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Rangers vs Astros Predictions | ALCS Game 7

Frank AmmiranteSenior Sports Writer
@FAmmiranteTFJ
Last Updated: Oct 24, 2023

The Rangers won 9-2 in Game 6 to force a decisive Game 7, led by another strong performance by Nathan Eovaldi and capped off by a grand slam from Adolis García in the ninth inning.

We’ve got an interesting pitching matchup tonight between Max Scherzer and Cristian Javier.

Let’s dive into the best bets for Game 7 of the ALCS between Texas and Houston.

Rangers vs Astros Game 7 Prediction

Rangers 4, Astros 2

Scherzer struggled in his last outing versus the Astros in Game 3, but that was his first start since September 12, so we had to expect some rust.

You have to like a bounce-back from the future Hall of Famer in this massive spot, in which the winner goes to the World Series and the loser goes home.

While Javier has been one of the best pitchers in the playoffs, registering a 1.69 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in 10.2 innings, the Astros will be without their best reliever in Bryan Abreu, who is serving the first of his two-game suspension.

That’s a major blow to Houston’s bullpen in such a big game.

I picked the Rangers to win this series, so I’m not backing down from that one.

Rangers vs Astros Game 7 Best Bet

Rangers ML (+105)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

In addition to a Scherzer bounce-back along with the Rangers’ bullpen advantage, it’s also worth noting that this series could have already been wrapped up were it not for a dramatic three-run homer from Jose Altuve to erase a 4-2 deficit in the ninth inning in Game 5.

You can make the argument that Texas has been the better team throughout this series.

In a pressure-filled atmosphere like a Game 7 of the ALCS, I prefer to roll with the pitcher with a lot of experience in big moments, which gives Scherzer the edge over Javier.

Look for the Rangers to get it done in our MLB Play of the Day.

Rangers vs Astros Game 7 Props

Cristian Javier: Under 4.5 Strikeouts (-130)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

Javier was only able to rack up three strikeouts in 5.2 innings against the Rangers in Game 3, so getting the Under at 4.5 looks appealing.

Add in the fact that Astros manager Dusty Baker is likely to limit Javier’s workload in this elimination game and you have an appealing wager.

There’s a good chance that if Javier runs into trouble in the second time through the order, Baker may consider going to his bullpen.

Ride with Javier to go Under 4.5 strikeouts in our prop play of the day.

MLB Divisional Series Props

Previously: Rangers vs Astros Game 6 Prediction

Rangers 5, Astros 2

Eovaldi has pitched like an ace during these playoffs, allowing five runs on 16 hits in 19.2 innings, along with only one walk and 24 strikeouts.

Valdez has been the polar opposite, giving up nine runs on 14 hits in only seven innings across two outings.

Not only does Texas have the pitching advantage, but Astros’ top reliever Bryan Abreu has been suspended, which is a major blow to their bullpen.

Look for the Rangers to force a Game 7 with a win here.

Rangers vs Astros Game 6 Best Bet

Rangers ML (+105)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

You can make a legitimate argument that the Rangers have a significant pitching advantage with Eovaldi over Valdez here.

I’ve outlined Eovaldi’s dominance and Valdez’s struggles in the postseason, but what’s noteworthy is that the Astros’ lefty really hasn’t been himself for a while.

In Valdez’s last 13 starts, he put up a 4.46 ERA (4.33 SIERA) and 1.20 WHIP with a 21.1 K% and 8.6 BB% in 80.2 innings. That’s a major difference from his previous 20 outings, where he registered a 3.29 ERA (3.48 SIERA) and 1.14 WHIP with a 26.0 K% and 6.2 BB% in 126 innings.

Rangers vs Astros Game 6 Props

Nathan Eovaldi: Under 1.5 Walks (-110)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

Eovaldi has displayed pinpoint control throughout the playoffs, giving up only one walk in 19.2 innings.

During this stretch, the Rangers’ veteran has put up a 28.2 Ball%, which is George Kirby-esque.

Despite this elite control, we’re getting Eovaldi at only (-110) odds on Under 1.5 walks.

It also helps that with the Rangers facing elimination, we could see Bruce Bochy go to the bullpen at the first sign of trouble.

Ride with Eovaldi to go Under 1.5 walks in our prop play of the day.

Previously: Astros vs Rangers Game 5 Prediction

Rangers 4, Astros 3

Verlander has performed well in the playoffs so far, allowing only two runs in 12.2 innings in his two outings.

Having said that, Montgomery still gives the Rangers the pitching advantage here, which speaks to how good the lefty has been since arriving in Texas.

In 14 starts with the Rangers, Montgomery has registered a 2.65 ERA and 1.13 WHIP across 85 innings.

Simply put, the former Cardinals starter has been the best pitcher in this Rangers rotation.

Look for a strong outing here as Texas tries to avoid losing its third straight game at home.

Astros vs Rangers Game 5 Best Bet

Rangers ML (-115)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

Despite having a pitching advantage, the Rangers come at a reasonable price of (-115) odds.

I’m betting that Montgomery provides Texas with a dominant outing here, which should be enough to secure the victory.

It’s always tough for a team to win three road games in a row in the playoffs, so I’ll take the Rangers to bounce back after two tough losses that squandered their 2-0 series lead.

Rangers vs Astros Game 5 Props

Jordan Montgomery: Over 16.5 Outs (-115)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

I’m targeting the Over on Montgomery’s outs prop, even at a relatively high bar of 16.5.

For one, the Rangers ace has comfortably eclipsed this number in two of his three playoff starts, going for 19 (vs Houston) and 21 (vs Tampa Bay).

In the one outing he missed that number, it was because the Orioles hit him hard for five runs on nine hits.

I don’t expect that to happen in this game, especially after we saw Montgomery shut out these Astros for 6.1 innings in Game 1 of this series.

It also helps that the Rangers desperately need Montgomery to pitch deep into this game after their bullpen combined for 13.1 innings in the last two games.

These two teams are playing for a third day in a row, so the Rangers bullpen is taxed right now. Look for Montgomery to give them much-needed innings in this matchup.

Previously: Astros vs Rangers Game 4 Prediction

Astros 5, Rangers 4

Urquidy had an underwhelming season, registering a 5.24 SIERA, 16.4 K%, and 9.1 BB% in 63 innings. However, the 28-year-old righty looked like a completely different pitcher in his lone playoff start against the Twins.

Not only did Urquidy go 5.2 innings, allowing two runs with one walk and six strikeouts, but he induced whiffs at a much higher rate.

In fact, Twins hitters whiffed 19 times on Urquidy’s pitches, 14 of which came on either his four-seamer or changeup.

For context, that works out to a 23.2% swinging-strike rate, which would have led all of baseball. It’s also much higher than Urquidy’s season-long mark of 11%.

While there’s a good chance that this is an outlier, there’s also a possibility that he has figured something out just in time for the playoffs.

In the start against the Twins, Urquidy’s spin rate was up across the board, which means that his pitches had more movement.

Look for another strong outing from Urquidy, paving the way for a second consecutive Astros win.

Astros vs Rangers Game 4 Best Bet

Astros ML (+100)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

The Astros are going up against Rangers lefty Andrew Heaney in this one. Houston was terrific against left-handed pitching this year, putting up a 122 wRC+ (3rd) and .200 ISO (4th).

Heaney posted a 4.40 SIERA and 1.4 HR/9 in 147.1 innings this season, so this is an exploitable matchup for the Astros.

While Heaney won’t pitch deep into this game, I’m projecting the Astros to get to him early and ride a strong performance from Urquidy to even up the series.

Rangers vs Astros Game 4 Props

José Urquidy: Over 2.5 Strikeouts (-160)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

I’m betting that Urquidy will build off his last outing, where he recorded six strikeouts and had an impressive 23.2% swinging-strike rate.

Even if the veteran righty doesn’t rack up whiffs at an elite rate here, this is such a low bar at 2.5 strikeouts.

If Urquidy can get to four or five innings, he should be able to comfortably eclipse this number.

While paying a -160 price on a strikeout prop is always a bit risky, all we need is three punchouts here.

Previously: Astros vs Rangers Game 3 Prediction

Astros 6, Rangers 3

Javier has been on a nice run lately, starting to look like the pitcher we saw last year. Coming into the playoffs, the Astros’ righty put up a 3.71 SIERA, 32.3 K%, and 8.9 BB% in his last six starts, four of which were against good offenses (Orioles, Mariners, Diamondbacks, and Padres).

Those look a lot like last season’s stats, where Javier was viewed as an emerging ace: 3.14 SIERA, 33.2 K%, 8.9 BB%.

We saw Javier turn in another strong outing in his lone playoff start, tossing five shutout innings while allowing one hit and five walks with nine strikeouts against the Twins.

On the other side, Scherzer hasn’t been as good this year, even before the injury, putting up a 3.77 SIERA (2.88 in 2022) with a 7.2 BB% (up 3% from 2022).

There’s also the chance that we see the future Hall of Famer look a bit rusty in his first start in over a month.

To that end, I’d argue that the Astros have the pitching advantage here. Look for Houston to get a much-needed victory in Game 3.

Astros vs Rangers Game 3 Best Bet

Astros ML (+110)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

One of the issues with Scherzer this season has been with home runs. The veteran has posted a 1.65 HR/9, which is not only up from 0.81 in 2022, but it’s also the highest rate of his career.

That’s bad news against an Astros lineup filled with power, featuring studs like Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker. There’s a good chance that home runs will be the difference in this game.

Add on Javier’s recent improvements, and I’d bet on Houston taking this one, especially at plus-odds (+110).

Ride with the Astros to cut the Rangers’ series lead to 2-1.

Rangers vs Astros Game 3 Props

Max Scherzer: Over 12.5 Outs (+110)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

You may be wondering why I’d bet on Scherzer to go Over 12.5 outs when I’m already on the Astros moneyline. The answer is simple: 12.5 outs is only 4.1 innings, which is such a low bar for Scherzer.

The reason why this line is set so low is it’s Scherzer’s first start in over a month, which means that Rangers manager Bruce Bochy could be cautious with his usage.

However, Bochy stated at his press conference that Scherzer had thrown 69 pitches in his final live batting practice session, adding that the veteran can go at least 69 pitches in his Game 3 outing.

Sixty-nine pitches would be a high pitch count in 4.1 innings, so this is easily attainable, as long as Scherzer doesn’t get completely rocked.

The fact that we’re getting this one at (+110) odds makes it a must-play.

Previously: Rangers vs Astros Game 2 Prediction

Rangers 4, Astros 2

Eovaldi has been dominant throughout the playoffs so far, combining for two runs in 13.2 innings with zero walks and 15 strikeouts.

It’s clear that the veteran righty has found his form at the perfect time.

On the other hand, Framber Valdez looked erratic in his first playoff start, giving up five runs in only 4.1 innings.

The problem is that this has been a trend that extends across a larger sample. Since July 21, Valdez has a 4.46 ERA (4.33 SIERA) in 13 starts, spanning 80.2 innings.

That’s bad news against a Rangers lineup that ranked fourth in wRC+ during the season and has averaged 5.67 runs per game during their six-game winning streak in the postseason.

Look for the Rangers to go back home with a 2-0 series lead following two huge road wins.

Rangers vs Astros Game 2 Best Bet

Rangers ML (+100)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

Aside from the pitching advantage with Eovaldi over Valdez, we’ve also seen an improvement in the Rangers’ bullpen, which was thought to be their weak point coming into the playoffs.

The unit has given up only four runs in 19.1 innings throughout the postseason for a 1.88 ERA.

So the Astros may find it difficult to get to Eovaldi, only to take on a red-hot bullpen later in the game.

Not to mention that the Rangers are 6-0 in the playoffs, so it’s a good idea to ride their streak.

We’re getting a nice price of (+100) odds here, so we’ll go with the Rangers.

Rangers vs Astros Game 2 Props

Nathan Eovaldi: Under 1.5 Walks (+125)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

Eovaldi has yet to walk a batter in 13.2 innings across two postseason starts. In fact, the veteran righty posted a 26.5 Ball% during that span. That would rank among the best in baseball during the regular season.

We’ve seen Eovaldi display strong control in the past, putting up a sub-5% walk rate from 2020-2022.

While the former Red Sox pitcher has an 8.1 BB% this season, that’s inflated because of his struggles when returning from injury.

The Astros put up an 8.8 BB% during the season, which was tied for 12th, but we’re betting on skills over matchup.

The fact that we’re getting this at (+125) odds makes it a terrific wager.

Previously: Rangers vs Astros Game 1 Prediction

Rangers 6, Astros 3

The Rangers send out lefty Jordan Montgomery, who has been terrific since coming to Texas at the trade deadline. The former Cardinal put up a 2.79 ERA (4.09 SIERA) and 1.09 WHIP in 11 regular season starts with the Rangers.

Montgomery has had two postseason starts this year: one where he dominated the Rays for seven shutout innings and another where he struggled vs the Orioles, allowing five runs (four earned) in four innings.

The veteran lefty faced the Astros once during the season, but as a member of the Cardinals, going 6.2 innings while allowing only one run.

The Astros counter with Justin Verlander, who posted a 3.31 ERA (4.25 SIERA) and 1.12 WHIP in 11 outings in Houston during the regular season.

The future Hall-of-Famer has had one playoff outing this year, where he pitched six shutout innings, settling in for a strong performance after the Twins stranded several baserunners in the game’s early stages.

It will be tough to repeat that performance against this Texas lineup that is firing on all cylinders, scoring 32 runs in five games throughout these playoffs.

Rookie Evan Carter looks like a seasoned veteran at the plate (.429/.619/.857 slash in the playoffs), making an already deep lineup appear even more formidable.

Look for the Texas bats to get to Verlander while getting just enough from Montgomery to secure a Game 1 victory.

Rangers vs Astros Game 1 Best Bet

Rangers ML (+120)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

Verlander pitched well in his lone start vs the Rangers this year, allowing two runs (one earned) in seven innings, but I have to back the red-hot Texas offense right now.

The former Mets righty hasn’t been nearly as dominant this season, seeing his strikeout rate dip from 27.8% to 21.5%. This is backed by the advanced stats, as highlighted by his mediocre 4.25 SIERA.

On the other side, Montgomery has been the Rangers’ ace since coming over from St. Louis. This feels like a great time to back them, given their pitching advantage in Game 1.

Rangers vs Astros Game 1 Props

Justin Verlander: Over 1.5 Walks (-125)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

We’ll again target Verlander for our top player prop, going with Over 1.5 walks against a patient and disciplined Rangers offense.

You may wonder why I’d take this when Verlander has put up a 4.9 BB% in 11 starts since joining the Astros.

The reason is that the Rangers have several patient hitters, such as Corey Seager (9.1 BB%), Robbie Grossman (13.6 BB%), Nathaniel Lowe (12.8 BB%), and Evan Carter (16.0 BB%).

We’ve seen this team draw several walks during these playoffs, including four against Grayson Rodriguez and five vs Tyler Glasnow.

Verlander had control issues in his lone postseason start this year, giving up three walks against the Twins.

Look for the Rangers’ bats to continue to be patient and force Verlander to issue at least two walks.

Author

Frank Ammirante

Frank Ammirante is a Senior Sports Writer at The Game Day. Previously, he wrote for 4for4 Football and RotoBaller. Frank is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writer's Association while maintaining an active presence within the community. He has competed in industry contests like the Scott Fish Bowl, The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational, and more. Frank will be making his debut in Tout Wars this year. He's got a diverse sporting background, but specializes in football and baseball.

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