The Baltimore Orioles will travel to face the Houston Astros on Monday, starting a three-game series and a potential preview of a postseason matchup. The possibility of these teams meeting in October will have MLB betting online more than interested in this series.
The Orioles clinched a playoff spot over the weekend, ending a six-year drought. They now have the second-best odds (+325) to win the American League. The team with the best odds, +250, are the reigning World Series Champions, the Astros, still yet to secure a spot in the playoffs and in the middle of an intense division race.
John Means (0-1, 5.40 ERA) vs Justin Verlander (11-8, 3.39)
The starting pitching in this matchup can help lean best bets MLB toward the Astros. They will have a reliable pitcher taking the mound Means will be making only his second start this season.
After two appearances last season, Means required Tommy John surgery and did not make his return to the big leagues until last week. It was a solid game back for the starter, throwing 75 pitches through five innings. He had one strikeout while allowing three runs and two homers.
On the other hand, Justin Verlander will throw out the first pitch for the Astros. He dominated his first month back in Houston, posting a 2.79 ERA in August, but has struggled in September. In two of his three starts this month, Verlander has allowed at least five runs, including his last outing. He pitched seven innings, striking out seven, but did allow five runs, eight hits and two homers.
Orioles Clinch Playoffs, Still Battling for Division
In Baltimore’s last series, it had a massive opportunity to increase its lead in the AL East Division. The Orioles faced the Tampa Bay Rays in a four-game series, entering with a two-game lead over them. They split the series, which did secure October baseball in Baltimore but kept the Rays in the race for the division title.
— The Athletic MLB (@TheAthleticMLB) September 17, 2023
A big reason why MLB lines have the Orioles with the second-best odds to win the AL is because if the playoffs started today, they would have the best record and secure the top seed. However, they have recently struggled.
The Orioles have had one of the best MLB starting lineups, but it has fallen off recently. They have the fourth-worst batting average and have scored the eighth-fewest runs in the last seven days. Facing Verlander in the opening game against the Astros will not help.
Astros Lose Back-to-Back Series
After a difficult first half of the season for the Astros, with the team dealing with injuries and possibly a World Series letdown, MLB odds are returning to the projected norm again. Houston is back on top of the AL West – barely. The Astros have a 1.5-game lead over the Texas Rangers and two over the Seattle Mariners.
The race for the AL West title might come down to the wire, and while the Astros are favored to win, it’s not a guarantee. They had a chance to create some separation but squandered it, losing two back-to-back series against the worst teams in baseball, the Kansas City Royals and the Oakland Athletics.
Houston lost both series 2-1, avoiding a sweep in the final game. That is not exactly something that builds confidence for MLB picks.
Orioles vs Astros Best Bets
Strangely, both teams have the best odds in the AL to reach the World Series, but each has struggled recently. The Astros have squandered a massive opportunity to create a lead in the AL West while the Orioles were unable to pad their lead in the AL East over the weekend.
Still, the Astros have the starting pitching advantage in this game with Verlander facing a slumping lineup. That should be enough to get them a win, especially with Houston’s lineup putting up runs in the final two games against the Royals.
MLB Best Bet: Houston Astros -182
Orioles vs Astros Game Information
• Game: Orioles (93-56) vs Astros (84-66)
• Location: Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX
• Day/Time: Monday, Sept. 18, 8:10 p.m. ET
• Orioles vs Astros Live Stream: MLB.tv