After splitting the first two games of the ALCS in Houston, the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros will resume their series tonight in Game 3 at Fenway Park. The Red Sox have yet to lose a playoff game at home this year, going 3-0 against the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays.
After a 2020 season without fans in attendance, home-field attendance has proven critical in these playoffs. That is especially true in Boston with its quirky ballpark and raucous fans.
Can the Astros bounce back after getting trounced in Game 2? Or will the Red Sox take the series lead behind their hot bats? Below are our Astros vs Red Sox predictions and best bets for ALCS Game 3.
Please note that all ALCS Game 3 odds and lines are current as of 10 AM EST on Monday, October 18.
Astros vs Red Sox ALCS Game 3 Prediction
Houston Astros @ Boston Red Sox, October 18, 8:08 PM EST on FS1
Probable Starting Pitchers:
- Jose Urquidy, Astros (8-3, 3.62 ERA)
- Eduardo Rodriguez, Red Sox (13-8, 4.74 ERA)
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After losing a 5-4 nailbiter in Game 1, the Red Sox rebounded with a 9-5 victory in Game 2 behind a pair of grand slams from J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers. They’ll look to carry that momentum over into Game 3 behind left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who is still searching for consistency in 2021.
Rodriguez was up and down during the regular season after missing 2020 due to COVID complications. That trend continued during the ALDS against Tampa Bay, as he recorded just five outs in Game 1 at Tropicana Field before bouncing back with five innings of two-run ball at home in Game 4.
The Red Sox are hoping that means his home struggles are behind him after he went 4-4 with a 5.95 ERA in 13 regular-season starts at Fenway this year. However, the Astros led all teams this year with a 117 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. Their roster has also hit Rodriguez hard in the past, batting .302 with an .872 OPS.
Boston’s bats will look to stay hot against Jose Urquidy, who’s yet to make an appearance this postseason and hasn’t pitched since October 3. He also ended the season on a down note with a 4.96 ERA and 6.23 FIP over his final three starts.
Urquidy’s profile suggests he’ll continue to struggle against the Red Sox, as he doesn’t miss many bats (career 7.4 K/9 rate) and ran a meager 32.2% ground-ball rate this season. A fly-ball pitcher in Fenway Park is a potential recipe for disaster, especially given the way Boston’s been hitting lately.
Given the flaws of both starters, this game should be another relatively high-scoring affair between two of the best lineups in baseball. Boston’s bullpen is better rested after Game 2, however, so look for them to pull out the win at home.
ALCS Game 3 Pick: Red Sox 7, Astros 5
Astros vs Red Sox ALCS Game 3 Best Bets
Best Bet: Red Sox Moneyline (-114) at Unibet
Wager: 1.14 Units
As mentioned, the Red Sox are undefeated at home in these playoffs and are 5-2 overall. Rodriguez also finished the regular season on a high note with a 2.11 ERA and 1.86 FIP over his final five appearances (four starts), so perhaps he’s finally turned the corner.
Meanwhile, Urquidy hasn’t pitched in over two weeks, so this could turn into a bullpen game very quickly. Boston has scored 39 runs over their last five playoff games, so their offense gives them an edge here.
Back the favorites according to our MLB gameday odds in Game 3.
Best Bet: Over 9 Total Runs (-117) at Unibet
Wager: 1.15 Units
The Astros have hit Rodriguez hard in the past and have several talented right-handed hitters such as Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, and Jose Altuve. Houston also had MLB’s lowest strikeout rate this year, which enables them to sustain rallies by putting the ball in play.
While the Red Sox don’t have much experience against Urquidy, their hitters are scorching hot and should have no problem putting runs on the board against a rusty hurler who pitches to contact. The ball should be flying around Fenway Park tonight, resulting in plenty of runs for both sides in our MLB bet of the day.
Read all of our 2021 ALCS Betting Tips
Best Bet: Enrique Hernandez Over 1.5 Total Bases (+120) at DraftKings
Wager: 1 Unit
Of all of Boston’s hitters, Enrique Hernandez has been the hottest. He’s gone supernova during these playoffs, smashing five home runs and four doubles while batting .600 over his last five games.
Hernandez has feasted on Astros pitching in this series, going 6-for-9 with three homers and a double over the first two games. Nobody can get him out right now, and if Urquidy isn’t careful he could very well be Hernandez’s next home run victim. Look for Kike to drill another extra-base hit tonight (or two singles).