MLB Predictions: Are the Rangers a good underdog bet vs. Astros? 3/29/18

Oct 20 2017 Houston TX USA Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander delivers during the first inning in game six of the 2017 ALCS playoff baseball series against the New York Yankees at Minute Maid Park

With his pitching staff in flux, Rangers manager Jeff Banister has a chance to do some truly interesting things with the team's rotation and bullpen. Cole Hamels, who has become the de facto ace of this team, will get a chance to measure up against one of the most risky lineups in the majors.

When Houston was unable to play at home in an August series because of the aftereffects of Hurricane Harvey, a plan to switch home series with Texas was not accepted by the Rangers, forcing the teams to play the three games at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. "There's plenty incentive to want to try to beat up on Texas, that's for sure". One of those expectations is to keep up with the Astros in the American League West division.

Even those who can't afford to get caught watching streaming video at the office have a decent alternative. But that's the beauty of Opening Day: Every team can pretend otherwise.

The Houston Astros finished the 2017 season with a 101-61 record and a World Series title to their name. While the they aren't necessarily expected to be among the top World Series contenders, to suggest 45 wins as a benchmark for this season is pretty silly.

The Rangers are 24-22 in home openers, and it will be the fourth time they face a World Series victor in the first game of the season.

Houston Astros Starting Pitcher Dallas Keuchel said, "Well it's the regular season so it all counts and to me this place is special since it's so close to home". Hamels will get the opening day start for Texas and was 11-6 with a 4.20 ERA and 105 strikeouts last season.

Denard Span hit a three-run triple off Carson Smith with two outs in the eighth inning as Tampa Bay earned a comeback victory against visiting Boston.

The Astros went 12-7 against the Rangers last season to win the Silver Boot Trophy for only the third time in the last 14 years.

The Rangers aren't going to be great, but they could be good enough.

CUBS 8, MARLINS 4: Ian Happ homered on the first pitch of the major league season, and Anthony Rizzo also homered, leading Chicago at Miami.

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