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Royals vs. Astros: Picks, predictions, how to watch Thursday’s game

We go over how to watch Thursday’s game between the Royals and Astros and make some picks.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Houston Astros Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Royals and Houston Astros square off on Thursday with first pitch set for 2:10 p.m. ET. The game takes place at Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX and will be available on local TV or on MLB Network. Kris Bubic will take the ball for the Royals against Justin Verlander for the Astros.

The Royals (29-50) dropped the first two games of the series and will look to salvage a second win to split the series Thursday. They are 2-3 in their last five games averaging 5.2 runs per game, and the Royals' pitching staff has a 4.98 ERA on the season, which ranks 27th in the league. Andrew Benintendi has been a bright spot for the Royals hitting .421 with eight hits, five RBI and a .996 OPS.

The Astros ( 53-27) are white-hot right now, riding an eight-game winning streak and a 9-1 record in their last ten games overall. The offense is averaging 6.2 runs per game over the win streak and shows no signs of slowing down, up nearly two runs per game over the season average. Verlander has been one of the best pitchers in the league this season at 10-3 with a 2.03 ERA, 90 strikeouts and 17 walks.

Royals vs. Astros

Pitchers: Kris Bubic vs. Justin Verlander
First pitch: 2:10 p.m. ET
Royals local broadcast: Bally Sports Kansas City
Astros local broadcast: ATT SportsNet-SW
Live stream: MLB Network

Odds, picks & predictions

Run Line: Royals +1.5 (+120) Astros -1.5 (-140)
Run total: Over/Under 8.5
Moneyline odds: Royals +245 Astros -295

Moneyline pick: Astros -295

With the Astros on a win streak and Verlander on the mound, this seems like a lock. The righty is 23-10 with a 3.20 ERA and 272 strikeouts in his career against the Royals. Bubic has a 7.06 ERA on the year, which doesn’t bode well against an Astros team that is tearing the cover off the ball right now. Take the Astros.

Player prop pick: Justin Verlander Under 6.5 strikeouts (-135)

The Astros starter is not striking out batters at as high of a rate as he has previously during his MLB career. His K/9 is down to 8.3 this season through 15 starts, and he will face a Royals lineup that strikes out 7.6 times per game, which is the fifth-fewest in the league.

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