MLB Playoffs 2018: NLCS, ALCS Odds, Live Stream, TV Schedule and Predictions

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2018

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 9: J.D. Martinez #28, Mookie Betts #50, and Brock Holt #12 of the Boston Red Sox pose for a photograph as they celebrate with champagne in the clubhouse after clinching the American League Division Series in game four against the New York Yankees on October 9, 2018 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

After two days off following an early end to both the ALDS and NLDS matchups, the MLB playoffs are back in action on Friday with the start of the Championship Series.

On the National League side, the Los Angeles Dodgers dispatched the Atlanta Braves in four games, and they'll now head to Milwaukee to take on a Brewers team that swept the Colorado Rockies in dominant fashion.

In the American League, the defending champion Houston Astros also swept their way through the ALDS with a decisive victory over the Cleveland Indians, while the Boston Red Sox survived a four-game series with the rival New York Yankees to finally return to the ALCS after back-to-back early exits the past two seasons.

Ahead you'll find everything you need to get ready for the next round of the postseason, with a full schedule, pertinent TV and streaming information, updated World Series odds and a preview of both series.

      

ALCS/NLCS Schedule

Friday, October 12

NLCS Game 1: Dodgers at Brewers (8:09 p.m., FS1)

Saturday, October 13

NLCS Game 2: Dodgers at Brewers (4:09 p.m., Fox)

ALCS Game 1: Astros at Red Sox (8:09 p.m., TBS)

Sunday, October 14

ALCS Game 2: Astros at Red Sox (7:09 p.m., TBS)

Monday, October 15

NLCS Game 3: Brewers at Dodgers (7:39 p.m., FS1)

Tuesday, October 16

ALCS Game 3: Red Sox at Astros (5:09 p.m., TBS)

NLCS Game 4: Brewers at Dodgers (9:09 p.m., FS1)

Wednesday, October 17

NLCS Game 5: Brewers at Dodgers (5:05 p.m., FS1)

ALCS Game 4: Red Sox at Astros (8:39 p.m., TBS)

Thursday, October 18

ALCS Game 5: Red Sox at Astros (8:09 p.m., TBS)

Friday, October 19

NLCS Game 6: Dodgers at Brewers (8:39 p.m., FS1)

Saturday, October 20

ALCS Game 6: Astros at Red Sox (5:09 p.m., TBS)

NLCS Game 7: Dodgers at Brewers (9:09 p.m., FS1)

Sunday, October 21

ALCS Game 7: Astros at Red Sox (7:39 p.m., TBS)

All game times ET. Games can be live-streamed on Watch TBS and Fox Sports Go.

     

Odds

     

Predictions

ALCS

Gerrit Cole
Gerrit ColeTim Warner/Getty Images

It took the Houston Astros seven games to knock off the New York Yankees in the ALCS last year, and they'll have their hands full with another AL East powerhouse this time around.

While the Red Sox finished the regular season with the best record in baseball at 108-54, the Astros won the season series 4-3 and racked up 103 wins of their own.

The Red Sox had the highest-scoring offense in baseball, leading the majors in batting average (.268), OPS (.792) and runs scored (876).

AL MVP candidates Mookie Betts (1.078 OPS, .346 BA, 32 HR, 30 SB) and J.D. Martinez (1.031 OPS, .330 BA, 43 HR, 130 RBI) led the way, while Andrew Benintendi (.830 OPS, 41 2B, 16 HR, 87 RBI) and Xander Bogaerts (.883 OPS, 23 HR, 103 RBI) also took their offensive games to another level.

J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts
J.D. Martinez and Mookie BettsBillie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

The pitching staff has had its ups and downs, but still finished eighth in the majors with a 3.75 ERA.

Meanwhile, the Astros had baseball's best pitching staff, leading the majors in team ERA (3.11), starters' ERA (3.16) and bullpen ERA (3.03).

A rotation of Justin Verlander (16-9, 2.52 ERA, 290 K), Gerrit Cole (15-5, 2.88 ERA, 276 K), Dallas Keuchel (12-11, 3.74 ERA, 153 K) and Charlie Morton (15-3, 3.13 ERA, 201 K) has the ability to stymie that high-powered Red Sox offense, while summer pickups Ryan Pressly (26 G, 13 HLD0.77 ERA) and Roberto Osuna (23 G, 12/12 SV, 1.99 ERA) helped shore up the bullpen.

The offense has not been quite as potent as last year's group, but still finished sixth in the majors with 797 runs scored.

It's going to be a battle royale, and the winner of this matchup will likely be the favorite to win the World Series.

Prediction: Astros in 7

    

NLCS

Manny Machado
Manny MachadoRob Carr/Getty Images

The Brewers and Dodgers last faced each other on Aug. 2.

The Dodgers scored a season-high 21 runs in that game to split a four-game series and win the season series 4-3, but they're facing a different Brewers team this time around.

After a 19-7 month of September, the Brewers outscored the Rockies 13-2 in a three-game sweep in the NLDS, and they'll ride that momentum into the NLCS.

The starting rotation is lacking a true ace and manager Craig Counsel has gone the "bullpen game' route once already this postseason. It's that bullpen that will be the key to the Brewers reaching the World Series for the second time in franchise history.

Josh Hader
Josh HaderStacy Revere/Getty Images

The three-headed monster of Josh Hader, Corey Knebel and Jeremy Jeffress are as good as anyone at closing out games, veteran Joakim Soria is a reliable middle relief option and rookies Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff have made a major impact in multi-inning roles.

As for the Dodgers, they'll lean heavily on a more traditional pitching staff.

Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu combined for 15 scoreless innings in their NLDS starts, while rookie Walker Buehler tossed 6.2 innings of one-hit ball against the Rockies in the NL West tie-breaker game following a dominant September. Veteran Rich Hill will round out the starting staff.

That said, the offense's ability to score early and get a lead before the Brewers turn things over to that dominant bullpen might be the biggest key.

The Dodgers led the NL in OPS (.774), home runs (235) and runs scored (804) during the regular season, as seven different players topped 20 home runs, led by Max Muncy (35).

The Dodgers will need to score early and the Brewers might be forced to do their damage late against an inconsistent Los Angeles bullpen. Should make for an interesting dynamic.

Prediction: Brewers in 6

      

All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference, unless otherwise noted.

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