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May 12, 2016

Take Boston Red Sox (-142) on the ML against Houston Astros risking 4.26% to win 3%.
(Price and Keuchel must start for wager to have action)

Former Cy Young winners, David Price and Dallas Keuchel get the ball from their respective managers tonight but we don't expect a pitchers duel. Both have started the season poorly by their standards but it is David Price that is more likely to snap out of his slump in our opinion tonight. Not only that, even if he doesn't, the Red Sox offense gives Boston a much better chance of securing the 'W' than the Houston bats. David Price hasn't actually pitched as badly as his current ERA suggests. His FIP (fielding independent pitching) metric is much lower and more indicative of his efforts. He's had some bad luck as he's hardly been able to strand runners on base. His current strand rate of just 49% is bound to rise and should lower his ERA which is at a historically high rate right now. Look for the defense to help him out more than they have in his previous starts this season.

The Red Sox became the first team since the 1999 Cleveland Indians to score 13+ runs in 3 consecutive games! They swept another AL West team, Oakland A's and are coming into this opener firing on all cylinders. Nearly everyone is seeing the ball well and that doesn't bode well for Keuchel, who's been really struggling. The Houston ace has walked too many batters this season and that is a recipe for disaster against a Boston offense that has been slugging with runners in scoring position. Opponents have a .351 batting average against Keuchel in his last 4 starters, a span which has seen him allow 34 hits in less than 24 innings! It's worth noting that the Red Sox have not only been crushing the ball but they've done so against left-handed starters in their last two games. Therefore facing another lefty in Keuchel won't be as challenging as it normally would be.

The Houston Astros needed 16 innings to take care of the Tribe at home. A game that started yesterday afternoon took over 5 hours to be completed as AJ Hinch's side finally took advantage of one its many opportunities to seal the deal. And yet playing in a game like that is exhausting and has consequences. The 'Stros had to use their entire bullpen, leaving them with very few fresh arms for this contest. For a set of relievers that were already struggling, especially on the road and lacking quality this season, the task got even more daunting as they now have to face the best offense in the Majors at less than 100%! The fact that there was even travel involved (flight from Houston to Boston) after that lengthy game while the Red Sox didn't have to go anywhere and are once again playing at Fenway Park, gives the home side another edge.

Erik Kratz will once again be the backstop for Houston as their #1 catcher, Jason Castro remains on the paternity list. Not only is Castro a much bigger offensive threat than the veteran Kratz is but his absence may hurt the chances of a quality start by Dallas Keuchel as well. The Red Sox on the other hand have everyone available and after 3 blowout wins over the Athletics, they have the best arms in their bullpen fresh and ready to be called into action. This is a team that knows how to 'go yard' as well as play small ball given that they have stolen 27 bags while being caught only twice all season! The Red Sox simply have too many advantages in this matchup and should have been priced as heavy favorites, in the -180 range in our opinion. This is a cheap price to lay with a team that owns the edge nearly everywhere on the diamond.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Astros are just 2-11 after a win this season!
  • Red Sox rank #1 in MLB in batting average and runs scored!
  • Astros have lost 11 of 15 road games this season.
  • Astros are just 1-5 against left-handed starters this season!

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