Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros ALCS Game 1 Prediction and Pick

Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros odds for ALCS Game 1 on Friday night in Houston. Read on to see who Matt Zylbert is backing tonight.
Matt Zylbert
Fri, October 15, 11:22 AM EDT

Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros ALCS Game 1 Prediction and Pick

Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros

Over/Under: 8.5

First pitch: 8:07 p.m. ET

TV: FOX

Red Sox vs. Astros odds

Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros Game 1 Prediction

Probable pitchers: Chris Sale (5-1, 3.16 ERA) vs. Framber Valdez (11-6, 3.14 ERA)

Sale is entering very unusual territory, going into a much-needed bounce-back-vying spot after getting mobbed in Game 2 of the American League Division Series and not even lasting past the first inning.

Of course, we know that’s not going to repeat itself. Not when this is Chris Sale we’re talking about, still one of the premier southpaws in Major League Baseball today. He just won’t allow a similar result.

Sale obviously missed a significant period of time before returning in the second half of the regular season but still showed plenty of shades of his old dominant self.

Hence why the Red Sox have won all but two of his 10 starts this year (including postseason) while Sale managed to register a 3.16 ERA and 10.97 K/9 pre-Oct.

Granted, Houston can definitely be a true stiff challenge for any starting pitcher put in front of them but through Sale’s 12 years in the bigs, that hasn’t been so.

In fact, Sale has made 10 career starts against the Astros (including postseason) and posted an electrifying 2.33 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 11.81 K/9 in those assignments.

So despite his rare dud a week ago, we can trust the veteran lefty. And based on his counterpart’s track record this time of year and the fact that this is away from hitter-friendly Fenway Park, we can trust Valdez, too, for a steady, quality output.

Though this is only his fourth big-league season, Valdez has established himself as a dependably calming force. Just look at how he churned out his finest year to date in etching a 3.14 ERA and impressively limiting opposing hitters to a .220 mark.

Some questions can always arise around a relative youngster when reaching the playoffs but Valdez seems to be game for these situations. Though he wasn’t at his best in the ALDS against the White Sox, Valdez exhibited a flair for handling this drama last year when he made three starts (and one relief appearance) and produced a 1.00 ERA through 24 innings.

Considerably helping his cause tonight is that Game 1 emanates from Minute Maid Park. After all, the Red Sox carried the most differentiated home-and-road splits across the AL. They actually led all of baseball in team OPS (.831) and batting average (.281) in home games but outside of Boston, their OPS dropped more than 100 points (.724) and average came down 40 ticks (.241). That is legitimately telling.

In a total bordering on 9 or higher, arms the quality of both Sale and Valdez can provide enough for an inflated cushion as the game plays out into the latter stages.

Pick: UNDER 8.5 (-110)

2021 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*:

Regular Season: “88-73-10,” +6.39 units

Postseason: 2-2, -0.11 unit

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit (playoffs 0.5 unit

Matt Zylbert
@MattZylbert
Zylbert has been writing about baseball over/under bets for nearly a decade, attaining notable success in just about each season. Throughout the last three years, the veteran gambling analyst has amassed a 307-239-25 (56.2%) record on regular season totals while always recommending to flat bet every game for one unit.
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