Free Picks: Houston Astros vs San Francisco Giants

Jordan Horrobin
Jordan Horrobin
MLB Free Picks – Best Bets of the Week
Astros vs Giants Week 18
Houston Astros vs San Francisco Giants, MLB, Oracle Park

The Houston Astros (63-40) will face the San Francisco Giants (63-38) to being a three-game series on Friday, representing the only series between these heavyweight clubs in the 2021 season. The Astros have won 15 of their 22 games this month, but they’ve also struggled to a 2-5 interleague record so far. The Giants recently lost a series to the lowly Pirates, but they’re still going strong atop the loaded National League West — with a 9-5 interleague record to boot.

Compelling pitching matchup highlights clash of MLB titans

Pay close attention, bettors, because interleague matchups like this don’t come around every day. The NL West-leading Giants are hosting the American League West-leading Astros, and it’s not hyperbolic to say this could be a World Series preview.

They’re only meeting for three games, and Friday’s opener might be the best of all (on paper, at least). The host Giants are -120 money line favorites (10Bet) among the day’s MLB picks, which means the Astros are in rare territory as the money line underdogs. Houston sits at +100 odds (10Bet).

It’s hard not to like the Astros in any underdog situation, but keep in mind that their recent success has come against far weaker opponents: Yes, they’ve won seven of their past nine games, but that’s against the Mariners, Indians and Rangers. The Giants, meanwhile, have played seven of their past 10 against the Dodgers — and San Francisco has won five of those seven.

We’re in for a good pitching matchup here, as San Francisco’s Kevin Gausman (9-4, 2.21 ERA) goes up against Houston’s Framber Valdez (6-2, 2.97). Neither pitcher has been quite as sharp lately as he’s been over the course of the season — Gausman has a 3.79 ERA in his past seven starts compared to Valdez’s 3.92 ERA in the same span — but the presence of both top-notch starters makes the under on the 7.5 run total (-104 at 10Bet) somewhat compelling.

What makes this matchup a bit tricky to predict is the fact that these teams haven’t seen each other yet this year. Houston took two of three last year, but even then the same size is small (and the teams aren’t exactly the same). The Giants are among the best home teams, with a 32-16 record, but the Astros have a respectable 29-20 mark on the road.

What we like about the Astros, in addition to that underdog value, is the fact that Valdez is an unknown quantity to the Giants. They’ve yet to see the lefty, who is coming off six hitless innings — you read that correctly — in his most recent start.

Also, while the Astros and Giants are among the league’s best in a number of offensive categories over the course of the season, Houston’s hitters are much hotter of late. In the past seven days, the Astros have an .856 OPS (fourth in MLB), compared to just a .712 OPS for the Giants (20th).

Rolling with the hotter offense and an “underdog” that never really plays like one is the move with this BetPicks prediction. More than anything, though, make sure to tune in for an epic matchup.

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  • Houston is 7-3 on the money line in its past 10
  • The OVER has cashed in six of the Astros’ past eight games
  • San Francisco is 6-4 on the money line in its past 10
  • The UNDER has cashed in three of the Giants’ past four games

Jordan Horrobin is a freelance sports journalist based in Toronto, Ontario, who enjoys sports-related research and telling engaging stories. His work can also be found at Sportsnet, Forbes and elsewhere. Though he abandoned most of his team-specific fandoms in the interest of unbiased analysis, Jordan roots hard for his fantasy football/hockey teams (and he's a complete homer for all things Ohio University).