Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros Game 1 Pick
When: 8:07 p.m., Friday, October 15
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston
Moneyline: BOS +120/HOU -135 (Bovada - This game is the perfect candidate for live betting! Bovada has the best platform on the web! Check it out and get a 50% bonus for trying them out!)
Runline: Red Sox +1.5/Astros -1.5
Starting Pitchers: Chris Sale (5-1, 3.16 ERA, 1.34 WHIP) vs. Framber Valdez (11-6, 3.14 ERA, 1.25 WHIP)
This ALCS is the matchup most baseball fans were dreading, as the Astros are in the ALCS for the fifth consecutive year and are now facing the Red Sox, the other team that was implicated in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. This serves as a rematch of 2018, as Boston won this series in a five-game rout on its way to a World Series title under Alex Cora, who was the Astros’ bench coach during the 2017 scandal.
With a matchup in which the neutral baseball fan doesn’t really want to see either of these teams win, fan vitriol shouldn’t play much of a factor with either one. Besides, at this point, the Astros have been the heel of MLB for so long that they’re completely used to being the villain and have embraced it. Don’t consider this as a factor when placing your bets, either for individual games or the series.
Struggling to Finish
Framber Valdez has done a solid job for most of the season for the Astros, but his most recent starts haven’t been anywhere near up to par. In four of his past six starts, Valdez hasn’t made it past the fifth inning and has given up four runs in each of them.
The postseason wasn’t exactly a return to his regular-season form, as he gave up seven hits and four runs to the White Sox in his ALDS start. However, Houston’s offense came up big in a 9-4 rout, and Valdez has mostly been able to count on his team’s offense to get him through tough starts when he hasn’t been at his sharpest.
Against the Red Sox, Valdez hasn’t really needed much in the way of help. He won both of his starts against Boston in 2021, but he also hasn’t pitched against the Red Sox since early June, when he was pitching at his best. His recent starts have left a fair amount to be desired, which could make it difficult to match the form he showed when he held Boston to two runs in 14.1 innings of work.
Handling the Pressure
So far, Chris Sale hasn’t exactly been up to par when it comes to getting the job done in tough spots. The Red Sox expected Sale to be their big-game pitcher once he returned from injury, but that hasn’t happened. He nearly gave away the game the Red Sox needed to win against the Nationals to qualify for the wild card game. He couldn’t do anything against the Rays, giving up five runs in one inning and only getting bailed out because the Red Sox’s bats came to life and exploded for 14 runs off Tampa Bay’s pitching.
Sale’s got a long history of showing up in big games, but at 32 and coming back from injuries, there’s been scant evidence that he’s the same pitcher who once served as Chicago’s ace. He’s done a decent job in less important games this season, but in the ALCS, this might not be the way that you want to place your money.
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- The Red Sox are 7-1 in their past eight contests.
- The Red Sox are 10-2 in their past 12 playoff games as an underdog.
- The Astros are 4-0 in their past four home playoff games.
- The Astros are 5-1 in their past six games overall.
- The over is 5-1 in the Red Sox’s past six games overall.
- The over is 5-0 in the Red Sox’s past five games against the AL West.
- The under is 6-1 in the Astros’ past seven against the AL East.
- The under is 6-1 in the Astros’ past seven ALCS games.
- The Astros have won five of the past seven matchups in Houston.
- The under is 7-1 in the past eight matchups between the teams.
With humidity in the forecast and 82 degree temperatures expected, there’s a good chance that the Astros will close the roof. If they leave it open, winds will blow in from center field at 10 miles per hour.
With Sale not exactly looking sharp in big games and Valdez doing the same, the Over looks like an excellent play in this situation. Valdez has been a bit more reliable than Sale as of late, and the Astros are the more talented team, so I’m leaning toward Houston in this one. Give me the Astros. Bet your pick for FREE by depositing only $25 and then entering bonus code ROOKIE200 on the special offers page at Intertops Sportsbook! They’ll add an extra FIFTY bucks to your account (200% bonus!)