MLB betting cheat sheet and odds: Houston, we have a problem

Our Covers MLB cheat sheet breaks down the best MLB betting notes so you can handicap every series like a pro this week, including a series between the pitching-weak Minnesota Twins and the struggling Houston Astros.

Houston, We Have a Problem

Just as the Astros seemed to be finding their way in the American League playoff race, they’ve hit a major pothole.

Houston has scored a paltry 17 runs over its last nine games, going 2-7 SU and 1-7-1 O/U over that span. The good news: an upcoming four-game set with the Twins could reverse both trends.

The Astros won two of three while going 2-0-1 O/U in its previous three-game set with the Twins, and while Minnesota has been scoring a ton of runs, it still has a 4.48 ERA since the break.

Sanchez’s Starter Swansong?

The Blue Jays have decided against shuffling ace starter Aaron Sanchez to the bullpen – at least for now. But the hard-throwing right-hander may be making his final start of the year Saturday afternoon against Houston.

Sanchez’s overall numbers look fantastic (11-2, 2.85 ERA, .289 opponent OBP), but he’s just a middle-of-the-pack starter in terms of units (-65).

Keep a close eye on Saturday’s total. While the Astros are having all sorts of trouble generating offense, Sanchez, despite going 6-16 O/U in 22 games season, has seen an average of 10.2 runs scored in six day starts this season – well up from a 7.75 runs-per-game total over his 16 night outings.

Thanks for Nothing

The National League Central is on pace to accomplish something that hasn’t been done in six years – and it isn’t good.

All five NL Central teams are at a negative unit return heading into the new week; the Pittsburgh Pirates lead the way at “only” 141 units lost, followed by the Chicago Cubs (-278), Milwaukee Brewers (-367), St. Louis Cardinals (-482) and Cincinnati Reds (-844).

If the numbers hold, the NL Central will be the first division to be without a positive money line since the American League West all finished with negative units won in 2010. It would be a surprising result for a division that, just last year, was considered among the strongest in baseball.

WAG of the Week

Lindsay Clubine is a former Deal or No Deal model and the wife of Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz.

Hitting Notes

* The Minnesota Twins have been a red-hot over play (more on that below), and they have a few of their hitters to thank – Joe Mauer chief among them. Maker’s best days are clearly behind him, but he still racked up five straight multi-hit games this week, driving in nine runs in six outings.

* Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado put on an incredible show in Sunday’s 10-2 drubbing of the Chicago White Sox, swatting three home runs and driving in seven. The Orioles improved to 14-8 SU and 10-11-1 O/U in games where Machado goes deep.

Pitching Notes

*Marlins ace Jose Fernandez may be one of the top under options in the league (8-13), but low totals have predictably bucked this trend. Over has played in five of Fernandez’s seven starts with a total below 7. Fernandez and the Marlins are facing a total of 6 1/2 entering Monday’s tilt with visiting San Francisco.

*Colorado starter Tyler Chatwood has been victimized by a bizarre trend that has seen him go 2-9 O/U in 11 home starts. Despite being supported by high-octane offence, Chatwood’s 11 home starts have seen the home team score a paltry average of 3.36 runs per game. Chatwood goes Tuesday against visiting Texas.

Totals Trend

The Twins are the hottest totals play right now, racking up nine consecutive overs. They’re an impressive 6-3 SU over that span, and will look to add to that win total against the Astros this week.


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