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Astros @ Rangers Predictions & Moneyline Picks - May 21

Can Jose Altuve help lift the Astros past the Rangers tonight?
Can Jose Altuve help lift the Astros past the Rangers tonight?
By Neil Monnery

A rookie pitcher making his first start in the Big Leagues up against a veteran with eight Quality Starts on the bounce and yet the rookie's team are listed as favorites. Neil Monnery is dubious...

Just how can a team (albeit a good one) go on the road with a rookie pitcher yet to throw a pitch in the Big Leagues be a one run favorite against a below-average team with a good man on the mound?

Sometimes I struggle wondering if I’m watching the same sport as the Sportsbooks but then I remember they have an awful lot of data to pour through when setting lines. What they don’t know much about is how a rookie pitcher will do. That is a huge unknown at this level, so to tab the Astros as the betting choice against the Rangers tonight does surprise me somewhat. When I say that, what I really mean is it really shocks me.

Tyler Ivey is the #9 overall prospect in the Astros organization. He has appeared in two games at AAA level so far this year and has a 7.11 ERA through six-and-a-third innings. Not exactly the record of a guy knocking hard on the door to get his promotion. What he does have in his favor is the fact Texas strikeout at a furious pace and he’s notched up a career k rate in the minor leagues of 29.7% of his outs coming via the strikeout.

Since an opening day shellacking at the hands of the Kansas City Royals - where Kyle Gibson gave up five earned in just a third of an inning - he’s not once not recorded a Quality Start. His ERA following that opening day was all the way up at 135.00 but coming into this one he’s 3-0 with a 2.32ERA. Not too shabby at all.

I get that Texas have won just once in their past ten games - including being swept by these Astros just last weekend in a four-game set but how often do you get a pitcher with a recent record like Kyle Gibson on the mound with his team as the underdogs against an unknown rookie? Very rarely.

Prop wise, If you can find a line on Trevor Ivey and how many he'll strikeout then anything over 4.5 should be a solid play.

Pick: I like Texas on the Moneyline at +110 - which is the price across the Sportsbook as of first-thing Friday morning.

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