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USATSI

The Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners will begin the 2020 regular season on Friday with an AL West matchup. On paper, it appears to be a lopsided affair: the Astros are again a favorite to win the American League pennant, while the Mariners are unlikely to be competitive for another year, at minimum.

Here's what you need to know and how you can watch the game.

How can I watch the game?

When: Friday, Jul. 24 | Time: 9:10 p.m. ET
Venue: T-Mobile Park (Seattle, Washington)
TV: AT&T Sportsnet Southwest and ROOT Northwest 
Stream: fuboTV (Try for free) in Houston region

What do I need to know about the pitching matchup?

Justin Verlander will be making his third Opening Day start with the Astros, and the 12th of his career. Had Opening Day occurred on March 26, he would have missed that game due to injury. Nevertheless, Verlander is back and ready to roll. His arsenal these days is heavy on three pitches: a mid-90s fastball and a pair of swing-and-miss breaking balls. Verlander is 18 innings away from cracking 3,000 for his career.

Marco Gonzales doesn't have the same name value as Verlander, but he's making his second consecutive Opening Day start. Whereas Verlander is all about power, Gonzales is more of a finesse pitcher. His fastball averages 89 mph and he has to keep batters honest with a heavy dosage of changeups, cutters, and curveballs. Here's a fun piece of trivia: Gonzales will be the first Mariners pitcher to start consecutive Opening Day besides Felix Hernandez since Jamie Moyer.

What about the starting lineups?

By now, you ought to know the Astros lineup. There's Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman and George Springer and so on and so forth. The only notable tweak here is that Yordan Alvarez, typically Houston's DH, has been sidelined for undisclosed reasons. He figures to be replaced in the lineup by former top prospect Kyle Tucker.

The Mariners had a quiet offseason, to the extent that they aren't expected to have anyone in their lineup or on their bench who wasn't already with the organization last year. We'll give you three players to watch: catcher Tom Murphy, who broke out last season; first baseman Evan White, who will be making his big-league debut; and outfielder Kyle Lewis, who has overcome injuries to make good on his promise. 

What are the oddsmakers saying about this game?

  • Odds: HOU -280 | SEA +240 | O/U: 8.5 runs

So who wins? And which side of the money line has all the value? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the money line you should be all over, all from the advanced model that has crushed its MLB picks, and find out.    

OK, give me your pick

Anything can happen in a single game. Still, we have to go with the Astros here. (Sorry, Mariners fans.)