Rays vs. Astros prediction and odds for Saturday, July 29 (Houston has pitching advantage)

Hunter Brown should lead Houston to a win on Saturday.

Houston Astros starting pitcher Hunter Brown.
Houston Astros starting pitcher Hunter Brown. / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays handed the Houston Astros their second straight loss on Friday, giving them a four-game lead over Houston in the American League wild card race. 

Tampa Bay’s season has been very up and down, as the team has taken a massive step back after a historic start in April, partially because of its injuries in the pitching staff to the likes of Drew Rasmussen and Jeffrey Springs. 

That’s led to top prospect Taj Bradley (5-6, 5.30 ERA) joining the rotation, and he’s on the mound again on Saturday. 

He takes on Houston youngster Hunter Brown (6-7, 4.19 ERA) in what could be a battle of two future Cy Young candidates in the American League. 

Let’s dive into the odds for this matchup, as well as my best bet: 

Rays vs. Astros odds, run line and total

Rays vs. Astros prediction and pick

Even though the Rays took the opening game of the series, I can’t back them in this spot. 

Bradley has been fine this season if you look at his Fielding Independent Pitching (3.95), but he hasn’t been able to translate that into wins. 

The Rays are just 6-9 in his starts this season, and they've dropped the last five games he’s started. 

Houston has been slightly better in Brown’s outings (10-9), but the young righty deserves more credit for what he’s done in 2023. Brown enters this game with a 3.61 FIP and he’s held opponents to a .259 batting average despite getting crushed on batted balls in play (opponents are hitting .343). 

That tells me that Brown is due for some positive regression on balls in play, so I’ll take a shot on him to lead Houston to a win on Saturday. 

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.