Yankees vs Astros ALCS Game 2 Picks, Predictions, Odds, Projections
Logan Riely/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: The Yankees meet on the mound during Game 1.
- The Astros are favored in Game 2 of the ALCS tonight against the Yankees.
- Should they be? We have expert projections detailing where the value lies tonight.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of how to bet tonight's ALCS game in Houston.
Throughout the Major League Baseball playoffs, I will provide a daily breakdown summarizing my thoughts on both futures and individual games for that day.
Below, I will address how to handle betting on these playoff series, whether on the series moneyline or a game-by-game basis, while using my daily MLB Model projections.
You can also shop for the best lines on our odds page.
Using my projections, where can we find actionable value on Thursday?
Series Moneyline Corner
First, let's take a look at my updated projected series prices for the two League Championship Series after Wednesday's contests:
The Phillies NL pennant chances dropped by 14.8% with their Game 2 loss. And I view the NLCS as a coin flip, more or less. Their pennant and series odds are currently between -105 to -110, depending on the book.
I would need plus money to bet the Phillies pennant or series odds before Game 3 — which amounts to a best-of-five series with the first three games at home. And I would need to show a more significant edge than that to add additional liability to our preexisting position on the Phillies.
The Astros only improved their chances by 13.4% with their Game 1 win. Every other game in this ALCS should be priced more evenly than a Justin Verlander-Jameson Taillon matchup.
On Wednesday, I said to wait until after Game 1 to bet on the Yankees — and you now have a couple of options.
I show value on the Yankees series and AL pennant odds, which sit as high as +280 (26.3% implied) at Caesars. However, that edge on the series price is less significant than the edge for my Game 2 projection, so I would undoubtedly choose the single-game bet over the series futures at current odds.
If the Game 2 moneyline comes down toward my price targets closer to first pitch, but the series prices remain at +270 to +280, you may want to opt for the series price at that point.
Additionally, I'm still not intending to hedge my Astros pennant future. If you tailed that pre-playoff future at +175, you could secure a unit of profit by betting around three-quarters of a unit on the Yankees at +280 before Game 2.
It would be a more difficult decision if I showed a more significant edge on the series price than the Game 2 odds; however, it's clear that the majority of my series edge for the Yankees boils down to my projection for Game 2 (and presumably the same matchup in Game 6).
Otherwise, +256 (28.1% implied) is an appropriate target for the Yankees series odds.
New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros, 7:37 p.m. ET
Luis Severino vs. Framber Valdez full projections here)
While Game 2 isn't quite must-win territory for the Yankees — particularly with Gerrit Cole lined up for Game 3 — I would drop their series chances to around 17%, headed home with a two-game deficit.
I am significantly higher on the Yankees' Game 2 win probability than the betting market, setting their first-five innings (F5) probability at 48% (+108 implied odds) and their full game probability at 46.3% (+116), compared to listed odds as high as +135 (42.5%) and +145 (40.8%) respectively.
At those odds, the Yankees seem like the clear betting side.
I don't project a material difference between Luis Severino (2.94 xERA, 3.38 xFIP) and Framber Valdez (3.31 xERA, 3.37 xFIP). If anything, Severino has better stuff, superior command and a higher ceiling.
Valdez is more consistent and unique. The southpaw posted the highest combined rate of groundballs and pop-ups (75.6%) among all pitchers besides Clay Holmes. He allows very few outfield flyballs and carries a tremendously low home run rate. As a result, he offers a notable suppression skill against MLB's most homer-happy offense.
However, the Yankees hit lefties (119 wRC+, 3rd) better than righties (113 wRC+, 4th) this season, while the Astros remain in their lesser split against a righty. And the Yankees have a top-five offense against curveballs this season — Valdez'z main pitch aside from his sinker.
Severino returned from the IL in September and flashed stuff he hadn't shown since 2018. And he carried his re-found velocity level into his playoff start against the Guardians (averaged 97.6 mph).
Severino's best pitch is his slider, and the Astros rated much closer to average against sliders than they did against fastballs or changeups. Still, the increased velocity level will help all three pitches play up, and as long as Severino can maintain this velocity, his arsenal is ace caliber.
Given the handedness splits, the Yankees' offense gets a slight nod for Game 2, on top of their anticipated defensive advantage, which is worth around three percent to my projection on its own.
The Yankees finished first (+129), and the Astros fourth (+67) in Defensive Runs Saved this season. Still, the Yankees had positive production at every position except for center field — and they added Harrison Bader to shore up that spot.
Houston returned negative value at all four infield spots, with positive value at each outfield spot — the opposite of what you want to support a worm burner like Valdez. Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman both rated well below average on the defensive end.
So, the Yankees have the better starting pitcher, offense, and defense for Thursday, and I give Houston an edge for their bullpen and home field.
Even as a fan of Valdez, this line seemed disrespectful to both the Yankees and Severino. I would bet the Yankees' F5 moneyline down to +117 and their full game line to +126.
Additionally, I projected the total closer to 6.3, and you can bet an Under 7 to -116 or an Under 6.5 to +102.