ALCS Game 1 MLB Odds & Picks: Red Sox vs. Astros Betting Preview (October 15)
Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images. Pictured: Rafael Devers
Red Sox vs. Astros ALCS Game 1 Odds
|Red Sox Odds||+120|
|Time||8:07 p.m. ET|
After finishing dead last in the AL East last year, the Red Sox turned things around and won 92 games this year to return to the postseason for the first time since their 2018 World Series.
Boston took care of the Yankees in the Wild Card game and then won three-straight to close out the Tampa Bay Rays in four games.
The Houston Astros won the AL West with 95 wins and a +205 run differential, the second highest in the league. It is the Astros’ fifth straight postseason appearance. It is also Houston’s fifth straight year winning a playoff series after they beat the Chicago White Sox 3-1 in the ALDS.
The Astros went 5-2 against the Red Sox this year, but Houston is going to be without ace Lance McCullers for the series, and Boston is riding a ton of mojo right now. But who has the advantage in Game 1?
Boston Red Sox
Boston will hand the ball to seven-time All-Star Chris Sale (LHP) on Friday, although it has been a bit of a strange season for Sale. After missing all of last season and most of this year after Tommy John surgery, Sale made his season debut on August 14. He made nine regular season starts, going 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA and 3.35 xFIP.
The biggest dip in Sale’s numbers post-injury has been his strikeout production. After posting a K/9 rate over 13.3 in 2018 and 2019, he recorded just a 10.97 K/9 rate in his starts this year. While still very good, it is not quite the elite level we are used to seeing from Sale.
If Boston is going to continue its postseason run, the bats need to stay hot and carry them. The Sox finished the season third in wOBA and sixth in wRC+.
So far this postseason, they have gotten contributions from their entire lineup as nine different players have tallied at least five hits through the first five games. They have gotten home runs from seven different players, and Kiké Hernandez, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and Kyle Schwarber all have multiple dingers. Hernandez leads all postseason players with 10 hits.
It was a breakout season in Houston for 27-year old Framber Valdez (LHP). In his fourth season, and first as a consistent starter, Valdez went 11-6 with a 3.14 ERA and 3.58 xFIP.
Valdez has a limited pitching arsenal for a starter, predominately relying on his sinker (52.6%), as well as a curveball (30.8%), changeup (11.4%) and the rare fastball (5.2%).
He can get away with such a limited pitch selection because of how dominant his curveball is. Sitting in the top 10% of the league in spin rate, his curveball has allowed just a .125 batting average against and has a 46.6% strikeout rate.
Whether they are up to their old tricks or not, Houston’s offense has been incredible this year. They ranked second in wOBA and led the league in wRC+. They have the lowest strikeout rate in the league at just 19.4%.
It has been the usual suspects getting it done in the postseason for the Astros. Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Michael Brantley have been dominant as expected. 24-year old Kyle Tucker is also building off his breakout season, leading the team with two home runs and seven RBIs.
Red Sox-Astros Pick
While both of these teams hit right-handed pitchers better than they do lefties, like they will each face on Friday, both offenses are red hot. Boston is averaging 6.4 runs per game this postseason while the Astros are averaging 7.8.
Despite the splits favoring the pitchers, both lineups seemed to have no problems with southpaws in the previous series. Houston posted a .351 average and .861 OPS against lefties, and Boston hit .394 with a .927 OPS against them.
On top of that, neither pitcher exactly put forth an inspiring performance in his outing last series. Valdez allowed seven hits and four runs in 4 1/3 innings against the White Sox, and Sale got lit up for five runs and last just one inning against the Rays.
Both lineups are playing with a ton of confidence and have been getting contributions from top-to-bottom. Neither of these teams has an overly dominant bullpen, and I think we could see some fireworks on Friday night. I will play over 8 down at -115 or better.
Pick: Over 8 (-110)
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