ALCS 2018 Betting Tips, Picks & Analysis: Red Sox vs Astros

ALCS 2018 Betting Tips, Picks & Analysis: Red Sox vs Astros

Quick Tips:

  • Pair Astros sweep at +1200 with Astros in 5 at +525 with 888Sport.
  • Bet Boston in six games at +425 with SugarHouse.
  • Bet Boston in seven games at +400 with SugarHouse.

The Boston Red Sox won a team-record 108 games this yea, and dispatched a 100-win Yankees team in the American League division series by pummeling J.A. Happ, Luis Severino and CC Sabathia, the latter two at Yankee Stadium, all while holding New York’s homer-happy lineup in check.

Boston has home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, which of course includes the American League Championship Series against the Astros, starting Saturday night at Fenway Park with Chris Sale on the mound.

But 888Sport has Boston at +120 to win the series.

How does a historically great team as popular as the Red Sox wind up an underdog in a best-of-seven? And what should MLB betting fans make of it?

ALCS 2018 Betting Analysis

First and most obvious, the Astros, -148 favorites in the ALCS, are really good. The defending world champions also set a team record for wins this season, with 103, playing a tougher schedule in the West than Boston did in the East.

Houston also had a better run differential, outscoring the opposition by 263 runs while the Red Sox ran up a 229-run margin. As explosive as Boston’s lineup is, it’s a lot more top-heavy than the balanced Houston attack. The Red Sox bullpen has more question marks than the Astros’ relief corps does.

Beyond all that, the key to Houston being favored in the series is David Price, who matches up with Gerrit Cole in Game 2 and brings a 5.28 career postseason ERA into this series after lasting only 1.2 innings in his Game 2 start against the Yankees.

As talented as Price is – they don’t give $217 million contracts to chumps – his career in the playoffs as a starter has particularly been a disaster, 0-9 in 10 starts with a 6.03 ERA, and yes, his team did lose that 10th start, Game 6 of the 2015 ALCS with the Blue Jays.

If now – against this lineup – is when you believe Price will finally put his postseason demons to rest, well, there still is the matter of Cole pitching on the other side, which is exactly what happened on September 7 at Fenway.

In that game, Cole allowed two runs over six innings, while Price allowed two runs over 6.1 innings. The result? Houston won, 6-3, knocking around Ryan Brasier and Joe Kelly, and getting shutdown relief from Hector Rondon and Roberto Osuna after taking the lead.

Betting Tips for Red Sox-Astros

That sort of game well could be the story of the ALCS: dominant starting pitching, bullpen battles, a late offensive flare to win. If so, it absolutely favors Houston’s deeper bullpen and the fact that any Astros hitter is capable of going deep at any time.

With all due respect to Christian Vazquez and his series-sealing dinger in New York, the entirety of the Boston lineup just isn’t that threatening. Also, Craig Kimbrel’s performance in the Yankees series has to be at least a little worrisome for Boston, doesn’t it?

If it seems like Boston is dealing with a lack of respect unlike anything previously shown to a 108-win team, that may be the case, but it’s also worth remembering that the Red Sox got to that lofty total by going a combined 31-7 against the Orioles and Blue Jays.

Against American League playoff teams, Boston was 18-21 – now 21-22 after taking care of the Yankees – while the Astros were 22-18, now 25-18 after the division series sweep of Cleveland.

Red Sox-Astros ALCS 2018 Best Bets

The Astros are the pick, but it should be a good series – there’s a reason it’s -200 for over 5.5 games and +160 for the underon series length. Neither line for the games spread is particularly appealing, Boston +1.5 at -167 or Houston -1.5 at +135.

If you’re feeling frisky, an Astros sweep at +1200 with 888Sport is juicy, and pairing it with Astros in 5 at +525 isn’t a bad option, given there’s at least a decent chance of Houston going home up 2-0.

If you do like the Red Sox, consider those long series bets: Boston in 6 at +425 with SugarHouse andBoston in 7 at +400 with SugarHouse. The Astros have been nails at home over the last two playoffs, and given how good Houston is from top to bottom, it’s just not a team that will be an easy out.

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