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Mariners vs. Astros Game Two odds, prediction: Is the market too high on Luis Castillo?

Check out our betting preview for Thursday's Game 2 between the Mariners and Astros.

Luis Castillo of the Seattle Mariners delivers a pitch in the first inning during Game One of the AL Wild Card series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on October 7, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Luis Castillo of the Seattle Mariners delivers a pitch in the first inning during Game One of the AL Wild Card series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on October 7, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)Read moreVAUGHN RIDLEY / Getty Images

Sitting on a four-run lead entering the 8th inning, the “Team of Dynasty” vibes were palpable around the Seattle Mariners. Heck, the M’s were just two days removed from a dramatic comeback over the Blue Jays in the Wild Card, so it was hard not to get caught up.

But one swing of the bat from Yordan Alvarez changed everything. According to Action Network’s Sean Zerillo, Alvarez’s three-run walk-off dinger improved Houston’s series projection by 17.3%. Had the Astros lost Game 1, Zerillo’s model would have made them a 43% (roughly +133) underdog to win the series. Instead, they’re sitting as -425 favorites (roughly 81%) to advance to the ALCS.

Houston currently sits as a -155 favorite to win Game 2, with the total sitting at 7 runs.

Mariners vs. Astros Game 2 Prediction: Pick

Astros ML/Over 7 Parlay (+229, Caesars)

Mariners vs. Astros Game 2 Prediction: Analysis

While the pitching mismatch in Game 1 didn’t pan out as expected – Justin Verlander got rocked, while Logan Gilbert did enough to give Seattle a chance to win – things look a lot tighter on the mound for Game 2.

The four teams that got a bye through the Wild Card Round (Yankees, Astros, Braves and Dodgers) had a distinct advantage with the way they could set up their rotations for the Divisional Series, but if you hand that edge away by losing the opener, the scales tilt back towards the underdogs, as they’ll be able to throw their best pitchers in Games 2 and 3.

Thus, we’ll see Mariners’ ace Luis Castillo, fresh off a dominant performance against the Blue Jays in the Wild Card Round, take on Framber Valdez for Thursday’s tilt in Space City.

Castillo’s first start of this potseason couldn’t have gone better. He allowed no runs, six hits and logged five strikeouts against zero walks in 7.1 innings of work. It was another terrific showing for the trade deadline acquisition, who posted a 3.17 ERA and 3.03 xFIP in 65.1 innings of work with the M’s.

Despite those strong metrics, Castillo’s batted ball data is less encouraging when compared to his statline. The 29-year-old ranks in the 35th percentile in average exit velocity, the 53rd percentile in hard hit rate and 57th percentile in barrel rate. Those numbers will play when combined with his ability to get strikeouts, but there are some minor red flags to his portfolio.

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While Castillo is known for his electric fastball and ability to rack up strikeouts, Framber Valdez is more of an artist. The 28-year-old set the MLB record with 25 consecutive quality starts this season and he achieved that success thanks to his ability to keep the ball on the ground and in the park.

No pitcher came close to matching Valdez’s 66.5% groundball rate this season – the second-best mark among qualified pitchers was Logan Webb at 56.7% – and Valdez was second among qualified hurlers with a 0.49 HR/9.

A pitcher like Valdez playing in front of a defense that ranked fifth in the MLB with 66 defensive runs saved is a frustrating combination for any offense to take on.

These odds seem to be a bit of an overreaction to Castillo’s dominant performance against the Blue Jays. As impressive as that performance was, it’s hard to imagine Castillo keeping this offense quiet enough to keep the game under the low total. Parlaying the over 7 and the Astros moneyline pays out +229, which seems like a high-upside bet to make for Game 2.

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