MLB Bets for Friday, May 14: Astros Cover at Home vs. Rangers

SI Gambling analyst Roy Larking previews Friday's MLB betting action and shares the two top picks on his baseball betting card
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Texas Rangers at Houston Astros

A battle between Lone Star State rivals continues when Houston hosts Texas for the second of a four-game series. The game time for the Astros vs. Rangers matchup is 8:10 p.m. ET at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. This is the second of 19 meetings this season. Houston scored on a bases-loaded wild pitch in the bottom of the 11th inning and won 4–3 last night. These teams met 10 times last year and split the season series. Houston went 4–2 at home, and four of those games were decided by one run. After winning the series opener as (-190) favorites, the Astros are chalk again tonight.

Texas (18–21) has been through peaks and valleys over the first quarter of the season. Offsetting two season-long three-game winning streaks, the Rangers have lost four straight twice. Texas sits fourth overall in the AL West standings. They trail Oakland by five games and Houston by 3.5 games. The Rangers entered this series following two losses (3–1 and 4–2) to the Giants in San Francisco. Before that, they were on a solid run with wins in eight of 11 games. Texas posted a 2–1 series win at home versus Seattle, plus 3–1 series wins on the road in Minnesota and at home against Boston.

Houston (21-17) is playing an eighth straight home game. Prior to this series, the Astros recorded 10–4 and 7–4 wins, plus an 8–4 loss, against the Blue Jays. That was followed by a 5–4 loss and two wins (5–1 and 9–1) against the L.A. Angels. That was preceded by the Astros harshest Heel Tour series on the road so far this season. New York fans taunted the Astros relentlessly during a 2–1 series loss at Yankee Stadium. Houston lost twice, 7–3 and 6–3, before avoiding a sweep with a 7–4 win in the series finale. The Astros trail the Athletics (23–16) by 1.5 games in the AL West Division.

Recently recalled from Triple-A Round Rock Express, LHP Wes Benjamin (0–1, 4.76 ERA) is making his second career start for Texas. He allowed three runs and four hits, over 5.2 innings, during three relief appearances in early April. RHP Zack Greinke (2–1, 4.23 ERA) is making his eighth start for Houston. Over his last three outings, which all ended after just four innings, he allowed 11 runs and 16 hits. Greinke gave up three runs and six hits, over six innings, during an 8–4 win in his lone start against Texas in September last year. Bet on Greinke regaining his form and lay the Houston run line.

Pick: Houston Astros -1.5 (-110) run line

Betting Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook – Game Time 8:10 p.m. ET

Betting Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook – Game Time 8:10 p.m. ET

Washington Nationals at Arizona Diamondbacks

Struggling squads meet when Washington and Arizona begin a three-game series tonight. The first pitch for the Nationals vs. Diamondbacks contest is at 9:40 p.m. ET at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz. This is the fifth of seven meetings this season. These teams played in mid-April and split a four-game series in Washington. Between 11–6 and 5–2 wins by the Diamondbacks, the Nationals posted 1–0 and 6–2 victories. The Nats and D-Backs didn’t meet last year, and Arizona won the season series 4–3 back in 2019. Largely due to the pitching matchup, the Nationals are road favorites.

Washington (14–19) opened the season on a 5–9 losing streak but evened their record at 12–12 on May 2. Amid another slump, the Nationals have lost seven of their last nine games. They are last in the NL East standings and trail the first-place Mets by five games. Washington heads to Arizona following a 2–1 series loss at home to Philadelphia. The Phillies won the first two games, 6–2 and 5–2 F/10, before the Nationals avoided a sweep with a 5–1 win last night. Before that, Washington posted an 11–4 win before losing twice (4–3 F/11 and 3–2) against the Yankees in New York.

Arizona (17–21) opened the season with a 5–10 record but moved to 15–13 following a 10–3 winning streak. The Diamondbacks have also hit a slump, as they are 2–8 over their last ten games. Arizona lost six straight during 3–0 series sweeps by the Marlins in Miami and the Mets in New York. The offense was an issue as the Diamondbacks were outscored 33–12 during the six losses. Returning home, Arizona posted 5–2 and 11–3 wins against Miami. The Marlins earned a series split with a 3–2 win on Wednesday and a 5–1 win last night. The D-Backs are 8–7 home while the Nats are 5–9 on the road.

RHP Max Scherzer (2–2, 2.33 ERA) makes his eighth start for Washington. He allowed two hits and posted 10 strikeouts over 7.0 innings during the Nationals 1–0 win against Arizona on April 16. The Nats are 8–1 against the D-Backs over nine starts by Scherzer. Making his first career start against Washington, RHP Riley Smith (1–2, 4.85 ERA) heads to the hill for Arizona. He has allowed 15 runs and 30 hits, over 26.0 innings, during four starts and three relief appearances. The Diamondbacks average 4.76 runs per game while the Nationals score 3.57 runs—bet UNDER on the run total.

Pick: Run total UNDER 9 (-118)

Betting Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook – Game Time 9:40 p.m. ET

Betting Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook – Game Time 9:40 p.m. ET

2021 MLB Regular Season Betting Record: 22–28 (-6.02 Units)