AL West Futures Best Bets: Houston Astros

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Vaughn Dalzell is rolling with the Houston Astros to win the AL West in a two-team race versus the division-leading Texas Rangers.

AL WEST CHAMPION: HOUSTON ASTROS (+100)

The Texas Rangers pulled off a surprising and groundbreaking trade to receive Max Scherzer and all of a sudden, most sportsbooks made them the favorite to win the AL West.

Texas owns a 1.0 game lead over Houston entering Sunday, July 30th as the AL West has become a two-team race.

Seattle and Los Angeles are more likely Wild Card contenders. However, they are still 65-plus games remaining and a lot can happen in two months.

The Rangers are 2-6 over the last eight games after winning six straight out of the All-Star break. Texas is feeling the pressure as Houston is 7-3 in its past 10 games, plus the two teams just met and Houston took two out of three at home with both wins coming by one run each.

Texas’ offense has been ranked top three in run differential all season and top five in most hitting categories, but they’ve taken a small step back post-All-Star Weekend, and when I say a small step, instead of being top five, they are top 10-15 in most categories.

Looking down the stretch, Houston has the 11th-easiest strength of schedule remaining, while Texas owns the 8th-easiest and Seattle the third-easiest.

All three teams could make the postseason, but history says when October gets closer, Houston gets better under pressure.

As the season progresses, the Astros will get healthier and should get Jose Urquidy, Michael Brantley, and Lance McCullers Jr. back within a month.

For the Rangers, the trade for Scherzer was necessary as Nathan Eovaldi is dealing with elbow soreness, plus Jacob DeGrom is out for the season with Tommy John surgery, along with Jake Odorizzi (arthroscopic shoulder surgery).

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Give me the Houston Astros at +100, now that there is some positive value after the Max Scherzer trade.

The Rangers’ bullpen is getting fragile whereas the Astros’ is getting stronger. I also expect the Texas offense to regress to the norm over the second half of the season.

Pick: Houston Astros to win the AL West (1u)

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