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MLB: Chicago White Sox vs. Houston Astros Betting Preview

Opening Day of Major League Baseball will see an American League battle between the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros and the Chicago White Sox. The Astros will host this one at Minute Maid Park, with first pitch scheduled for 7:08 pm ET.

The Astros are the favorites playing at home. They are -162 to win, while Chicago’s moneyline sits at +136. The runline features the White Sox +1.5 (-162), and the over/under for total runs is 7.5 (-110).

White Sox Go In New Direction In 2023

After a disappointing season in 2022, the Chicago White Sox turn to a new manager in Pedro Grifol to try to right the ship for a White Sox team that seemed in the middle of their World Series window as recently as last season. Starting fresh this year, they will have a test right off the bat as they take on the defending champs.

On the mound for Chicago will be ace Dylan Cease. Currently sitting with the third-best odds of winning the AL Cy Young this season (+900), Cease went 14-8 with a 2.20 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and had 227 strikeouts in 184 innings pitched last season.

Offensively, Chicago ranked 18th in scoring last season, averaging 4.23 runs per game. The offense will be led by Luis Robert (12 HR, 56 RBI), Tim Anderson (6 HR, 25 RBI, 13 SB), Eloy Jimenez (16 HR, 54 RBI), Andrew Vaughn (17 HR, 76 RBI), and others.

In addition to finding more consistency this season on offense, the defense has to improve as well. Last year, the White Sox ranked 20th in scoring defense, allowing opponents an average of 4.43 runs per game.

Shorthanded Astros Set Eyes On Repeating

The Astros certainly come into this one a bit banged up. Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley are both on the injured list, and both Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker dealt with injuries during spring training. Despite being short-handed, the Astros will celebrate their World Series championship before the game, and then will set their sights towards repeating in 2023.

Now that Justin Verlander is in New York, lefty Framber Valdez takes over the reins as the ace of the pitching staff. Last season, Valdez went 17-6 with a 2.82 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and he struck out 194 in 201.1 innings. He finished fifth in the Cy Young award voting last season.

One of the biggest additions this offseason will be very familiar to the White Sox. Jose Abreu came to Houston from the Windy City and now takes over at first base. Last season, Abreu hit .304/.378/.446 with 15 home runs and 75 runs batted in.

In addition to Abreu, the Astros will feature a lineup on Opening Day that also features Alex Bregman (23 HR, 93 RBI), Jeremy Pena (22 HR, 63 RBI), Yordan Alvarez (37 HR, 97 RBI), and Kyle Tucker (30 HR, 107 RBI, 25 SB).

As a unit, the Astros ranked ninth in scoring last season, averaging 4.51 runs per game. They ranked first in scoring defense, allowing opponents an average of just 3.17 runs per game.

Take Chicago On The Runline

First of all, this game will feature two players that finished in the top-five in Cy Young voting last year, so runs might come at a premium as it is. Furthermore, Houston finds itself without their catalyst in Jose Altuve, while Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker are still trying to find their groove after missing time during spring training.

With a little bit of uncertainty in Houston’s lineup and dominant pitching on the mound, don’t be surprised if this one is decided by just a run either way. For that reason, take Chicago at +1.5 on the runline (-162).

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