MLB weekend betting preview: Fade Astros' beleaguered lineup
Bob Levey / Getty Images Sport / Getty

After a 2-1 start to the week, we're champing at the bit to bet on this weekend's MLB slate. Here are our favorite bets heading into the weekend.

Astros (-115) @ Mariners (-105)
April 16, 10:10 p.m. ET

Starting pitchers: Jose Urquidy (0-1, 5.23 ERA) vs. Yusei Kikuchi (2-0, 3.27)

These two pitchers aren't exactly the ones you'd expect to garner a total (eight) this low, but that's what happens when the injury report is as lengthy as it is for this game.

Five Astros hitters - Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado, and Robel Garcia - were all placed on the injured list as a result of health and safety protocols, which leaves Houston with a shell of the lineup that has gotten off to such a hot start in 2021.

The Mariners are also without top hitter Kyle Lewis, who's on the 10-day IL with a knee injury, though Seattle's lineup wasn't exactly menacing with him, anyway. Take the under between these two beleaguered squads.

Pick: Under 8

Pirates @ Brewers (N/A)
April 17, 7:10 p.m.

Starting pitchers: Trevor Cahill (0-1, 8.00) vs. Brett Anderson (1-1, 4.50)

Which Cahill will we see on the mound Saturday? Will it be the one who allowed seven runs to a pedestrian Reds lineup on April 6 or the one who held the Padres to one run on three hits through five frames Monday?

The peripherals suggest it'll be the former. Cahill has upped his K% the last two years but has struggled to keep the ball in the yard, which is exactly the type of matchup that this talented but inconsistent Brewers lineup needs.

Anderson has been tagged on a few hard-hit balls, too, which is an anomaly for the longtime ground-ball pitcher. The Pirates have the lowest hard-hit rate (32.3%) in the majors and pounded most batted balls into the ground thus far, which should play right into Anderson's strengths.

Pick: Brewers (TBD)

Diamondbacks @ Nationals (N/A)
April 18, 4:05 p.m.

Starting pitchers: Madison Bumgarner (0-2, 11.20) vs. Stephen Strasburg (0-1, 6.30)

If this matchup were in 2016, I'd be pounding the table for the under. Instead, five years later, this pitching matchup sets up one of the easiest over plays on the board.

Bumgarner isn't the pitcher he was a few years ago, and he's struggled to reinvent himself. His fastball is still a tick below 90 mph, and his cutter has been absolutely blasted thus far, allowing a 1.000 slugging percentage on 110 pitches. Fittingly, only five teams have generated more weighted runs off cutters than the Nationals.

On the other side, Strasburg was a mess in his last start, allowing seven runs on eight hits - including three home runs - with five walks and only three strikeouts. The 32-year-old's velocity was down, which he attributed to faulty mechanics that led to poor command. Does that sound like a pitcher worth betting right now?

Pick: Over (TBD)

C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.

MLB weekend betting preview: Fade Astros' beleaguered lineup
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