@FastMoneyLabs' Best Bet - 9/21

Houston Astros @ Tampa Bay Rays - 6:40pm ET

Houston Astros Team Total over 3.5 (-115) via FanDuel Sportsbook

I respect Rays’ veteran pitcher Corey Kluber, but not as much as oddsmakers do today, apparently. This line feels a tick too low to me. It should at least be 4 flat.

This is a brutal matchup for him vs. a red hot Houston offense that’s scoring 4.94 runs per game this month, +7.8% vs. their season average. Betting them to score 4+ runs is 13-5 (72%) in September. This continues a trend from last season when Houston averaged 5.22 runs per game in September — Top 5 in MLB.

What’s fascinating about the 2022 version of the trend is how they’re doing it. For example, in the last 2 weeks, the Astros offense ranks:

  • #7 vs. RHP as measured by the weighted Runs Created+ statistic (wRc+), which is very good (+20% vs. league average).
  • #29 (out of 30) in batting average on balls in play (BABIP) with a 0.237 mark, which is very bad (-18% vs. league average).

BABIP tends to be a good indicator of how lucky (or unlucky) a team’s run scoring production has been. The fact Houston’s scoring plenty of runs despite a low BABIP tells me the trend isn’t a fluke, and there’s legitimate upside to it.
If the Astros are due for improvement in BABIP, then a matchup vs. Corey Kluber might be just what the doctor ordered to make it happen. He’s allowing a 0.312 BABIP this season, which is in line with 0.310 last season and +7.6% vs. league average.

For all these reasons, I’m surprised the Astros Team Total is so low today and locked it in to win a unit at best available odds (-115 FanDuel).

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