Sean Pendergast

Four Most Noteworthy Movements in Houston Astro Vegas Odds

Framber Valdez (left) and Cristian Javier apparently have very different Cy Young trajectories.
Framber Valdez (left) and Cristian Javier apparently have very different Cy Young trajectories. Photo by Jack Gorman
With about 100 games to go in the Major League Baseball season, the Houston Astros are right around where they are every year — recovering from their customarily sluggish start to have one of the best records in baseball, trending toward another possible 100-plus win season. The big difference this season is that they have competition inside the division.

The Texas Rangers are off to one of the hottest starts in the history of baseball, with the sixth biggest run differential through 58 games since 1900. They score double digit runs about once every four games, and their leading the Astros in the AL West, most importantly, by 3.5 games.

There are some Astros fans who wish a metaphorical plague upon the Rangers house. I'm not one of them. I don't LIKE the Rangers, but after five non-COVID seasons since 2017 in which the Astros finished an average of 32 games ahead of the Rangers in the standings, I am ready for a good, old fashioned, in-state divisional race!  The two teams play each other next at the end of the month, with four up in Arlington from June 30 through July 3.

While the Rangers are leading the division now, the expectation currently is that it won't last, and that is reflected in the sports books, both in season win totals and divisional futures, where the Astros have a revised season win total of 94.5 (it was 95.5 before the season), and the Rangers have a revised total of 93.5 (82.5 before the season).  The Astros are 2/3 favorites to win the division (down from 1/2 to start the year), while Rangers have gone from 8/1 down to 2/1. These odds are all courtesy of

The Astros' movement in the futures market as a team is just one collective noteworthy fluctuation. Let's look at three more, with updates on the AL MVP, AL Cy Young, and AL Rookie of the Year awards:

The two clear cut favorites to win the MVP of the American League are the Angels' Shohei Ohtani (5/7 odds) and the Yankees' Aaron Judge (9/2 odds), which has to be weird for Astros fans to see since Ohtani seems to lose to Framber Valdez every time they face off, and Aaron Judge has the batting average of a grasshopper in the postseason against the Astros. Right now, Yordan Alvarez is clearly the best hope for he Astros to win their first individual MVP since Jose Altuve in 2017. Alvarez is holding steady at 12/1. Kyle Tucker is on the outskirts at 40/1.

AL Cy Young
The Astros always have a small handful of guys in the Cy Young mix, with Justin Verlander having taken home the award in 2019 and 2022, and Gerrit Cole finishing runner up to Verlander in 2019, who himself was also runner up in 2018. Last season, Valdez garnered some serious Cy Young support, finishing in the AL Top 5, and this season, his odds are currently at 12/1, fifth down the board. Oddly enough, Hunter Brown is still on the board at 75/1 while Cristian Javier (and his 7-1 record with a 2.84 ERA) are now off the board. Strange.  

AL Rookie of the Year
Brown (7/1 odds) is also getting some love for Rookie of the Year, another award where there is regularly Astro representation. In fact, the Astros have had a rookie finish in the Top 5 for AL Rookie of the Year in every season since 2014, except in 2018. If you can name them, you're a true diehard Astro fan. Carlos Correa (2015) and Yordan Alvarez (2019) are the only two winners. The other top five finishers, by year — Collin McHugh (4th, 2014), Correa, Chris Devenski (4th, 2016), Yuli Gurriel (5th, 2017), Alvarez, Javier (3rd, 2020), Luis Garcia (2nd, 2021), and Jeremy Pena (5th, 2022). It's wild that some of the Astros foundational pieces barely registered a blip, if that, on the Rookie of the Year ballot, when they came up. George Springer (2014) got one third place vote. Alex Bregman (2016), Kyle Tucker (2018, 2019), and Framber Valdez (2019) got no votes at all.

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast