he gave up five runs in four innings, as the Rangers lost for the first time this postseason. Considering how well the Rangers were playing without him on the mound, some might question the decision to play Scherzer after such a long layoff.
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However, I understand the hesitance to say “no” to a pitcher with Scherzer’s résumé when he assures everyone he’s fully healthy, especially when the other options are Dane Dunning and Andrew Heaney — serviceable arms certainly, but they’re not future Hall of Famers.
Regardless, it was a tough call and the Rangers can still retake command of this series with a win in Game 4.
Jose Urquidy will start on the mound for the Astros, while the Rangers counter with the aforementioned Heaney. The Rangers are a small -130 favorite (meaning a $13 bet wins back $10) and the Over/Under for runs scored is the highest it’s been all series at 9.5.
Let’s find a bet for Game 4.
Runs, Runs, Runs
The first thing to expect are runs and lots of them.
Houston and Texas met 13 times this season and in eight of those 13 games, double-digit runs were scored. In fact, the Astros scored double-digits by themselves in five of the 13 meetings. Needless to say, the games between these two tend to be high-scoring, with the regular-season matchups yielding 167 total runs, an average of nearly 13 runs per game.
We didn’t see that explosiveness in Game 1 — a 2-0 final — but that was after a fairly long layoff between the ALDS and ALCS for both. A bit of rust was inevitable, in addition to the fact that each team was starting its No. 1 pitcher.
‘MLB on FOX’ crew recap Astros’ Game 3 win over Rangers in ALCS Now, it’s a different story. Since we are at the back of the rotations, both teams are sending their No. 4 starter to the bump. The offenses are in more of a rhythm, playing now for the fourth time in five days.
Urquidy had a 5.29 ERA this season, while Heaney gave up 23 home runs on the year. These pitchers will have a hard time keeping the base paths empty.
We’ve seen the fireworks between these two during the regular season. Look for another high-scoring affair in Game 4.
PICK: Over 9.5 runs scored by both teams combined
Will Hill, a contributor on the Bear’s Bets Podcast, has been betting on sports for over a decade. He is a betting analyst who has been a host on VSiN, as well as the Goldboys Network.
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