Red Sox vs. Astros: ALCS Game 1 betting odds, preview, and pick

Profile Picture: Robert Criscola

October 15th, 2021

Two American League powerhouses collide at Minute Maid Park on Friday night as the Boston Red Sox take on the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the 2021 ALCS. The Red Sox dispatched the division-rival Tampa Bay Rays in four games to get here, while the Astros sent the Chicago White Sox packing after four games as well.

Here is our wagering preview for Game 1 of what should be a fascinating series.

Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros, 8:07 p.m. ET, FOX

Sat, October 16 2021, 12:07 AM

HOU Astros



Run Line



O 8.5

BOS Red Sox



Run Line



U 8.5

A bounce-back start from Chris Sale should help catapult the Red Sox to an opening game victory on the road against the Astros.

Sale’s effort in Game 2 of the ALDS was too bad to be believed, as he lasted just one inning and allowed five earned runs. It may have simply been a matchup problem for the Florida-born southpaw; he allowed 16 hits to the Rays over 9 2/3 innings in the regular season, but only 29 hits over 33 innings to all other opponents.

Sale should be expected to last about five innings in this one – or two trips around the batting order – before Boston manager Alex Cora taps into his bullpen. High-leverage men Hansel Robles and Ryan Brasier each had a hiccup in the ALDS, but only after Tampa saw them multiple times over a four-game span. Nick Pivetta and Tanner Houck did yeoman’s work in that series (five earned runs over 15 2/3 combined innings), and can be counted on in middle relief situations, along with Garrett Whitlock.

Framber Valdez gets the nod for Houston, looking to shake off a mediocre ALDS Game 2 outing in which he allowed four runs over 4 1/3 innings. Unfortunately for manager Dusty Baker, the Astros have fewer reliable bullpen arms. For every Kendall Graveman there’s a Yimi Garcia, which explains why Houston was a middle-of-the-road relief pitching team for most of the regular season.

With the Red Sox producing a .919 OPS through four postseason games, it’s hard to imagine them not scoring a bunch of runs in this one.

MLB pick: Red Sox +118

Player prop pick: Enrique Hernandez Over 0.5 RBI (+188)

It was difficult to land on just one Boston player we like to record an RBI in Game 1 of the ALCS, but Enrique Hernandez seems the most likely to accomplish this.

Hernandez shared the team lead in both homers (two) and RBI (six) in the ALDS, but was the outright leader in hits (10) and OPS (1.266). He could get his RBI early against Valdez, as he’s 3-for-11 (.273) lifetime off this hurler with a home run.