Baseball season is upon us! Thank the sports gods, we get a safe haven from long Rocket losing streaks and long lists of plaintiffs suing Deshaun Watson, and ironically that safe haven is the team that is still the scourge of every other city in tis sport — YOUR HOUSTON ASTROS! I can't wait to get back out to the Minute Maid Park, I can't wait to watch this team in a full season with this core group, and I can't wait to place prop bets on various statistics that tickle my fancy!
And that's the purpose of this post today — to tickle my fancy, and your fancy, and get us some extra spending money when we cash these tickets in October. So here we go with my favorite Astro prop bets for the upcoming 2021 season:
Jose Altuve - BA in the 2021 Regular Season
There's no getting around it, Jose Altuve, in the regular season in 2020, was a mess. His .629 OPS was over 300 points below his MVP season of 2017, and was barely above the level of a decent hitting National League pitcher. On top of that, the problems bled over into his play on defense, with routine throws to first base becoming a major issue (see: ALCS). That said, Altuve completely flipped the script in the ALDS and ALCS with 18 hits and 5 home runs in this two series. You add all this up, and I think the regular season was a complete cadre of mental issues for Altuve, stemming from his unjustly being the face of the sign stealing scandal. The playoffs represented his rebirth. Thus, we are getting a career .311 hitter at a .279 OVER/UNDER. UNLOAD on Altuve over .279. This is great value.
Carlos Correa – Total HR’s in the 2021 Regular Season
Admittedly, I'm basing about 50 percent of my handicap for this prop best on this sound bite last week from Correa. When asked about how he is feeling this spring, he had this to say.....
Carlos Correa (@TeamCJCorrea) on his swing: “Whooo my swing feels sexy brother. My swing feels sexy..I’m barreling balls everywhere. I’m seeing the ball great. I’ve never felt better in the last week of spring training in my career..My defense..getting great jumps at shortstop.” pic.twitter.com/b3FoQZs4gC— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) March 26, 2021
My gambling rule of thumb — anytime a player openly describes his swing as "sexy," you bet ALL the overs on his statistical pro bets. So I'll probably sprinkle a little something on all the overs, with the largest sprinkle on the home run prop. If Correa stays healthy — BIG IF, I know — he will sail past 24.5 dingers.
Yordan Alvarez - Total HR's in the 2021 Regular Season
Yordan Alvarez - Total RBI's in the 2021 Regular Season
Ditto Jordan Alvarez. This is a bet on health, as much as anything. It appears as though the Astros medical staff finally figured out what exactly was wrong with Alvarez's balky knees, uncovering tears in his patellar tendons. As a result, Alvarez looks much more spry this spring. In his rookie season of 2019, with what I am assuming were wonky knees, Alvarez hit 27 home runs in 87 games to win the AL Rookie of the Year. If the knees work, 33 home runs is a lay up, and let's even toss in a bonus sawbuck on over 96.5 RBI.
Zach Greinke - Total Wins in the 2021 Regular Season
Every full season, going back to 2014, you can lock in Greinke for over 200 innings. I don't know if Dusty Baker will use him similarly over the course of 162 games (and likely around 35 starts), but he IS the Astros' Opening Day starter, and he IS super durable. Also, he is still pretty good at pitching. So with the Astros' offense humming on all cylinders, I expect that Greinke should be good enough for 14 to 16 wins, easily. Last I checked that's more than 12.5.
Ryan Pressly - Total Saves in the 2021 Regular Season
This is the only UNDER that I am giving out, and I guess it's because I'm still having some PTSD from 2020's shortened season where Pressly was forced into Closer's duties after the injury to Roberto Osuna. I just don't fully trust Pressly, and I think there's a decent chance we could see more of a committee approach, or perhaps see a young arm like Enoli Paredes rise up the ranks quickly into a closer's type role. Either way, I am going UNDER here.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.