Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox ALCS Game 5 Pick
Time: 8:09 PM ET
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX
Listed Pitchers: David Price (Bos) vs. Justin Verlander (Hou)
Moneyline: Red Sox +175/Astros -190
The underdog is now 4-0 in this ALCS, following Boston’s Game 4 victory in Houston Wednesday night. We rode that MLB betting trend to the cash window Wednesday, but do we press our luck with our free MLB pick for Thursday’s Game 5?
MLB Playoffs Betting Line
The Game 5 MLB betting odds opened Houston at upwards of -190, with an over/under of 7.5 runs. The Astros could also be found getting around +110 giving the run and a half on the MLB run line.
Game 5 Set-Up
Boston has Houston on the ropes, now leading this best-of-seven ALCS three games to one, after winning a crazy Game 4 Wednesday night 8-6. The Sox took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning Wednesday, later trailed 5-4 through five, then scored twice in the sixth, once in the seventh and once in the eighth and held on from there.
Boston benefited early from a fan interference call on what initially looked like a two-run Astros homer. In the end, the Sox won it when OF Andrew Benintendi made a diving catch in left field with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
The Sox have now outscored the Astros in this series 25-20.
Houston won Game 1 of this series as a +115 underdog on the MLB betting odds. Boston has since taken Games 2, 3 and 4 as dogs of +120, +115 and +140.
Also, all four games in this series have played over their totals.
The Astros took the regular-season series from the Sox four games to three.
Game 5 Starting Arms
This pitching match-up is a rematch of a game played back on June 2 also in Houston, a 5-4 Boston victory.
The revitalized Verlander (16-9, 2.52), by our strict standards, is 26/36 on quality starts this season and six for his last seven. Last Saturday in Game 1 of this series he held the Sox to two runs and two hits through six innings of a 7-2 Astros victory. And in his one start in the ALDS against Cleveland, he allowed just two runs and two hits through 5 1/3 innings of another 7-2 Houston win.
On the season the Astros are 23-13 when Verlander starts, 7-0 over his last seven outings.
In two starts this season against the Red Sox Verlander has allowed four runs and five hits through 12 innings, with 12 strikeouts. The Astros split those two games, and both games played over.
Lefty Price (15-7, 3.58) is 17/32 on quality starts this season, but 0 for his last four. Last Sunday in Game 2 of this series he gave up four runs and five hits through 4 2/3 innings, although Boston won that game 7-5. And 12 days ago in that ALDS against the Yankees, he got clipped for three runs and two home runs in less than two innings of a 6-2 Sox defeat.
On the season Boston is 23-9 when Price starts, but only 3-3 over his last six outings.
In three starts this season against Houston Price has allowed nine runs and 12 hits through 17 innings, with 21 strikeouts. Boston went 2-1 in those games, with the overs going 3-0.
No doubt about it, we gotta give Verlander and the Astros our handicapping check-mark for this pitching match-up.
Game 5 Batting Splits
The Red Sox posted a .275/.344/.473 team batting average/OBP/slugging percentage split against right-handed pitching this season, which was the best in baseball.
The Astros posted a .275/.344/.459 split against left-handed pitching this year, which also ranked right near the top.
We’re calling the battle of the bats a push for Game 5.
The Boston pen put up a 3.72 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP during the regular season. This unit has also now allowed seven ER and 13 hits through 17 1/3 innings in this series.
The Houston bullpen put up a 3.03 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP this season, both of which led the Majors. But this unit has now allowed 12 ER and 17 hits through 15 2/3 innings in this series.
We’re calling the bullpen comparison for Game 5 a push, too.
Unders are now 43-40 in games played at Minute Maid Park this season, which are averaging 8.2 total runs per.
Overs are 10-2 in Sox-Astros games this season.
Free MLB Picks
Houston plays on the edge of elimination and Verlander attracts a big price, to begin with. We’re giving the Astros one full star on our main handicapping factors, but that’s not enough to justify this price. Meanwhile, the Red Sox are rolling with momentum, getting big hits, big plays in the field and a little luck. We’re not necessarily saying Boston is going to win this game, but we are going with the betting value on the underdog Red Sox in Game 5.