Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#1903 Boston Red Sox vs.
#1904 Houston Astros
Saturday, October 16, 2021 at 4:20pm EDT
Written by Blake V.

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Houston will be looking to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the American League Championship Series when it hosts Boston in Game 2 on Saturday afternoon. The Red Sox gave up a 3-1 lead in Friday’s series opener, losing 5-4. Houston scored three critical runs via a pair of home runs late in the game.

Hernandez stays red-hot in loss

Boston has been through a lot to get to this point. It held a sizeable lead in the AL East several months ago, but it gave that lead away late in the season. The Red Sox proceeded to barely sneak into the postseason, where they had to get past New York in the Wild Card game. They dropped their series opener at Tampa Bay in the ALDS, but they responded with three straight wins to clinch the series. Boston scored three runs in the third inning on Friday, but it allowed two runs in the sixth and another in the seventh to give up the lead.

The Red Sox have been one of the best offensive teams in baseball this year, ranked third with a team batting average of .261. Center fielder Enrique Hernandez has been the catalyst during the postseason, recording 14 hits—he has also hit four home runs. Left fielder Alex Verdugo has eight hits, while designated hitter J.D. Martinez and shortstop Xander Bogaerts each have seven base knocks. They will be facing a Houston pitching staff that ranked seventh during the regular season with a team ERA of 3.76. Right-handed pitcher Nathan Eovaldi is expected to start for Boston on Saturday. It will be the third start of this postseason for Eovaldi, who posted a 2.61 ERA in 10.1 innings during the first two starts. He had a 3.87 ERA in 14 regular-season starts after the All-Star break.

Astros continue strong playoff stretch

Houston has arguably been the most impressive team in the 2021 playoffs so far. It dominated the AL West during the regular season, cruising to its playoff berth. The Astros were no match for the White Sox in the ALDS, winning three out of the four games. They notched a 10-1 win in Game 4 on Tuesday. Houston got off to a strong start in this series, tying the game at 3-3 on a two-run homer from Jose Altuve in the sixth inning. Carlos Correa gave his team the lead on a solo shot in the seventh and the Astros added insurance in the eighth.

Offense has not been an issue for this team throughout the year, as they led the MLB with a team batting average of .267. Designated hitter Michael Brantley has been the best hitter during the playoffs, picking up seven hits. Right fielder Kyle Tucker has gone yard twice, while third baseman Alex Bregman has six hits. They are facing a Boston pitching staff that was No. 15 during the regular season, tallying a 4.26 ERA. Right-handed Luis Garcia will start for Houston in this game. He allowed five runs on five hits and three walks in just 2.2 innings against Chicago in Game 3 of the ALDS. Garcia made his postseason debut in that game following a regular season where he posted a 3.30 ERA across 155.1 innings.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Houston might have picked up a win on Friday, but the juice is too heavy in this game. Eovaldi and Garcia had similar numbers during the regular season. I trust Eovaldi more in this spot, though. He has had two quality outings already this postseason, while Garcia was hit hard in his playoff debut. The offenses are also comparable, so I think the pitching advantage makes Boston an attractive wager at plus money. The Red Sox also need this game more after dropping the opener and I like them to bounce back.

Prediction: Boston +125

Full-Game Total Pick

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Boston is the type of team where you should be backing the over often. The Red Sox have gone over in five of their last six games. They have one of the best lineups in baseball, but their pitching tends to struggle at times. Houston has been more consistent on the mound, but its offense has also been dynamite. The Astros have gone over in six of their last seven games, so the postseason factor is not slowing down the bats for either team. Garcia struggled in his postseason debut, giving me another reason to take the over.

Prediction: Over 9
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Written By Blake Von Hagen , "Blake V."

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Blake is also an avid sports being expert and you would not be disappointed in following him on a daily basis. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. 
Follow on Twitter @Blake_Vonhagen