The World Series champion Houston Astros will try to continue their recent success at Fenway Park on Saturday, when they visit the Boston Red Sox as small road underdogs at sportsbooks for Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.
The Astros have won six of their past nine games against the Red Sox at Fenway, according to the OddsShark MLB Database, and knocked them out of last year's playoffs with a 5-4 victory in Game 4 there. Boston will be out to avenge that defeat.
MLB betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 5.5-2.1, Astros. MLB picks on every game.
Why the Astros Can Pay on the MLB Lines
Houston may be a slight underdog in Game 1 but is favored to win the series as an even better team statistically than last year. The Astros won two more games during the regular season this year than last and four more on the road, where they led MLB with an outstanding 57-24 mark.
In fact, Houston's road record was better than every other team's in baseball at home except that of Boston, which went 57-24 at Fenway. The Astros will send Justin Verlander (16-9, 2.52 ERA) to the mound in the series opener, and he earned three-quarters of his wins away from home in 2018, going 12-2 with a 2.14 ERA.
Why the Red Sox Can Pay on the MLB Lines
The Red Sox will count on ace Chris Sale (12-4, 2.11 ERA) to come through for them in this crucial spot, and he picked up a victory in Game 1 of the AL Division Series versus the New York Yankees after allowing two runs and five hits in 5.1 innings with two walks and eight strikeouts.
Sale let his team down in last year's ALDS matchup and will be out to redeem himself here, and Boston's bats have improved since then, with the two league MVP favorites in Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. While Betts is expected to win MVP honors, Martinez has been much better in the playoffs with a .357 batting average, one home run and six RBI in the four-game series win over New York.
Smart Betting Pick
Martinez may make the difference for the Red Sox this time around, as he has hit well against most of Houston's pitchers over the course of his career, including Verlander (2-for-3 with two RBI). That said, this is a must-win matchup for the Red Sox—and especially Sale. If they lose Game 1, they will be big dogs to win the series. That will not happen.
MLB Betting Trends
The total has gone over in five of Houston's past six games when playing Boston.
Boston is 4-1 in its past five games.
The total has gone over in seven of Boston's past nine games.
All MLB odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report's official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week's top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.