The postseason is here but heading into Astros at Twins game 1 betting, Minnesota is in the midst of an MLB record 16-game losing streak in the postseason. 13 of those losses have come to the Yankees, but you have to think there’s some psychological strain in the back of Twins’ players heads heading into Tuesday’s early meeting with the Astros (2PM ET, ABC).
The good news for Minnesota is that they are playing a Houston team that looks different than the squad who has made the World Series in two of the last three seasons. The Astros went just 10-17 in September and finished under .500 at 29-31 on the season. As a result, Minnesota is a big favorite in the opener at -165, with a betting total of 7.5.
Astros Go With Greinke in Opener
There would appear to be value on Houston at +153 for a variety of reasons. The Astros are playoff-seasoned with this their 5th trip to the playoffs the last six years. Minnesota has been cursed in the playoffs, failing to win a game in their last five postseason series. Plus, Houston sends out veteran Zack Greinke (3-3, 4.03 ERA).
The good news for Minnesota backers heading into Astros at Twins game 1 betting is that Greinke can be gotten to in the opener, as he has faded down the stretch. After posting a 1.84 ERA through his first five starts, the right-hander has allowed at least 3 ER in seven straight. Greinke was 0-2 with a 4.68 ERA last postseason with Houston and is 1-4 with a 5.14 ERA in his career at Target Field.
The lack of fans in attendance will likely give the socially anxious Greinke an edge in the playoff opener however. The big question is if he can get any support from his offense? Houston is just 9-23 on the road this season with Alex Bregman leading the struggles with just a .229 average away from Minute Maid Park.
Just Another Game for Maeda
The Astros were punished (somewhat) this offseason for stealing signs in the 2017 World Series against the Dodgers. Minnesota will send Kenta Maeda to the mound in the opener, a pitcher who allowed 5 hits and what could now be considered a controversial HR to Jose Altuve while pitching with Los Angeles in that World Series. Regardless, Maeda says there is no revenge factor when facing Houston this postseason.
The good news for Maeda is that when all things are equal, the Astros have had limited regular-season success against him with the current roster going just 5-29 (.172). Minnesota’s offseason acquisition has also had a terrific first year with the team, going 6-1 with a 2.70 ERA while leading MLB in WHIP (0.75). Like Greinke, Maeda has seen some issues as of late though with 3+ ER allowed in 3 of his last 5 starts of the year.
The Twins are 24-7 at home this season, and although fans in attendance would be a huge boost, the team has plenty of incentive to end this playoff drought. We’re not talking about a World Series win, Minnesota just needs a playoff victory as the last one came in 2004. Only Alex Avila and Nelson Cruz have faced Greinke more than 7 times in their career though so unfamiliarity could be an issue on Tuesday.
Astros at Twins Game 1 Betting
Greinke is arguably the biggest benefactor in all of baseball with no fans being allowed to attend the wild card round due to COVID. Minnesota gets a huge break with Justin Verlander being out for the season though, and they will get all three games of the wild card round at home (if necessary). -165 is still a lot to lay for a team that has lost 16 straight in the postseason though. The best wager for this one is the ‘over’ as both pitchers have shown the tendency to give up runs late in the season.
Twins 5 – Astros 4
Free Pick: Over 7.5