On Saturday, we are treated to arguably the best League Championship Series matchup ever as the defending World Series champion Houston Astros open the ALCS vs the Boston Red Sox. Both teams (103) combined for 211 wins this season. Those are tied for the 2nd-most in any postseason matchup in MLB history (first was in a World Series). Boston is a slight MLB betting favorite for the opener.
Astros vs Red Sox ALCS Game 1 Odds & Betting Pick
#ALCS. pic.twitter.com/Z0isvyGHnS — MLB (@MLB) October 11, 2018
- When: Saturday, 8:09 PM ET
- Where: Fenway Park, Boston
- Probable pitchers (away/home): Justin Verlander/Chris Sale
- TV: TBS
- Stream: MLB.tv
- Radio: Houston / Boston
- Opening MLB Lines: Red Sox -120, Astros -110 (7)
- Clear: 11°C/51°F
- Humidity: 65%
- Precipitation: 3%
- Wind: 11 mph W
- Cloud Cover: 19%
- Type of Stadium: Open
Astros-Red Sox Series History
Houston won last year’s playoff meeting vs. Boston in four games in the ALDS, the first leg on their road to a World Series championship. But the Red Sox are better than they were last year. Under rookie manager Alex Cora, they won 108 games, the most in MLB and a franchise record. The Astros might be better, too as they bested last year’s World Series championship team by two wins — 103 to 101.
The Astros were 4-3 vs. Boston this regular season. As a group, both teams finished in the top 10 in the majors in the league for regular-season runs, home runs, total bases, RBI, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS.
In the 2018 regular season, the Red Sox owned MLB’s highest home win percentage (.704, 57-24) and the Astros had the majors’ highest road win percentage (.704, 57-24). The Sox led the majors in runs per game in 2018 (5.41), while the Astros owned MLB’s lowest ERA (3.11).
Why Bet on Houston?
How freaking hot does George Springer get come playoff time? Of course, he was last year’s World Series MVP. Springer belted a pair of solo home runs Monday as the Astros finished off an ALDS sweep of the Indians in Cleveland. Springer cranked one over the left-center field wall in the fifth inning off of Mike Clevinger to get the Astros on the board and then went to the opposite field off of Cody Allen for another solo shot in the eighth. Springer holds the Astros’ franchise record with 10 home runs over 27 playoff games, and he’s gone deep in seven of his last nine postseason contests.
Springer was one of three Astros to hit 20 regular season home runs (22) and 70 RBIs (71). He slashed .265/.346/.434 and struck out 122 times, second-most on the team. Against the Red Sox this season: 10 for 27 with two homers, two RBIs, five walks, and 10 Ks. ALDS performance: 6 for 14 with three homers, three RBIs, two strikeouts, and a 1.071 slugging percentage.
It’s Justin Verlander on the mound for Game 1. Verlander led the team in wins (16), strikeouts (290), and innings pitched (214) in the regular season and led starters in ERA (2.52). Verlander will pitch Saturday’s series opener on a few extra days of rest after earning the win in Game 1 of the ALDS versus the Indians last Friday. Verlander went 5⅓ innings, striking out seven and walking two of the 20 batters he faced while giving up only two runs on two hits. He threw 102 pitches, 70 for strikes.
Against the Red Sox this season: Verlander is 0-0 in one start, striking out six and allowing two earned runs on three hits over six innings. ALDS performance. In his postseason career, he is 12-6 with a 3.08 ERA and has logged 140 postseason innings. He posted a 0.56 ERA in two starts during last season’s ALCS against New York and was named MVP of the series.Team Statistics Offense:
- Runs/G: 4.92
- BA: .255
- OPS: .754
- HR: 205
- SB: 71
- ERA: 3.11
- WHIP: 1.10
- KS: 1,687
- Quality Starts: 97
- Errors: 63
Why Bet on Boston?
If you were a Red Sox fan, you were probably ready for a heart attack Tuesday, but the bottom of the ninth at the Yankees in Game 4 of the ALDS was crazy. Boston held on to win 4-3, surviving a two-run rally, two Craig Kimbrel walks and a final-out replay review on a close play at first.Ace pitcher Chris Sale pitched a perfect eighth inning Tuesday. Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters before the game that he would only use Sale in relief in a “perfect situation,” and that situation came up with Boston leading 4-1 in the bottom of the eighth and the Yankees’ 8-9-1 hitters stepping to the plate. Sale needed just 13 total pitches to retire Gleyber Torres, Andrew McCutchen, and Aaron Hicks.
Sale gets the call here, which sets up a rematch with Astros ace Justin Verlander — the two also faced off in the opener of last year’s ALDS between the two clubs, with Verlander getting the better of Sale. Verlander held the Red Sox to two runs in six innings in that game, while the Astros knocked around Sale for seven runs in five innings. During his lone start versus the Astros on June 1 this year, he allowed four earned runs on six hits and one walk while striking out six across six innings.
In his last 8 home starts between the regular season and postseason, Sale has posted a 1.29 ERA and held opponents to a .199 AVG (42.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 BB, 64 SO).
Cora said Thursday that infielder Eduardo Nunez (ankle) will be fine for the ALCS. Nunez tweaked his ankle while fielding a soft grounder to third base that turned into the final out of Boston’s ALDS Game 4 defeat of the Yankees. He went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI in that series-clinching victory and figures to get a couple starts in the ALCS either at second or third.
First baseman Mitch Moreland took batting practice on Thursday. Moreland did not appear in Games 3 or 4 of the ALDS after injuring his right hamstring in Game 2. Steve Pearce is the other option at first base for the Red Sox. Those two make up a natural platoon.
The Red Sox were 5-for-5 in stolen base attempts in the ALDS. Including the regular season, they have been successful in 25 of their last 26 attempts, including each of their last 12. In 2018, the Sox ranked 3rd in the majors in steals and 2nd in stolen base success rate (80.1%, 125-for-156). That could be very important as the Sox are likely to try and run and disrupt the rhythm of that stellar Houston pitching staff.Team Statistics Offense:
- Runs/G: 5.41
- BA: .268
- OPS: .792
- HR: 208
- SB: 125
- ERA: 3.76
- WHIP: 1.25
- KS: 1,558
- Quality Starts: 67
- Errors: 76
Astros vs Red Sox ALCS Game 1 Betting Trends
- Houston is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
- Houston is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Houston’s last 10 games
- Boston is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games when playing Houston
- Boston is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
- The total has gone OVER in 7 of Boston’s last 9 games
Expert MLB Betting Prediction for Astros vs Red Sox
Houston steals Game 1.