MLB Betting: What to Make of an Alarmingly Sluggish Start for the Houston Astros

Baseball news


  • The Astros rank 29th in team ERA and 28th in opponent batting average and WHIP
  • JP France is 0-2 with an 8.22 ERA
  • Justin Verlander will make his season debut this weekend

The Houston Astros have stumbled out of the gates in 2024. They have won just six games so far, marking their worst start since 2016. They didn’t make the playoffs that season, leaving many to question their ability to turn things around this year.

Below, we’ll share what our USA Legal Betting experts think about the current state of the Houston Astros. We’ll cover why they’ve started to slow and how they could turn things around, giving you the confidence needed when betting on the team when using your favorite betting apps.

Updated Odds for the Astros 

Sports betting sites are not bailing on the Astros yet, despite an ugly start. Here are the latest odds from some of the industry’s top bookmakers:


AL West Odds 

AL Championship Odds 

World Series Odds 

FanDuel Sportsbook 




BetMGM Sportsbook 




BetRivers Sportsbook 




What Has Gone Wrong for Houston 

The biggest reason for the Astros bad start to the season is their pitching. The team currently ranks twenty-ninth in team ERA (5.39) and twenty-eighth in opponent batting average (.269) and WHIP (1.54).

Those numbers are bad enough on their own, but they get worse when you dig deeper. For example, Cristian Javier (2-0, 1.54 ERA) and Ronel Blanco (2-0, 0.86 ERA) have been the top two starters for the Astros. That is a problem considering we know both are nowhere near as good as they have shown early in 2024.

Javier served as a full member of the Astros rotation last year and finished with a 4.56 ERA. Blanco is 30 years old and has only played in 24 games before this season, posting a 4.80 ERA. That history suggests both will regress as the season goes, which is a major problem for a rotation short on depth.

Of equal concern is the play of JP France (0-2, 8.22 ERA, 1.89 WHIP) and Hunter Brown (0-3, 10.54 ERA, 2.78 WHIP). Both played their first full season in the big leagues in 2023. Brown was the better prospect but struggled with a 5.09 ERA.

France was a 28-year-old rookie who was an important part of the rotation but started to falter towards the end of the season, raising his ERA from 2.74 to 3.83 in the final two months of the season. Those struggled have manifested again in 2024, giving us serious doubts about his future as a big-league starter.

Why We Shouldn’t Count the Astros Out 

First and foremost, Houston still owns one of the best lineups in all of baseball. Despite their ugly record, the team ranks fourth in batting average (.269) and sixth in home runs (22), though they rank towards the middle of the pack in runs scored. Their early offensive success is highlighted by a monster start from Jose Altuve, who has a .382 batting average to go with five home runs and a 1.138 OPS.

In addition to the offense, Houston has also seen another strong start from Framber Valdez (0-0, 2.19 ERA). The ace is a Cy Young-level pitcher and appears set to deliver another fantastic campaign for the Astros. While the team doesn’t have depth at the position, Valdez gives them something to build around at the trade deadline.

Houston will also have Justin Verlander make his season debut after opening the year on the IL. The 41-year-old continues to pitch at a high level, but injuries have been an issue. He hasn’t made 30+ starts since the 2019 season as a result. While Verlander could be the fix that the Houston rotation so badly needs, we’ll see how big of a toll the injuries have taken on the aging ace.