Best Bet for the ALCS Game 1: Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros

Oct 15, 2021 - 11:08 AM

The Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros meet in a rematch of the 2018 ALCS, which the Red Sox won 4-1. An interesting plotline is Red Sox manager Alex Cora facing many former Astros players, who played under Cora when he served as bench coach of the 2017 Houston team that won the World Series.

Both teams won their ALDS matchups 3-1, but Boston’s pitching rotation is a bit more out of whack than Houston’s, given that they also had to win a one-game wild card playoff game just to have the right to face the Rays. Nevertheless, the Red Sox should feel confident with Chris Sale on the mound, who is opposed by Houston’s Framber Valdez.

Instead of choosing a side for Game 1, the best wager is a play on the total.

Here is my best bet for Friday’s Red Sox-Astros ALDS Game 1. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)

View the best player prop bets for today’s slate with our MLB Prop Bet Cheat Sheet >>

YTD: 189-160-8 (+12.73 units) 

Red Sox-Astros OVER 8 runs (-110)

The trends suggest the Red Sox and Astros are in for a low-scoring affair, as the under is 11-3 in the last 14 meetings and is 7-1 in their previous eight meetings at Minute Maid Park. However, it is hard to foresee a pitcher’s duel tonight after watching the two teams mash their way to victory in the ALDS.

Houston scored six or more runs in all four ALDS games against the White Sox and averaged 7.8 runs per game. Aside from getting shutout in their only loss of the ALDS against the Rays, the Red Sox scored 26 combined runs in their three wins, against a Rays pitching staff that allowed the second-fewest runs in the American League in the regular season.

In addition, both Chris Sale and Framber Valdez have had their share of struggles in the postseason so far. Sale allowed five runs in his only inning pitched in the ALDS against the Rays, while Valdez allowed four runs on seven hits in a short outing against the White Sox last week. Valdez came into that start with good postseason success, as he had previously allowed just five runs in his 24 career postseason innings before that. In addition, Valdez held Boston to just two runs on ten hits in 14 combined innings this year. However, not much appears to be slowing down the Red Sox bats at the moment.

Two of Houston’s biggest bats have great career success against Sale, as Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve are a combined 14-for-43 (.326) against him with five home runs and a double. Carlos Correa has also homered in his career off Sale, which suggests Boston’s lefty may be tagged for some long balls tonight.

Houston won the season series 5-2 against Boston and averaged six runs per game in those seven games. Thus, ignore the trend about these teams playing several low-scoring games against each other, and trust that the momentum of each team’s hot bats from the ALDS will carry over into Game 1. And if Chicago’s Ryan Tepera is right about his accusations that Houston is finding ways to steal signs at home, that only helps our case in this game.

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Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.

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