Seattle Mariners vs. Houston Astros Prediction: Will Familiarity Lead to Runs Even With Justin Verlander?

The Astros and Mariners open a three-game series in Seattle tonight, and MLB expert Mike Spector weighs in with his best play.
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Seattle Mariners vs. Houston Astros Prediction: Will Familiarity Lead to Runs Even With Justin Verlander?

The Seattle Mariners have the longest playoff drought (20 seasons) in the four major professional sports. And by the way this season has started, that drought will extend to 21 seasons.

The Mariners enter this three-game home series in dead-last in the AL West and a whopping 11 games behind the first-place Houston Astros through 45 games. These two teams are familiar with each other so far, as each team has won a series against the other this season. However, the Astros have a 4-2 season series edge after sweeping the Mariners in three games at home, while Seattle took two out of three games in Seattle in the third series of the season.

Just two of the previous six meetings between these teams exceeded the seven-run projected total for tonight's contest, but will this matchup buck that trend? Read on for our best play and odds for Friday's series opener between the Astros and Mariners.

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Mariners vs. Astros Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

  • Date: May 27, 2022
  • Game Time: 9:40 pm ET
  • Where to Watch: MLB.TV

Click Here for Mariners vs Astros Odds

Mariners vs. Astros Total Movement

Seattle Mariners vs. Houston Astros Prediction

Each starting pitcher taking the mound tonight will be familiar to opposing hitters, as both have made two starts against the opposition. 

Justin Verlander (6-1, 1.22) has won both of his starts against Seattle, allowing just two earned runs on eight hits over 14.2 innings while striking out 11. Conversely, Chris Flexen (1-6, 4.98) has lost both his starts against the Astros, but he has not pitched poorly in those starts. Flexen allowed four earned runs on seven hits over 11 innings, with one loss coming as a hard-luck loss when he allowed just one earned run (a solo home run) in his second start against them. Flexen did not miss many Astros bats in those two games, as he struck out just five Astros total.

Verlander's dominance and Flexen's shortcomings in the two starts are obvious reasons the Astros are huge -200 or higher moneyline favorites at most sportsbooks. However, those odds are way too steep to mess around with, so the better value play is on the over.

Even though Verlander is one of just two six-game winners in the majors and leads the league in ERA, WHIP (0.72), and OBA (.161), seeing the same lineup for the third time in five weeks will catch up with even the best of pitchers. The same goes for Flexen, who has never been able to figure out the Astros. In six career starts against Houston, Flexen is 0-5 with a 6.16 ERA and has allowed five home runs in 30.2 innings. That is a recipe for disaster against an Astros lineup that ranks third in the league with 59 home runs. Meanwhile, though the Mariners are just the 19th-highest scoring team in baseball, they consistently generate traffic on the basepaths, as their .315 OBP ranks ninth.

As home underdogs, the over has cashed in six of Seattle's last seven games and is 4-0-1 in its previous five games. Having Verlander on the mound alone screams "under," but the familiarity both lineups have with the starting pitchers means they should be able to scratch out eight or more runs combined.

Seattle Mariners vs. Houston Astros Pick

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Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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