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All times Eastern | Game odds via SportsLine consensus
🔥 The Hot Ticket
- The Pick: Astros (-119)
- Key trend: The Astros have won six of their last 10 road games.
I know the Astros burned us earlier this week, but I'm going back to the well. The matchup is just too good to ignore, so I'm backing the defending World Series champions once again.
Justin Verlander spent half of a season with the Mets before the team dealt him back to the Astros last month. Since arriving back in Houston, we've seen the Verlander of old rise to the occasion. In his first two starts with the Astros, the veteran hurler has allowed three runs or less while registering 11 strikeouts. Verlander has tallied a 1.40 ERA over his last five starts dating back to his time with the Mets. His teams have won four of those outings thanks in part to Verlander yielding one run or less in three of those starts.
The Astros have been hitting their stride as of late. Houston is averaging 6.0 runs over its last five contests, including racking up 11 runs in two of those games. While they've been hot recently, the Astros have performed well over the course of the season as they rank sixth in runs scored this year.
Houston should be able to take advantage of Marlins starting pitcher Jesus Luzardo in this spot. Luzardo does excel when it comes to strikeouts, but he still gives up an abundance of runs to the tune of a 3.91 ERA. The left-hander owns a 5.00 ERA over his last three starts and has given up at least four earned runs in each of those games. If the Astros lineup performs like it has recently, Houston can easily defeat Miami here.
💰 More MLB picks
- The Pick: Over 9.5 (-101)
- Key trend: The over has cashed in the three of the Cardinals' last six games.
When it comes to surrendering runs, the Athletic and Cardinals are two of the top teams in that category. That makes the over an easy play in this spot.
The A's will be sending Paul Blackburn to the mound Wednesday, and Blackburn has been the model of inconsistency. In five starts last month, Blackburn accumulated a 6.26 ERA and surrendered at least five earned runs in two of those outings. Those struggles have carried into the month of August. The right-hander is coming off of a start in which he yielded four earned runs on eight hits across 5 2/3 innings against the Nationals. While this season has been underwhelming for the Cards, this is still a team that ranks 11th in runs scored and is averaging 6.2 runs over their past five games.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals have young right-hander Matthew Liberatore toeing the rubber. Liberatore was one of baseball's top pitching prospects once upon a time, but he has never really been able to put it together. The St. Louis starter owns a 5.72 ERA on the season, having put together his fair share of rocky outings. Liberatore has given up at least four earned runs in three of his last six starts, including surrendering five earned runs in two of those games.
Both Blackburn and Liberatore have been inconsistent throughout the 2023 season. As a result, the over has a strong chance of cashing for us here.
- The Pick: Luis Castillo Over 6.5 Strikeouts (+115)
- Key trend: Castillo has registered at least seven strikeouts in four of his last five starts.
Against the second-worst team in baseball, Castillo has a matchup of which we must take advantage. That's why I'm backing the Mariners starter's strikeouts prop here.
Castillo has been terrific when it comes to the strikeout department. The right-hander has racked up at least seven Ks in four of his last five outings, including an 11-strikeout performance during that stretch. Castillo's command has allowed him to last at least six innings in all five of those starts. Meanwhile, the Royals offense isn't exactly a juggernaut. Kansas City is averaging 6.8 strikeouts and currently ranks 15th in that category on the year. This is simply a lackluster offense against which Castillo should be able to have plenty of success.