Red Sox vs. Astros Pick
Oddsmakers at sports book Bovada.lv have listed the Astros as a -130 favorite to win on the moneyline. The Red Sox are a +110 underdog and the total is set at 7.
Pitching for Boston will be lefty Chris Sale (17-8, 2.90 ERA), while Houston counters with Justin Verlander (15-8, 3.36). Sale boasts a 0.97 WHIP with 308 strikeouts in 214 1/3 innings. He allowed five earned runs on eight hits with eight strikeouts and two walks over five innings in a 9-4 home loss to the Blue Jays his last start. Sale has a 2.76 ERA in 126 road innings this season. He last faced the Astros twice during the 2016 season as a member of the White Sox when he went 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA, striking out 18 while allowing 10 hits and walking one over 16 innings of work. Verlander has a 1.17 WHIP with 219 strikeouts in 206 innings. He surrendered two earned runs on six hits with 11 strikeouts and no walks over six innings in a 12-2 win at the Rangers his last start of the regular season. He went 5-0 with Houston in September following a trade from the Tigers as he gave up four earned runs on 17 hits with 43 strikeouts and five walks over 34 innings. He carries a 2.45 ERA in 95 2/3 home innings this year. Verlander did not post a decision in two starts against the Red Sox during the regular season, compiling a 2.25 ERA with four runs allowed (three earned) on eight hits with seven strikeouts and six walks over 12 innings of work.
Boston completed the regular season 93-69 and went 45-36 on the road, while Houston is 101-61 and 48-33 at home. The Astros won four of seven games during the regular season, while the total went under four times. Most recently, Houston won three of four games at Fenway Park to complete the regular season as it outscored the Red Sox by a count of 22-13.
Mookie Betts (.803 OPS, 24 HRs, 103 RBIs, 26 SB), Andrew Benintendi (.776 OPS, 20 HRs, 90 RBIs, 20 SBs) and Xander Bogaerts (.746 OPS, 10 HRs, 62 RBIs, 15 SB) lead the Red Sox offense into action. The Astros are paced by Jose Altuve (.957 OPS, 24 HR, 81 RBIs, 32 SB), Carlos Correa (..941 OPS, 24 HRs, 84 RBIs) and George Springer (.889 OPS, 34 HRs, 85 RBIs).
The Red Sox have a major weapon in Sale on the mound, but he is prone to the occasional erratic start and the Astros are possibly the best left-handed hitting team in baseball. Chances are he doesn't get through the Houston lineup two or three times without getting touched up a bit. He is also the type of pitcher who might let the natural adrenaline of a postseason game impact his performance a little bit. On the flipside, Verlander has pitched a number of postseason games and is in peak mode right now as his September was just about as good as it gets. It is difficult to see him letting up in this spot. Boston might make this a series with a win in game two or three, but we like Houston to get the first victory here.
MLB DAILY PREDICTION: HOUSTON ASTROS -130