The Chicago White Sox will travel to Houston to take on the Astros in Game 1 of the 2021 ALDS. In a playoff series that requires just three starting pitchers, you’d rather not face Chicago.
While the White Sox haven’t named their Game 1 starter just yet, they’ve already stated that Carlos Rodon will get just one start in this series, meaning they’ll send either Lucas Giolito or Lance Lynn to the hill in Game 1. Both are great options, as Giolito logged a team-high 178 2/3 innings with a 3.53 ERA this year while Lynn threw 157 innings with a 2.69 ERA.
Meanwhile, the Astros have tapped Lance McCullers Jr. to start Game 1. While not as accomplished as rotation-mate Zack Greinke, McCullers posted the lowest hit rate (6.8 H/9) and home run rate (0.7 HR/9) among AL starters this year. He also led Houston’s staff with 13 wins and compiled a 3.16 ERA.
In the first divisional playoff game of the year, can the White Sox find a way to win Game 1 on the road? Let’s dig in with our White Sox vs Astros predictions and best bets. Please note that all odds are current as of Wednesday, October 6.
White Sox vs Astros ALDS Game 1 Prediction
Chicago White Sox @ Houston Astros, October 7, 4:07 PM EST on FS1
Probable Starting Pitchers:
- TBD, White Sox
- Lance McCullers Jr., Astros (13-5, 3.16 ERA)
Again, Chicago has not announced a starter for this game. We know it’ll either be Giolito or Lynn, but we don’t know which one yet.
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Lynn has struggled versus Houston with a 5.92 ERA against them dating back to 2018. The Astros have 13 home runs and 57 hits off him in his last 48 2/3 innings against them. Outside of Carlos Correa, Houston’s lineup has hit Lynn hard in the past.
On the other hand, Giolito has been much better against the Astros, holding their roster to a .186 batting average in 118 at-bats. Beyond Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley, Houston hasn’t had much success against him.
Accordingly, White Sox manager Tony La Russa may opt to start Giolito in Game 1 despite Lynn’s superior overall numbers.
McCullers, on the other hand, has pitched well against the White Sox roster, which has no home runs and only two RBIs in 63 at-bats against him. They’ve also struck out 18 times with only five walks.
While I like Chicago in this series, Game 1 could hinge on who starts for them. The Astros are the clear favorite if Lynn is on the mound, especially in the first five innings. If it’s Giolito, this game should go under the total and both offenses could struggle to score early.
White Sox vs Astros ALDS Game 1 Pick: Astros 5, White Sox 2
White Sox vs Astros ALDS Game 1 Best Bets
Best Bet: Astros Moneyline (-140) at Caesars
Wager: 1.45 Units
Since the start of September, McCullers has a 3.62 xFIP and is holding batters to a .181 average with a 25.8% strikeout rate over his last 30 innings. Throw in his previous success against the White Sox, and the Astros should be able to win Game 1 at home, especially if Lynn starts for Chicago.
Once the White Sox announce their starting pitcher, be sure to check our MLB gameday odds to stay updated on any line movement.
Best Bet: White Sox Under 1.5 Runs in 1st 5 Innings (+105) at DraftKings
Wager: 1.20 Units
McCullers has been electric all year and finished the season on a high note, allowing two earned runs or less in seven of his final nine starts. The White Sox simply don’t match up well against him and have struggled against him in the past.
If McCullers can continue to limit his mistakes and sustain his 60% ground-ball rate from September, Chicago should struggle to score runs early in this game.
- Read our full White Sox vs Astros ALDS Predictions & Best Bets.
Best Bet: No-Run First Inning (-120) at DraftKings
Wager: 1 Unit
McCullers has been dominant to begin most of his starts this season, holding opponents to a .208 batting average and just one home run while posting a 2.25 ERA and 30.3% strikeout rate across 28 first innings. If the White Sox get to McCullers in Game 1, it likely won’t be in the first frame.
Regardless of which ace Chicago goes with, Houston will probably be held scoreless in the first inning as well, making this our MLB bet of the day. With two elite pitchers taking the mound in a likely pitching duel, there probably won’t be much offense in Game 1, especially early on when both starters are fresh.