Astros open ALCS as betting favourites against Red Sox

Houston Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez, right, is greeted by Carlos Correa near home plate after hitting a solo home run off Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Reynaldo Lopez during the fifth inning in Game 1 of a baseball American League Division Series Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in Houston. (David J. Phillip/AP Photo)

The Houston Astros will be looking to begin their fifth straight appearance in the ALCS on a winning note when they play host to the Boston Red Sox on Friday night in Game 1 as an opening -145 home favourite on the MLB odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Houston punched its ticket to the ALCS with a four-game series victory over the Chicago White Sox in ALDS action, and has now tallied wins in five of six contests going into Friday night’s matchup at Minute Maid Park.

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Winners of 95 games during the regular season on their way to their fourth AL West division title in five years, the Astros have managed to overcome a late-season swoon. Winners in just two of seven contests to close out September, Houston has rediscovered its offensive touch since, averaging eight runs per game during its current 5-1 tear. And after dispatching the White Sox with a 4-1 road victory in Game 4 of their ALDS, the Astros now return home riding a four-game win streak at Minute Maid Park.

In addition to putting them as -155 favourites on the series prices at sports betting sites, the Astros’ recent surge has also lifted them to +200 on the World Series odds. However, Houston has gone just 2-2 in four ALCS appearances, including a five-game series loss to the Red Sox back in 2018. The Astros fell to defeat in each of their three home dates with Boston during the 2018 ALCS, suffering losses by multi-run margins in each of those contests while set as betting chalk.

Ben Nicholson-Smith is Sportsnet’s baseball editor. Arden Zwelling is a senior writer. Together, they bring you the most in-depth Blue Jays podcast in the league, covering off all the latest news with opinion and analysis, as well as interviews with other insiders and team members.

One of the biggest surprise stories of the 2021 season, the Red Sox travel to Houston as underdogs on the ALCS Game 1 odds. The team earned a berth in the ALCS for the third time in nine years after bouncing the reigning AL champion Tampa Bay Rays from their ALDS in four games, capped by Monday’s narrow 6-5 victory.

Overall, the Red Sox have won eight of their last 10 games while scoring six or more runs in six of those victories, and have generated a steady 10-6 road record since the start of September. In addition, Boston has claimed victory in eight of its past 10 postseason road dates, and has gone on to win the World Series following four of its past five ALCS appearances. Despite that success, the Red Sox open the series lagging at +130 on the MLB series prices and sit as a +400 wager on the World Series odds.

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