The Houston Astros have had command most of the way in the American League West, but went on a skid that opened the door, as the Los Angeles Angels got hot. The Boston Red Sox are struggling with a big payroll but the worst record in the AL. These teams will tangle in a Thursday night game (starting time 8:05 PM ET) at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Customers at BetAnySports are going to be able to place wagers after the first pitch is thrown when they access the lively feature of Live Betting Extra.

The Astros, looking for a series sweep, have won four out of their last five games, but that came on the heels of a string of eight losses in nine contests. Overall, they are 53-43 and sit two games behind the Angels in the West. They are also two games ahead of the Minnesota Twins for the first wild card slot.

The Red Sox, who have lost seven games in a row, are kind of missing the boat in the AL East race. The Yankees lead it, but the Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays are jockeying for position after that, while Boston (42-53) is eleven games behind.

Taking the mound for the Red Sox is Wade Miley, who is coming off a very impressive outing but has certainly not been that consistent over the course of the season (8-8, 4.49 ERA). The Astros will counter with Lance McCullers, a rookie who has been an extremely difficult guy to get to at Minute Maid Park.

In the MLB betting odds that have been established on this game by the people at BetAnySports, the Astros are the favorites:

Houston Astros (McCullers) -149
Boston Red Sox (Miley) +139

Over 7.5 runs -115
Under 7.5 runs -105

The Red Sox have lost six games in the standings in the last two weeks, and they have had all kinds of headaches scoring runs, with just nine in the last six games. Houston has won the first two games of this series, hitting four homers, and have tallied 28 runs in the last four games. The Astros lead the major leagues in home runs with 132. Meanwhile, in this six-game losing skein, the Sox have hit just one round-tripper.

McCullers (4-3, 2.52 ERA) pitched against Boston at Fenway Park on July 5. While he allowed just one run in five innings, he did permit ten base runners (seven hits, three walks). BetAnySports patrons who have followed the very interesting story of the Astros this season may have noticed that McCullers has a 1.20 ERA at home, where he has allowed 16 hits in 30 innings. For those who are not aware of it, the Astros lost 416 games over the four previous season, but their revolutionary use of analytics is starting to bear fruit.

Miley has not met up with THIS Houston team, but when he last encountered them, he allowed four runs in five innings (June 12 of last season). Miley went into his last start having yielding 13 runs in his last three outings (17 innings), but he took the mound in his first appearance since the All-Star break and had a no-hitter through six innings. He exited after seven frames having given up one hit.

Houston is still +1050 to win the American League pennant, but in the opinion of many skeptics, they have peaked and will have enough difficulty holding onto their position as a projected wild card team.

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