Houston is hot, Kansas City is not. How are we playing Friday night’s Astros-Royals battle in KC with our free MLB picks? MLB Betting Preview and Free MLB Picks: Astros at Royals.
Game 1 of a three-game series … Friday’s MLB betting lines opened Houston at around -195, then dropped it about a nickel, to the -190 range … this is the first encounter between these recent World Series champions this season … last year the Astros won the World Series but Kansas City won this season series four games to three … overs went 4-2-1 … Houston just swept a three-game series in Oakland this week, finishing it off with a 7-3 victory Thursday … so the Astros carry an eight-game winning streak into this series … they’ve also played four overs in a row, tallying 34 runs in the process … the Royals just got swept two games at home by Cincinnati, falling Wednesday 7-0 … so KC has lost nine of its last 10 … it’s also played seven unders in its last eight games, because it’s scored a total of 11 runs during that span.
At 45-25 Houston leads the AL West by a half-game over second-place Seattle. Meanwhile, the 22-46 Royals are already playing out the string on a lost season.
Junis (5-6, 4.05), by our strict standards, is 6/13 on quality starts this year, but only one for his last six … last Friday he gave up six runs and three home runs in 5 1/3 innings against Oakland, and over those last six starts he’s allowed 20 runs through 29 innings … Kansas City is actually 7-6 with Junis this season, unders 7-5 … in one career start against the Astros, last June, Junis gave up seven runs – four earned – through 3 2/3 innings, although the Royals eventually won that game 9-7 … Morton (7-1, 2.82) is 8/13 on QS but 0 for his last three … last Saturday he gave up two runs – one earned – , walked six and hit four guys in 3 2/3 innings against Texas … and over his last three starts he’s allowed 10 ER through 15 innings … Houston is 8-5 with Morton this year, unders 7-6 … Morton last started against Kansas City three years ago, when he was with Pittsburgh .. and that is already a long time ago.
The Houston bullpen ranks 4th in the Majors this year with a 2.91 ERA and 1st with a 1.08 WHIP … the KC pen ranks dead last – 30th – in ERA at 5.63 and 28th in WHIP at 1.49 … Astros hitters rank 6th against right-handed pitching with a .257 team batting average, 3rd with a .330 team OBP and 8th with a .422 team slugging percentage… the Royals rank 17th against RH pitching with a .245 BA, 24th with a .305 OBP and 27th with a .371 slugging.
Houston is 29-15 against RH starters this year … Kansas City is a miserable 12-34 against righties.
Free MLB Pick: Astros -1.5 (-130) at BetOnline