Astros-Yankees money line pick and a Watford-QPR play: Best Bets for August 5

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Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander celebrates on the field after the Astros defeated the New York Yankees in Game 4 of an American League Championship baseball series, Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Each day, one of our experts will offer up a best bet (or two or three) that mobile sportsbooks are offering. It might be a traditional spread bet, a player prop or one of the various odds boosts that books offer.

Here are our best bets for Saturday, Aug. 5:

TOP PLAY

The play: MLB, Astros money line over Yankees

The odds: -138

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: 1:05 p.m. (MLB Extra Innings)

Our take: Do you remember what happened the last time Justin Verlander put on a Houston Astros uniform? The future Hall of Fame pitcher won the American League Cy Young Award and his second World Series title with the team. He did all of this posting a 1.75 ERA on the season as a 39-year-old.

While Verlander hadn’t been the best version of himself with the Mets this season, he now rejoins the Astros during a dominant two-month stretch that’s seen his ERA drop from 4.85 to 3.15.

What does any of this have to do with the New York Yankees? He’s Verlander’s first opponent during his second stint with Houston.

As a member of the Mets, the reigning AL Cy Young winner faced the Yankees twice. In those appearances, he tossed 12 innings, giving up just one combined run on five hits and tallying 12 punchouts.

The last time he faced New York as a member of the Astros, things ended about the same way. He struck out 11 Yankees in six innings of one-run ball in the 2022 American League Championship Series. Suffice it to say we’ve found his favorite opponent to pitch against, which is one of the many reasons we like Houston money line (-138) in this spot.

ENGLISH SECOND-TIER SOCCER SELECTION

The play: EFL Championship, Watford money line over QPR

The odds: -115

The book: Barstool Sportsbook

Time/TV: 10 a.m. (Audio only via clubs’ official websites)

Our take: We’re predicting a London Derby to kick off the English Football Championship season with our second of two Saturday plays. Watford takes on QPR from Vicarage Road as the Hornets look for just their second win versus the Hoops since 2011.

The stats surprisingly favor the hosts, even though Watford has only beaten QPR once in their last eight meetings. The Hornets have posted a record of nine wins, six draws and one loss in their last 16 campaign-opening contests. Furthermore, QPR has won just once in its last 15 matches away from home to start a season.

Watford manager Valerien Ismael has never lost to QPR boss Gareth Ainsworth; Ismael-coached teams are 2-0 against Ainsworth’s sides. The Hoops will likely be without both of their starting centerbacks — Jake Clarke-Salter and Jimmy Dunne — which makes the task even more difficult.

We’re backing Watford to finally pick up three points against QPR.

HOW WE’VE FARED

Friday’s best bets

MLB: Jordan Montgomery UNDER 2.5 runs allowed vs. Marlins (WON)

MLB: Rangers money line over Marlins & UNDER 8.5 total runs (WON)

Women’s World Cup: Spain -1.5 vs. Switzerland (WON)

Friday’s record: 3-0

Total for the week: 6-3, 2 pending

Total for August: 4-3, 2 pending

Total for 2023: 180-197, 2 pending

NOTE: If a line or odds are minus, it considers the juice one must lay to place the bet. Ex: Team A is -160 on the money line, one would have to bet $160 to win $100 (or $16 to win $10). OR Team B is a 5-point favorite at -110, one would have to bet $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10.)

Conversely, on positive lines, if Team C is +140 on the money line, $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).

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