MLB Playoffs 2018: ALCS, NLCS Odds, TV Schedule, Predictions

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2018

Potential MVP Mookie Betts hopes to lead the Red Sox into the World Series.
Potential MVP Mookie Betts hopes to lead the Red Sox into the World Series.Charles Krupa/Associated Press

As heart rates in Boston begin to get back to normal, anxiety levels are going up in Milwaukee, Los Angeles and Houston as the Brewers, Dodgers and Astros prepare to play in the MLB League Championship Series.

The Red Sox were the last of the four teams to advance, as they sweated out a 4-3 victory over the New York Yankees Tuesday night to give them a 3-1 victory in their American League Division Series.

Boston had a 4-1 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth inning Tuesday night with closer Craig Kimbrel on the mound. Kimbrel gave up two runs and the tying run was on second when Gleyber Torres hit a slow roller to third. Eduardo Nunez charged the ball and threw Torres out by a fraction, and the play survived replay review and led to a Red Sox celebration.

The Astros quickly disposed of the Cleveland Indians in three games and have been off since finishing that series Monday afternoon.

The Red Sox and Astros will begin the ALCS Saturday night, and Boston has home-field advantage based on its 108-win regular-season total. The first pitch is scheduled for 8:09 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised by TBS.

The Dodgers and Brewers will get underway one day earlier in Milwaukee. The Friday night game will get underway at 8:09 p.m. and will be broadcast by FS1.

     

NLCS

Fri., Oct. 12, Dodgers at Brewers, 8:09 p.m. ET, FS1
Sat., Oct. 13, Dodgers at Brewers, 4:09 p.m. ET, FOX
Mon., Oct. 15, Brewers at Dodgers, 7:39 p.m. ET, FS1
Tues., Oct. 16, Brewers at Dodgers, 9:09 p.m. ET, FS1
Wed., Oct. 17, Brewers at Dodgers*, 5:05 p.m. ET, FS1
Fri., Oct. 19, Dodgers at Brewers*, 8:39 p.m. ET, FS1
Sat., Oct. 20, Dodgers at Brewers*, 9:09 p.m. ET, FS1
*If necessary

ALCS

Sat., Oct. 13, Astros at Red Sox, 8:09 p.m. ET, TBS
Sun., Oct. 14, Astros at Red Sox, 7:09 p.m. ET, TBS
Tues., Oct. 16, Red Sox at Astros, 5:09 p.m. ET, TBS
Wed., Oct. 17, Red Sox at Astros, 8:39 p.m. ET, TBS
Thurs., Oct. 18, Red Sox at Astros*, 8:09 p.m. ET, TBS
Sat., Oct. 20, Astros at Red Sox*, 5:09 p.m. ET, TBS
Sun., Oct. 21, Astros at Red Sox*, 7:39 p.m. ET, TBS
*If necessary

      

The Red Sox will send staff ace Chris Sale to the mound for Game 1 of the series, and the Astros have given the starting assignment to Justin Verlander. This game has every chance to be a classic pitcher's duel where one or two runs could decide the winner.

Sale pitched and earned the win in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Yankees, and he pitched a perfect eighth inning in the series clincher

The Red Sox have tapped David Price to get the start in Game 2, and he struggled in his start in the second game against the Yankees as he was knocked out after 1.2 innings. Price has an 0-9 postseason record as a starter, and the Red Sox are clearly hoping he can get back to the form he had in the regular season in this game. Price was 16-7 with a 3.58 earned-run average and a 1.14 WHIP.

Gerrit Cole will get the start in Game 2 for the Astros.

Sale and the Red Sox were beaten by the Astros in last year's ALDS, and the Boston left-hander was hit hard in Game 1 of that series.

"I try to learn from every experience and learn from my mistakes," Sale said, per David Adler of MLB.com. "My first go at it was godawful. It was as bad as it can possibly get. Going through that made me better for this situation here, and hopefully going forward."

Clayton Kershaw will start for the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLCS, but the bullpen-dependent Brewers have not announced their plans for Game 1.

Jhoulys Chacin may get the call, as he has been quite effective for manager Craig Counsell. Kershaw pitched the best postseason game of his career in the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves, as he gave up just two hits in 8.0 scoreless innings.

Chacin was also impressive against the Colorado Rockies, allowing just three hits in 5.0 scoreless innings.

The Dodgers are minus-165 favorites to defend the National League title they won a year ago and the Brewers are plus-135 underdogs, according to OddsShark. Those backing the Dodgers have to risk $165 to win $100, while Brewers supporters must bet $100 to win $135.

The Astros are minus-155 favorites in the ALCS, while the Red Sox are plus-125 underdogs.

The Red Sox are minus-125 favorites to win Game 1, but there are no odds on the first game of the NLCS because the Brewers have not named their starter.

Predictions

Both of these series have a chance to be exciting, thrilling and close, and they could go the seven-game limit.

The Brewers are rolling as the NLCS begins after beating the Chicago Cubs in Game 163 to win the National League Central title and then sweeping the Rockies in the NLDS.

The Brewers have a dominating bullpen that is throwing shutdown innings, and Christian Yelich has become the favorite to win the National League MVP.

The Dodgers are playing in their third straight NLCS, and they are clearly accustomed to the big stage. With Kershaw in outstanding form and the big bat of Manny Machado, they appear quite formidable.

However, we believe the hot team that has surged over the past month will remain hot. Look for the Brewers to win this series in seven games.

The Red Sox and Astros should have an epic duel, and while Boston has home-field advantage, a devastating lineup featuring Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, and an impressive starting staff, the Astros appear equal to the task.

The trio of Alex Bregman, George Springer and Jose Altuve are all outstanding clutch hitters, and Verlander and the Houston starters are outstanding.

The Astros may have the advantage in the bullpen because the Red Sox have had some struggles with their set-up men.

However, after losing the ALDS to the Astros last year, first-year manager Alex Cora will continue to make all the right moves and Boston will survive in seven games.

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