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MLB Monday best bets: Astros to shine in Detroit

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We're headed for a pretty quiet Monday in MLB as only 16 of 30 teams are set to be in action.

Let's take a look at the best ways to attack the slate.

Astros (-210) @ Tigers (+180)

The Houston Astros have won seven of 10 and enter this contest with a five-game lead over the New York Yankees for the AL's top spot.

They're positioned well to continue their winning ways against the Detroit Tigers, who they've beaten in all four meetings this season.

Houston will have Framber Valdez taking the mound. He's on a different level right now, having conceded two runs or fewer in five consecutive games while pitching at least 6 2/3 innings.

Valdez owns a 2.20 ERA over the last month, while his 2.88 FIP over that span signals this strong stretch of play is no fluke. The southpaw has also struck out nearly 30% of opposing batters and posted an insane 63.9% ground-ball rate during this time.

While the Tigers hit lefties better than righties, they're not exactly scary. They sit 20th in wOBA and 26th in ISO since the beginning of August. Detroit has also grounded out more than any team aside from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Tigers' weaknesses play right into Valdez's strengths, which should help him stay hot with another strong showing.

Meanwhile, Houston's bats figure to be in for a good day at the plate against Eduardo Rodriguez. He owns a 5.71 FIP over four starts during the past 30 days and has allowed fly balls at a higher rate than all of Monday's projected starters.

The Astros have a lot of power in their lineup and hit lefties very well, so E-Rod could be in serious trouble if he's unable to keep the ball down.

Three of Houston's last four wins were only by a run. Look for the Astros to buck that trend and be a little more convincing this time around.

Bet: Astros -1.5 (-120)

Cubs (+240) @ Mets (-290)

The New York Mets are heating up. After a bit of a rough stretch, they've responded by winning four of the last five games while scoring 37 runs during that stretch.

Their offense should be able to stay hot against the inexperienced Javier Assad. While his counting numbers are pretty good to date - he owns a 2.94 ERA through 15 major-league innings - he's recorded a 4.62 FIP, has walked nearly 11% of opposing batters, and has given up plenty of hard contact.

The Mets sit third in wOBA versus right-handed pitching over the last couple of weeks. They're capable of taking advantage of a young pitcher who's going to make some mistakes.

I think the Chicago Cubs will have a much harder time generating offense in this game. Chris Bassitt owns a sparkling 2.55 FIP over the last month, which is actually a tad lower than his ERA (2.59).

He hasn't enjoyed success by blowing pitches by opponents. Instead, Bassitt has induced grounders at a high clip and limited hard-hit balls. None of Monday's projected starters have fared better in terms of suppressing hard contact over the past month.

The Cubs haven't fared great at the dish of late - they're 25th in wOBA versus righties over the past three weeks - and I don't expect that to change against Bassitt.

Look for the Mets to pick up a multi-run win.

Bet: Mets -1.5 (-135)

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.

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