Red Sox vs. Astros Odds, Expert Picks: 3 Best Bets For ALCS Game 1 (October 15)
Cooper Neill/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Yordan Alvarez
It’s a pair of lefties on the mound in Chris Sale and Framber Valdez, and the Astros are favored across the board to take care of business in their home park.
Our analysts have found three ways to bet this game, including differing sides on the moneylines and one player prop. Here are our best bets for Friday’s ALCS Game 1.
MLB Odds & Picks
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Michael Arinze: If the Boston Red Sox could start Nathan Eovaldi every game this series, they’d probably do so. However, that’s not feasible, which means that Chris Sale will start ALCS Game 1 against the Astros. Sale hasn’t completed three innings in his last two outings, and he was pulled after the first inning when he gave up five runs against the Rays in the ALDS.
This is a tough spot for a pitcher who made just nine regular-season starts after coming off Tommy John surgery. I’m unsure what to expect from him, but I know I won’t be running to the window to back him. The batter-pitcher splits favor Houston’s lineup, considering that in 138 at-bats, it has a .239/.291/.399 line against Sale in addition to a .159 ISO.
Opposing Sale will be Framber Valdez, who went 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in last year’s playoffs. Like Sale, Valdez got touched up in the ALDS as he allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings of work. However, he’s had success against Boston’s current lineup that, in 64 at-bats, has a .219/.275/.281 line against him with a .062 ISO.
Nonetheless, I think it’s fair to expect both offenses to come out swinging in the series opener. The total’s been bet up from 8 to 8.5, and as a result, I’d much rather prefer to side with a Houston team that led all of baseball with a wRC+ of 116.
The Astros have also obliterated left-handed pitching in the playoffs. They have a .351/.429/.432 line in 37 at-bats against them, and they hit for a higher average, slugging and OPS against them in the regular season. That could be the difference with Valdez, who went at least seven innings and limited the Red Sox to just one run when he faced them twice this season.
Red Sox Moneyline
Kenny Ducey: Nothing about taking the Red Sox here feels good, particularly with Chris Sale on the hill, but it does seem likely that they come away with one game in Houston given these pitching matchups. Furthermore, it’s imperative to look at the larger body of work for Boston’s hurler as opposed to his last outing, which saw him allow five runs on four hits and a walk in just one inning against the Rays last week.
Sale was pretty dominant upon returning to the Red Sox rotation in August, striking out 52 hitters in 42 ⅔ innings and pitching to just a 3.16 ERA. Even if his whiff rates weren’t exactly where they were in 2019, his peripherals were still solid, leaving no indication that he was due for regression in the postseason.
The Astros have been the best team all year against left-handed pitching in terms of wRC+, which makes fading them in this spot tough in any capacity, but I believe in what Sale has shown us in the last two months enough to forgive him for a tough outing against Tampa Bay.
Framber Valdez, on the other hand, has allowed four earned runs in his last two outings and I generally distrust him given his very high 44.4% hard-hit rate. Though he does induce a lot of ground balls, the Red Sox have been making hard contact at a ridiculous rate all postseason and surely could pose problems here.
Yordan Alvarez Total Bases
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DJ James: Yordan Alvarez was a key part of the Astros’ ALDS win against the White Sox, putting up a 1.165 OPS in 11 at-bats. Alvarez hit lefties well this season, especially August 1 and beyond. He owned a 175 wRC+, and given his ability to accrue extra-base hits, his total base props looks to be a market inefficiency. In that same timeframe, he had 12 extra-base hits and eight singles against left-handers.
Sale is strong when facing a fellow left-hander, but he is coming off of two weak appearances. In fact, he allowed five earned runs to the Tampa Bay Rays on October 8. He ended the regular season in a 2 1/3 inning appearance with two earned runs and four hits. There is a high probability he is still shaky.