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MLB Betting – Houston Astros 2020 Season Preview

Written by:
Phil Simon
Published on:
Mar/27/2020


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Three consecutive AL West titles with more than 100 wins in each campaign, two trips to the World Series and one championship have the Houston Astros as the team to beat again in 2020. However, the club will be known for its elaborate sign-stealing scandal and every move will be questioned for the near future. In order to try and distance themselves from the cheating the club turned to Dusty Baker. Despite the loss of Gerritt Cole to free agency, the Astros are a negative odds favorite to win their division again while having the third best odds to win their second World Series in four years.

2020 Houston Astros At A Glance

Houston Astros World Series Odds +870
Houston Astros AL Pennant Odds +430
Houston Astros AL West Odds -184

2020 Houston Astros Overview

It’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of time for the organization to overcome the negativity from its cheating scandal. No players were disciplined for their involvement but A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow were fired as the club tried to divert its course. Baker was brought in to steer the team through this dark time. In his 20-plus years Baker amassed 1,863 victories, but he hasn’t been on the bench since winning 97 games with the Nationals in 2017.

Baker won’t have much to do with a lineup that won 311 games over the last three years returning virtually intact. The biggest loss comes on the hill. Cole opted for a boat load of money to wear Yankee pinstripes, but the cupboard is far from bare. Zack Greinke will be around for an entire season and Lance McCullers Jr. is back after Tommy John surgery.

The Astros will have a bigger target on their backs. Not only are they the defending AL champs, they are also the most hated team in baseball and probably all of sports. There’s no doubt they remain a talented bunch, but how they respond to their past misdeeds will eventually determine their 2020 season.

Pitching

The 20 wins and 2.64 ERA supplied by Cole last season helped the Astros to the second-best ERA in the AL. The staff is likely to see some regression in 2020, but there are potent arms ready to fill the slot. The delayed start to the season will benefit Justin Verlander as he recovers from injury. A healthy Verlander is dangerous, even at 36.

Last season Verlander won his second Cy Young going 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA and 300 strikeouts in 223 innings. He and Cole combined to go 41-11. Verlander has defied Father Time but there might be some dropoff in 2020. Wade Miley, who won 14 games last season, also departed. Greinke went 8-1 in 10 starts after his acquisition and slots in as the No. 2 starter.

The middle of the rotation will be bolstered by a successful return from McCullers. The hard throwing righty missed all last season after going 10-6 with a 3.86 ERA in 2018. Jose Urquidy was impressive in a brief stint last season and will have every opportunity to claim the No. 4 starter. Brad Peacock and Framber Valdez fill out the bottom of the rotation. They don’t have to be great since the Astros are likely to put up a bunch of runs.

Roberto Osuna converted 38 of 44 save chances with a 0.88 WHIP over 65 innings to anchor the back end of the pen. The loss of setup man Will Harris hurts but Ryan Pressly is ready for a bigger role. Joe Smith compiled a 1.80 ERA as another formidable late-inning arm.

Hitting

There was no evidence the Astros stole signs last season and they still had one of the best offensive teams. They led the Majors in average, slugging percentage and OBP, and were third in runs and home runs. They didn’t even get a full season from Carlos Correa making the accomplishment that much more impressive. Correa hit .279 with 21 homers in only 75 games.

Jose Altuve didn’t hit .300, but he came close. He made up for his .298 average by socking a career-best 31 homers. Yuli Gurriel also hit .298 with 31 home runs adding 104 RBIs. Alex Bregman had a monster campaign with 41 homers, 119 RBIs and a .296 average. The four infielders accounted for 124 of the teams 288 homers.

Outfielders Michael Brantley, George Springer and Josh Reddick all had strong seasons. Reddick is the weak link and he’s keeping the spot warm for prospect Kyle Tucker. Springer enjoyed his finest season with a .292 average and 39 homers. A full season from Yordan Alvarez should yield big numbers. He hit .313 with 27 homers and a 1.067 OPS in 87 games.

2020 Houston Astros Season Pick

Love ‘em or hate ‘em the Astros are a good team. They have three terrific starters, a serviceable bullpen with an electric closer, and one of the best lineups in the bigs. There is no reason why they shouldn’t win the AL West again and have another deep postseason run.

Access live betting lines from your mobile device at BookMaker sportsbook! Real-time spreads, totals, props and money line are all available so start betting with BookMaker today.

- Phil Simon, Gambling911.com

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