The Astros' quest to repeat as American League champions begins today with a national television matchup against the White Sox. Along with looking to build on their incredible 2022 season that saw them win 106 games before winning a world championship, the Astros are also looking to keep their opening day streak alive, as they’re 10 on Opening Day since moving to the American League. The first pitch is set for 7:08 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised on ESPN.
At DraftKings Sportsbook, the Astros are -150 favorites on the moneyline, while the White Sox are +130. The run total is set at 7.5.
White Sox-Astros picks: Thursday, March 30
Out: RP Liam Hendriks (non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma)
Out: 2B Jose Altuve (thumb), SP, Lance McCullers Jr. (forearm), DH Michael Brantley (shoulder)
Today’s starting pitching matchup puts two top-five finishers in the AL Cy Young race from last season, as Cease finished as the runner-up and Valdez came in fifth. Cease, who went 14-8 with a 2.20 ERA last season, is making his first Opening Day start. Cease recorded 227 strikeouts against only 78 walks in 184 innings last season.
Valdez will be making his second straight Opening Day start after leading the American League in innings pitched (201 1/3) and quality starts (26) last season. Valdez went 17-6 with a 2.82 ERA and three complete games last season.
As mentioned above, today’s game will be a battle of aces, which should lead to runs being at a premium. Whenever Valdez comes out, the Astros will be able to lean on their incredible bullpen, which is led by All-Star closer Ryan Pressly and had a 2.80 ERA, which was the best relief ERA in baseball. The Astros might get some hits against the Sox ‘pen, but the Astros will spend the night shutting the White Sox down.
Pick: Under 7.5
No surprises here: the Astros should start their defense of the World Series with a win. While there are serious questions about how the team will be able to handle Altuve’s injury, the Astros should cruise to a win tonight.
Pick: Astros ML