Red Sox vs Astros Prediction Thursday | MLB Odds, Picks Today (August 24)

Red Sox vs Astros Prediction Thursday | MLB Odds, Picks Today (August 24) article feature image

Pictured: Triston Casas. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Red Sox vs. Astros Odds

Thursday, August 24
2:10 p.m. ET
Red Sox Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
-105 / -115
Astros Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
-105 / -115
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

I love this matchup. 

The Red Sox and Astros boast two entertaining lineups, and these are two fun, young starting pitchers. Brayan Bello and J.P. France should be stalwarts of their respective rotations over the next few seasons.

But which lineup and pitcher will come out victorious in this one? 

Read on for my best bet and prediction for Red Sox vs. Astros on Thursday.

Check out our MLB Betting Hub for more previews from today's slate.

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox feature a deep, grinding lineup that hits right-handed pitching hard. 

They have a solid back-end bullpen anchored by Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin and Josh Winckowski. Boston is also an MLB-best 52-3 when leading after six innings this season, which is mind-boggling considering last year’s bullpen debacles. 

Unfortunately, the team is hamstrung by a historically bad defense. 

The Red Sox aren’t just bad at fielding. They’re horrific. 

Boston has accumulated -54 Outs Above Average (OAA) this year. That’s 31 runs worse than any other team in baseball.

The worst defensive team of the Statcast era is the 2017 Mets, who finished 70-92 with -58 OAA. The Sox are on pace to beat that mark handily. 

The Sox fare moderately better by Fielding Bible’s Defensive Runs Saved (-26, 27th) and FanGraphs’ Def metric (-31.7, last by 5.8), but altogether, it’s disgusting. The Red Sox have an MLB-high 90 errors and an MLB-low .980 fielding percentage. 

At one point this season, third basemen Rafael Devers ranked in the 99th percentile in OAA. Well, he now ranks in the third percentile. 

Chaim Bloom fixed the bullpen in this past offseason. He’ll need to fix the defense this offseason.

Starting pitcher: Brayan Bello (RHP)

Bello has an uncanny ability to force whiffs and strikeouts.

His sinker forces ground balls (69%) and his changeup forces swinging strikes (24%). He uses his four-seam fastball and slider to keep platoons honest, and it’s been working for him. 

He’s had his ups and downs this year, but Bello has also shown flashes of ace potential. He’s a rookie, so we can’t expect too much of him. 

At minimum, Bello’s become a Boston hero for his performances against the Yankees. 

Brayan Bello has a 1.45 ERA in 5 career starts against the Yankees (31.0 IP, 5 ER, 0 HR).

5.0 IP, 0 ER
6.0 IP, 1 ER
7.0 IP, 2 ER
7.0 IP, 1 ER
6.0 IP, 1 ER

— J.P. Long (@SoxNotes) August 19, 2023

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Houston Astros

The Astros are trending up. 

Everyone is healthy, and they added Justin Verlander at the deadline. The result has been a 22-14 record with a +40 run differential in the second half. 

Houston has snuck to within a game of the Rangers in the AL West race, and I think they’ll win it. PECOTA projects the Astros with a 65% chance to win the division. FanGraphs is at 51%. 

The lineup has been driving this recent success. Over the past two weeks, Houston ranks: 

  • Fourth in OPS (.853)
  • Fourth in wRC+ (136)
  • Fourth in wOBA (.369)
  • First in strikeout rate (18%)
  • Fifth in walk rate (10%)
  • First in zone-contact rate (89%)

Surprisingly, the Astros haven't been hitting the ball that hard during this surge. Instead, they’ve been leaning on rock-solid discipline and good at-bats, with an ounce of power from Yordan Alvaraez. 

Alvarez has been hurt this season and hasn’t been hitting to his normal lofty standards since returning (.279/.370/.477 for an .847 OPS). However, his Statcast profile is still elite.

Yordan Alvarez

— Tanner McGrath (@tannerstruth) August 24, 2023

The pitching staff hasn’t been performing up to snuff, but that’s likely because Framber Valdez and Cristian Javier are having subpar seasons.

Luckily, today’s starter is doing just fine.

Starting pitcher: J.P. France (RHP)

France has been holding it down for the Astros. The rookie right-hander has a 2.75 ERA over 17 starts and hasn’t allowed more than two runs in a start since June 16 (Houston is 8-3 in those games). 

Unfortunately, his underlying statistical profile indicates regression. 

France pairs his low ERA with a 4.39 xERA because he allows too much hard contact and doesn’t induce enough ground balls. 

He has one of the highest-spinning fastballs in the Majors, but doesn’t force enough swinging strikes (28th percentile in Whiff rate and fifth percentile in Chase rate). 

France has a five-pitch arsenal that moves in all kinds of ways, so he ranks pretty high in Stuff+ (104 across his arsenal). His ceiling is high, but for the time being, I find him a tad overvalued.

Red Sox vs. Astros

Betting Pick & Prediction

Bello has been mercurial this season, but I believe in his arsenal. 

The Houston lineup has been awesome recently, but they’ve been mediocre against Bello’s arsenal. Since July 1, the Astros boast the fourth-lowest team OPS against right-handed sinkers and changeups (.666). 

Meanwhile, France is due for regression and I think Boston’s grinding lineup can force that. 

The Red Sox have several talented lefties in the fold and France is not immune to platoon splits (.253 wOBA against righties, .330 against lefties). 

Both bullpens are talented, but I give Boston a slight advantage based on recent underlying numbers. 

So, I like the Red Sox as short-road dogs here. I just hope their defense doesn’t shoot them in the foot again.

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