Odds Shark Top Sportsbooks
*Terms and Conditions apply to all bonus offers on this website. Visit operator for details.

Betting Preview: Houston Astros vs Tampa Bay Rays

Justin Verlander MLB playoffs ALDS Game 4 Betting Preview Houston Astros vs Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays stayed alive in the ALDS, as their bats came to life in Game 3. Can they keep the offense going in Game 4 against Justin Verlander, who shut them down in the series’ first game but is pitching on short rest?

Matchup Information
  • Houston Astros vs Tampa Bay Rays (Matchup Report)
  • Date/Time: October 8, 7 p.m. ET
  • TV Coverage: Fox Sports 1
  • Opening Odds: HOU -240/TB +205 | O/U 7.5  (Line History)
  • Starting Pitchers: HOU Verlander (21-6, 2.58 ERA), TB Castillo (5-8, 3.41 ERA)

Opening Odds Analysis

It’s hard to argue against Houston being the heavy favorite, as Justin Verlander is a near lock to finish among the top two in Cy Young voting … and he dominated the Tampa Bay lineup in Game 1.

Houston News & Notes

The Astros felt they were in good position to sweep the series, as they had their third starter, all-star Zack Greinke, on the mound and they were facing Tampa’s ace, Charlie Morton, on short rest.

While they hit a solo home run off Morton in the first inning and the Astros made him throw a lot of pitches early, they couldn’t deliver the knockout punch. Coupled with Greinke serving up three long balls and six earned runs, it adds up to a Game 4 being necessary.

Because the game got out of hand quickly, Houston didn’t have to use any of its key relievers in Game 3. That’s important with the Astros starting Justin Verlander, who allowed one hit and struck out eight over seven shutout innings in Game 1. The 36-year-old is pitching on three days’ rest, something he’s only ever done once, so it’s likely we’ll see most, if not all, of the Astros’ top relievers.

The Rays have shown they can hit anyone not named Verlander or Cole, so the more innings Verlander can go, the better chance Houston has of advancing to the ALCS.

Tampa Bay News & Notes

If there was ever a game to get your confidence back, Game 3 was it for Tampa Bay.

After scoring just three runs in the first two games of the ALDS, the Rays erupted for 10 runs, including four homers, in a 10-3 win that kept their season alive.

Tampa cranked out hits up and down the lineup, with the biggest hit being a second-inning, two-out, three-run bomb by Kevin Kiermaier to not only open the floodgates, but give the Rays hope.

Starting pitcher Charlie Morton labored through five innings, but he kept the Houston bats at bay while the offense put up crooked numbers. Game 4 will see manager Kevin Cash use Diego Castillo as an opener, then play the matchups in a game that will see a lot of bullpen action.

Tampa can’t expect to score many runs off Justin Verlander, but he’s pitching on short rest. If they can get into the Astros bullpen early in the game, the Rays will have their best shot at forcing a winner-take-all Game 5. 

Betting Pick: UNDER 7.5

How many runs are going to be scored in a game featuring Justin Verlander and a matchup-based bullpen? I’m guessing fewer than 7.5, so I’ll take the UNDER.

Shark Bites
  • The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Tampa Bay’s last 9 games.
  • Houston is 8-2 SU in its last 10 road games.
  • Tampa Bay is 7-1 SU in its last 8 home games against Houston.