Red Sox vs. Astros Pick
Oddsmakers at sports book Bovada.lv have set a series price for the Astros as a -165 favorite. The Red Sox are a +135 underdog to win the series.
Boston completed the regular season with a 93-69 overall record, 45-36 on the road and 48-33 at home. Houston is 101-61 overall, 53-28 on the road and 48-33 at home. The Astros lead the season series 4-3 and the over-under is 3-4. Houston took three of four games at Fenway Park to end the regular season, outscoring the Red Sox by a count of 22-13 over the four days.
Game one will see Chris Sale (17-8, 2.90 ERA) go for the Red Sox, while the Astros counter with Justin Verlander (15-8, 3.36). The Red Sox also have Drew Pomeranz (17-6, 3.36), Eduardo Rodriguez (6-7, 4.19) and Rick Porcello (11-17, 4.65) as starting pitching options. David Price (6-3, 3.38) will work out of the bullpen as he did not have enough time after returning from injury to build up stamina to re-enter the starting rotation. As for Houston, Verlander will be followed by Dallas Keuchel (14-5, 2.90) along with Brad Peacock (13-2, 3.00) and either Lance McCullers (7-4, 4.25) or Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62).
Boston's offense is paced by Mookie Betts (.803 OPS, 24 HRs, 102 RBIs, 26 SB), Andrew Benintendi (.776 OPS, 20 HRs, 90 RBIs, 20 SB) and Xander Bogaerts (.746 OPS, 10 HRs, 62 RBIs, 15 SB). Houston is led by Jose Altuve (.957 OPS, 24 HRs, 81 RBIs, 32 SB), George Springer (.889 OPS, 34 HRs, 89 RBIs) and Carlos Correa (.941 OPS, 24 HRs, 84 RBIs).
The Red Sox bullpen features Craig Kimbrel (1.43 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 35 saves), Matt Barnes (3.68 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 21 holds) and Joe Kelly (2.79 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 13 holds). The Astros bullpen is led by Ken Giles (2.30 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 34 saves), Chris Devenski (2.68 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 24 holds) and Will Harris (2.98 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 20 holds).
The Astros are a better team in almost every sense, but the fact will be sending one of baseball's best starters in Chris Sale to the mound in game one evens the playing field in a short series. If Boston can secure a split in the first two road games, it will head back to Fenway Park with a fantastic chance to claim the series. The biggest issue is that Sale's pitching opponent in game one will be Verlander, who has been nothing short of phenomenal in five starts with Houston. Since the trade from the Tigers, Verlander has won all five of his decisions and allowed only four earned runs with 43 strikeouts in 34 innings of work. We like the Astros chances in game one with Verlander on the hill, especially because the Astros have crushed left-handed pitching all season and Sale is prone to an erratic outing here and there. As long as Houston takes game one, the rest of the series sets up very nicely with pitching advantages and a better offense. We think Boston will steal one game, but that's all we see.
MLB ALDS SERIES PREDICTION: HOUSTON ASTROS IN FOUR GAMES