Major League Baseball’s opening day offers up just one game: the Texas Rangers at the Houston Astros. This will be Houston’s first contest as a member of the American League West, but don’t expect them to get off to an auspicious start. The Astros are simply undermanned, sporting a line-up that many suggest is minor league quality. Still, there is a good bet to be had in this match-up - on the unders.
While Minute Maid Park has a reputation as a hitters’ ballpark, it actually didn’t play that way in 2012. ESPN’s Park Factors system ranked it in the bottom third among run scoring stadiums.
Another reason to expect a low scoring game is that the Astros will start Bud Norris on the pitcher’s mound. While Norris was a horrendous 3-12 with a 6.94 ERA away from Houston in 2012, he was dominant at home, going 4-1 with a 1.71 ERA.
His opponent, Matt Harrison was strong on the road last term, putting up a 3.10 ERA. Though Harrison didn’t pitch well in his only previous start at Minute Maid, it was two years ago, when the Astros had a better line-up. As a result, decent pitching should rule the day.
Best bet: Under 8.5 runs at 1.85