The most hated franchise in current professional sports – the Houston Astros – will take the field in shame this year after being found guilty of a multi-year cheating scandal. Possibly because of that competitive advantage, Houston’s offense was dominant once again last season with the best collective wOBA (.355) and collective WAR (40.8) in the majors. Jose Altuve, who has been accused of wearing a buzzer to tip pitches, caught fire with the most hits and total bases after the All-Star break. In addition to their stars, the Astros got breakout performances from Yuli Gurriel, Aledmys Diaz, and AL Rookie of the Year Yordan Alvarez. Of the 10 players who logged at least 300 plate appearances for Houston last year, eight hit at least .275 at the dish.
The Astros also finished second in collective ERA (3.75) with the top two CY Young candidates (Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander) posting some gaudy numbers. Verlander and Cole were in the top five in every significant statistical category and Cole won the award, but he signed with the Yankees in free agency. Verlander suffered a groin injury in March that might have slowed him down while training in quarantine. Houston lacks a reliable lefty arm and in fact carried no left handed pitchers during the 2019 postseason.
Despite their tainted record, the Astros are still loaded with talent and expected to compete for another championship. They’re the third favorite to win the World Series with +850 odds at DraftKings Sportsbook, trailing the Dodgers and Yankees. A $10 bet on the Astros to win the championship would pay out $85.
The Astros are also behind the Yankees in the market to win the American League with +350 odds at DK Sportsbook. Astros odds show that they are favored to win the AL West again with -167 odds to win the division, well ahead of the Athletics (+275) and Angels (+550).
Houston is projected to win 35.5 games at DK, with -106 odds on the Over and -118 odds on the Under. That means oddsmakers think there is a slightly better chance they fail to win 36 or more games, and a $20 bet on the Under would only profit $16.94 if successful.
His old teammate, Cole, is the favorite to win the AL CY Young Award with +275 odds, but Verlander is right behind him with +700 odds. Young RHP Lance McCullers Jr. is getting +4000 odds to win the award.
The Astros have several candidates for AL MVP with Alex Bregman (+2000) leading the charge. Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa are both getting +4000 odds at DK and Verlander is getting +8000 odds in the shortened season.
Altuve is tied with Whit Merrifield and Nolan Arenado with +1200 odds to lead the Majors in hits this season. Bregman is getting favorable +2800 odds to lead MLB in HRs and Verlander is getting +900 odds to lead the league in strikeouts. There is also a Short Season Specials offer on Verlander to record 100-plus Ks with +115 odds at DK.
Astros odds: Futures
Here is a look at the latest Astros odds for the World Series, American League and division.
Houston Astros odds, betting breakdown
2019 Record: 107-55
Key losses: RHP Gerrit Cole, C Robinson Chirinos, RHP Will Harris, OF Jake Marisnick, RHP Collin McHugh, LHP Wade Miley, RHP Hector Rendon, RHP Aaron Sanchez
Key additions: RHP Jared Hughes, RHP Austin Pruitt,
CF George Springer (R)
2B Jose Altuve (R)
LF Michael Brantley (L)
3B Alex Bregman (R)
1B Yuli Gurriel (R)
DH Yordan Alvarez (L)
SS Carlos Correa (R)
RF Josh Reddick (L)
C Martin Maldonado (R)
Projected rotation: RHP Justin Verlander, RHP Zack Grienke, RHP Lance McCullers, RHP Jose Urquidy, RHP Josh James OR RHP Austin Pruitt
Projected closer: RHP Roberto Osuna
Bullpen strengths: Roberto Osuna is the star of the pen. Osuna led the league in Saves (38) and Games Finished (56) in 2019. Osuna posted a 2.63 ERA with 73 SO in 66 Games and 65.0 IP. Ryan Pressly also had an impressive 2019 with a 2.32 ERA and 72 SO in 55 Games and 54.1 IP. The Astros also made a solid move in re-signing Joe Smith who posted a 1.80 ERA with 22 SO in 28 Games and 25.0 IP in 2019.
Bullpen weaknesses: Joe Biagnini is coming off an unreliable 2019 with a 7.36 ERA in 13 Games and 14.2 with 6 HR allowed. Chris Devenski will also look to bounce back from a somewhat subpar season with a 4.83 ERA in 61 Games and 69.0 IP, he also had 69 Hits and 13 Home Runs allowed.
Key stats from 2019
- The Astros did not have a left-handed pitcher on their staff in the 2019 playoffs.
- Gurriel had a breakout year with a .298 BA with 31 home runs and 104 RBIs.
- Altuve led the AL in hits and total bases after the All-Star break (MLB). Altuve hit .298 with 31 homers and 74 RBIs in 2019.
- Correa hit .279 with 21 home runs and 59 RBis in only 75 games due to injury.
- Bregman led the team with 41 HRs and 112 RBIs in 2019.
- Eight of the ten players with at least 300 plate appearances hit at least .275 in 2019.
- Aledmys Diaz played in 69 games, starting 18 at first, 16 at second, 15 at third, 3 in left, and 2 at short.
- Yordan Alavrez won 2019 AL Rookie of the Year with .313 BA, 27 HRs, 78 RBIs in 87 games.