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    Astros vs. Rangers Wednesday ALCS Game 3 probable pitchers, odds, props, trends: Bettors fading Texas despite Max Scherzer's return, unbeaten playoff run

    The ALCS shifts to Texas for Game 3 on Wednesday night with the Rangers leading the Astros 2-0.

    Playing on your home field is a massive advantage in MLB. The 2023 Houston Astros didn't get the memo. They were three games under .500 at Minute Maid Park during the regular season and are 1-3 there in the postseason. So perhaps the Houston Astros are right where they want to be down 2-0 in the ALCS with action shifting to Arlington for Game 3 on Wednesday, with the Texas Rangers at -130 on the SportsLine consensus. Click here for model picks.

    At BetMGM, only 30% of the bets and 44% of the money are on the Rangers money line. On the total of 9, the Under is taking 59% of the bets and 72% of the money. The Astros at +1.5 (-175) on the run line are taking 34% of the bets and 56% of the money.

    Houston's home struggles appear to be a one-year fluke. It was a combined 61-27 at Minute Maid Park last year including the playoffs (just one postseason loss) en route to winning the World Series. In the 2023 regular season, Dusty Baker's club led the American League in road runs (462), homers (130), batting average (.268) and OPS (.798). Houston pitchers had an AL-best 3.62 road ERA. It is also 7-1 on the road in the playoffs since 2022.

    One big reason the Astros are down 2-0 – other than Texas jumping out early leads in both and never trailing – is that All-Star outfielder Kyle Tucker is struggling. Tucker, the team's regular-season MVP, is 0-for-8 in this series and 2-for-22 in the playoffs with one RBI. Tucker hit fifth in the lineup in Game 1 of the ALCS and was moved up to third in Game 2. Baker hinted he was thinking about moving him further down the lineup for Game 3. Tucker hasn't hit lower than fifth this year.

    He is 1-for-6 with two walks against Rangers starting pitcher Max Scherzer, who takes the mound for the first time in a game since Sept. 12 due to a low-grade strain of the teres major muscle in his right shoulder. It's a minor upset that the three-time Cy Young winner is back already, as his recovery was originally projected to take as long as six weeks.

    Scherzer threw 69 pitches in simulated game a week ago and is expected to throw roughly that many Wednesday. He was 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA in eight starts with Rangers after being acquired from Mets. By far his worst outing with Texas came on Sept. 6 at home vs. Houston, when he allowed a season-high seven earned runs and three homers – including a grand slam to Jose Abreu. Scherzer is set at over/under 1.5 earned runs and 12.5 outs recorded and is +425 for a win. The odds on the last prop are so long because he may not stay in the game long enough to qualify for a W.

    Several Astros have good splits off him, led by red-hot Yordan Alvarez -- he's 4-for-7 off Scherzer with a homer and three walks. Alvarez had two solo homers in the Game 2 loss. He leads all players with six dingers in these playoffs and is +260 to go yard tonight. Since Sept. 5 (29 games), Alvarez is batting .327 with 14 homers and 28 RBI. One of the most popular prop bets tonight is Alvarez 1.5 hits + runs + RBI at -130. 

    Texas is 7-0 in these playoffs, outscoring opponents 39-16. It's tied for the second-longest win streak to start a postseason all-time. The only home game of those seven was the clinching Game 3 of the ALDS, a 7-1 win over Baltimore on Oct. 10. This will be only the Rangers' second home game since Sept 24. Their 50-31 (.617) home record in the regular season was the second best in the AL.

    Astros right-hander Cristian Javier was rather mediocre during the regular season with a 4.56 ERA but has three straight scoreless playoff starts spanning 16.1 innings dating to 2022. He is only the fourth pitcher in postseason history with at least straight scoreless starts of a minimum of five innings. Javier's only start this year vs. Texas was on July 3 -- he allowed a career-high eight earned runs over 4.1 innings.

    Javier is set at O/U 2.5 earned runs and 12.5 outs recorded and is also +425 for a win. Corey Seager has solid splits off him at 5-for-20 with two doubles and two homers. Seager Over 1.5 total bases is -120.

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