After clinching their respective ALDS matchups on Tuesday, the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros will meet in Houston tonight for Game 1 of the ALCS, kicking off what should be an exciting series between two of the best offenses in baseball.
The Astros dominated the Red Sox during the regular season, but Boston is playing some of its best ball of the year right now. Houston will also likely be without star pitcher Lance McCullers Jr., who is dealing with a forearm injury.
Who will win Game 1 between the last two teams standing in the American League? Read our ALCS Game 1 predictions and best bets to find out!
Please note that all Red Sox vs Astros odds and lines are current as of 10 AM EST on Friday, October 15.
Red Sox vs Astros ALCS Game 1 Prediction
Boston Red Sox @ Houston Astros, October 15, 8:07 PM EST on FOX
Probable Starting Pitchers:
- Chris Sale, Red Sox (5-1, 3.16 ERA)
- Framber Valdez, Astros (11-6, 3.14 ERA)
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Game 1 will feature a matchup of two southpaws, neither of whom have been electric lately and both of whom can be inconsistent at times.
Framber Valdez struggled in his first start of the postseason against the Chicago White Sox, allowing four runs on seven hits over 4 1/3 innings. He’ll have another tough matchup tonight against the Red Sox, who ranked eighth among all teams in wOBA (.326) and 10th in wRC+ against left-handed pitchers this year.
Boston hasn’t had a ton of success in the past against Valdez, as their roster is just 13-for-58 against him with a .621 OPS and only one home run. They’ve been swinging hot bats in the postseason, however, scoring at least six runs in four of their five playoff games thus far.
The Red Sox will counter with Chris Sale, who should be well-rested after pitching just 3 1/3 innings since September 28. Sale’s been a bit erratic since his return from Tommy John surgery in August, as he’s yet to recapture the dominance that made him a perennial Cy Young contender.
Sale also pitched primarily against the worst teams in baseball this season. His only starts against a team with a winning record came against the Tampa Bay Rays, who shelled him for 12 runs (eight earned) on 20 hits in 10 2/3 innings over three appearances.
Don’t be surprised if Sale struggles against Houston, who led MLB with a 117 wRC+ against lefties this year. The Astros’ lineup is also on fire after scoring a whopping 31 runs in four ALDS games against Chicago.
Both teams have potent right-handed bats that are capable of doing damage in this game, but the Astros have more and will also benefit from home-field advantage. Therefore, I think the Astros will take Game 1.
ALCS Game 1 Pick: Astros 3, Red Sox 1
Red Sox vs Astros ALCS Game 1 Best Bets
Best Bet: Astros Moneyline (-135) at Caesars
Wager: 1.35 Units
Sale isn’t the pitcher he used to be and has struggled mightily over his last three starts, all of which were critical games for Boston. He’s allowed 10 earned runs on 12 hits over his last 8 2/3 innings of work, which doesn’t bode well for this matchup against Houston’s dangerous lineup.
Sale has also only pitched one inning in the last 11 days, so he could be a bit rusty. The Astros have been tearing the cover off the ball lately and will punish him if he’s not on top of his game, making the Houston moneyline our MLB bet of the day.
Best Bet: Under 8.5 Total Runs (-112) at Unibet
Wager: 1.10 Units
Valdez dominated the Red Sox in both of his starts against them this year, yielding just two earned runs over 14 1/3 innings with an 18:2 K/BB ratio. He likely won’t go seven innings against them tonight given the nature of the postseason, but he should be able to keep their bats quiet over five or six frames.
While Sale’s been roughed up lately, it’s worth remembering that he carried a 2.57 ERA into the final week of the regular season. If that version of Sale returns, this is going to be a low-scoring game.
It’s also worth noting that the first game of every postseason series thus far has been below this total. Take the Under at Unibet, which has the best odds according to our MLB gameday odds.
Read all of our 2021 ALCS Betting Tips
Best Bet: Jose Altuve Over 1.5 Total Bases (+120) at DraftKings
Wager: 1 Unit
Jose Altuve was dynamite during the ALDS, slashing .313/.476/.625 with two doubles and a homer. He’s also hit Sale well in the past, going 8-for-24 with a double and a dinger.
Altuve is one of the best postseason hitters of all time with a .306/.384/.568 batting line, 19 homers, and 14 doubles in 67 playoff games. He’s a good bet for an extra-base hit or pair of singles tonight, making this one of our best MLB prop bets today.