Thursday, we joked that with the Astros having the night off. there might not be a good over play out there. Well, the Astros are back in action again, and yes, that means there's a good over play ready for the taking.
Houston takes their highly inflammable team ERA -- well over 5.00 (the only team in the Majors that can say that) -- into tonight's game with one of its guiltiest parties taking the hill. Eric Bedard has an 0-2 mark with an ERA of 6.67 and will try to improve on that tonight in the Steel City. One of the problems with the Astros (see last night) is even when they aren't allowing earned runs, they still are allowing runs (ie- giving up many thate are unearned). And to the over player, we don't care if the runs are earned or not; as long as they happen, we are happy and our pockets are full. And with Bovada's total sitting at 7½, there's a pretty good chance over players can fill them again.
There's plenty to back up the playing the over, as it's hit in 27 of Houston's 42 games thusfar. Over players have also hit in 13 of the last 17 Astro games. Also, in this match-up runs can be plentiful. As you can see by using the Bovada data tool on the Home page, the over in this series has hit in 7 of the last 10, including two games where 14 runs were scored.
If the Houston bullpen is called upon to relieve Bedard (provided the game hasn't already gone over), don't expect things to get much better. The Houston pen has a collective ERA of 4.99 and they've yielded a whopping 30 home runs.
Pirates starter AJ Burnet (3-4; 2.73) does create a little concern as he's been solid but just not getting a lot of run support. That shouldn't be a problem tonight, though. The Pirates' Sterling Marte is hitting well over .400 against lefties this season, while Gabby Sanchez boasts a .344 mark against southpaws. The Pirates as a team are also hitting better against lefties as of late, with an average hovering around .300 over the last three weeks.
Betting against Houston is always a safe play, but usually will come at a high price (like Bovada's -270 for Pirate players tonight). So we will go with the other usually safe play that's less expensive: the Astros getting poor pitching and bad defense. A combination that once again will lead to this one going over, like so many other Astros games already.
My pick: Astros vs Pirates Over 7.5
Result ... Houston 4 Pittsburgh 2 (10) run total = 6 under covers