ALCS Game 2 Odds, Picks: Red Sox vs. Astros Betting Preview (October 16)
Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images. Pictured: Nathan Eovaldi
- The Red Sox are underdogs in Game 2 of the ALCS as they look to even the series with the Astros.
- Boston has its ace, Nathan Eovaldi, on the mound against Houston's Luis Garcia.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of the matchup, including a betting prediction.
Red Sox vs. Astros Odds
|Red Sox Odds||+100|
|Over/Under||8.5 (-120 / +100)|
|Time||4:20 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
After dropping a tight Game 1 in Houston, the Red Sox will fire their best bullet in Nathan Eovaldi on Saturday to get level in the series. Boston’s ace owns a 2.61 ERA in this year’s postseason and will bring that into a rock fight with the talented Luis Garcia, who has struggled in October.
Is this where the Red Sox announce themselves in the series behind a strong pitching performance? Let’s get into how to bet this one.
Red Sox Offense To Back Eovaldi
All the talk this postseason has been about how great the Astros’ offense is, but Boston has proven it can easily keep pace with Houston in that regard. In fact, this Red Sox team is better at the moment. They lead the postseason with a .912 OPS and a resounding 13 home runs, seven more than Houston, which has played one fewer game.
The Red Sox’s three runs on six hits and three walks off of Framber Valdez on Friday were encouraging, considering the lefty is probably Houston’s best arm at the moment. Scoring just one run off Houston’s bullpen, on a solo shot in the ninth, was not.
Things are supposed to get easier against these Astros relievers, not harder, and the Red Sox must win the battle of the bullpens if they are going to win this series.
Tanner Houck and Hansel Robles are probably the two best relievers Boston has, and they were the ones to blow the game. It’s easy to forgive them considering the ridiculously talented offense they’re up against, but that’s going to need to turn for Boston.
After Chris Sale was able to give Alex Cora just 2 2/3 innings on Friday, he’ll be relieved to see his ace on the hill in Eovaldi. The Red Sox will let him go as long as he possibly can to save these relief arms, and so far this postseason he’s been a nightmare for the opposition.
He’s pitched in two winning efforts, striking out 16 hitters in 10 1/3 innings and yielding just three runs. His postseason ERA now stands at 1.93 in his career, spanning eight appearances.
Bullpen Key For Astros
We know the Astros can hit — that’s no surprise — but the aforementioned performance by their bullpen on Friday was definitely staggering. Cristian Javier had been in the midst of a rut, and he turned in two solid innings, allowing just a hit and striking out four.
Furthermore, it was great for Houston to see its three trade deadline acquisitions — Yimi Garcia, Phil Maton and Kendall Graveman — allow just two baserunners and strike out three over 2 1/3 combined innings.
This is a unit that ranked in the bottom-half of the league with a 4.04 ERA in September and October and had a 4.06 ERA all season to sit 15th. It was a perfectly average bullpen, but one which let lots of games slip, hence the acquisitions of Garcia, Maton and Graveman. Things have picked up in a big way, though, with Friday night’s performance bringing the bullpen’s ERA down to 3.42 in the postseason.
It’s worth noting here that Houston did use seven relievers, so like Boston it will also have a pretty tired stable. The difference here is that it’s hard to guarantee length out of Garcia. The youngster had dominated for most of the season but slipped ever so slightly down the stretch with a 3.67 ERA in September.
Those struggles carried over to the postseason where he lasted just 2 2/3 innings in a loss to the White Sox, allowing five earned runs on five hits and three walks. You would expect Garcia’s leash to be around five innings anyway, so this bullpen will be tested.
Red Sox-Astros Pick
Put bluntly, Eovaldi is a better pitcher than Garcia, and he should last much longer here to give Boston’s bullpen a break. That should be a huge advantage for the Red Sox, who are also at least as good as the Astros offensively right now.
I think this is where Boston gets on the board. Houston’s bullpen should be thrust into action early, and considering it remained a disappointment for so many months, it’s easy to look past the one-game sample and fade it. Eovaldi’s length should set the table for a big night for the Red Sox offense.
Pick: Red Sox ML (+100)