American League Championship Series Game 3 Preview, Odds, and Pick: Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox

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The American League Championship Series is now a best-of-five. The Houston Astros took care of business with a come-from-behind victory in Game 1 on Friday night before the Red Sox stormed back to take Game 2 in powerful fashion. Following a travel day on Sunday, the scene will now shift to Fenway Park for three games beginning with Game 3 on Monday night.

All the Red Sox had to do was take one of the first two games on the road. Thanks to early grand slams from JD Martinez and Rafael Devers on Saturday afternoon, they accomplished that goal with a 9-5 triumph in Game 2. BetOnline’s oddsmakers have Boston as a -111 moneyline favorite to grab a second consecutive victory in tonight’s Game 3, while Houston is listed at +101 to win on the road.

Astros vs. Red Sox Betting Odds

Teams Runline Moneyline Total
Houston Astros +1.5 (-190) +101 Over 9 runs (-123)
Boston Red Sox -1.5 (+165) -111 Under 9 runs (+103)

Astros

Dusty Baker’s pitching plans have been thrown out the window entering Game 3. The Astros were dealt a massive blow when Lance McCullers Jr. was left off of the ALCS roster with a strained forearm, which cast doubt on the quality of Houston’s rotation. Game 1 starter Framber Valdez was chased after just 2.2 innings of work, while Luis Garcia had an even worse time in Game 2. Garcia got three outs and conceded five of Boston’s nine runs before leaving with an injury in the second inning on Saturday.

Baker had to use Jake Odorizzi in long relief, which means the right-hander will likely be unavailable to make his previously scheduled Game 4 start. So, an awful lot hinges on what Jose Urquidy can give the Astros in Game 3. Urquidy was a valuable arm during Houston’s 2019 World Series run, but he will pitch on Monday night following a lengthy layoff. Urquidy hasn’t stepped on a mound in a game setting since a win over the Oakland A’s back on October 3 in the final game of the regular season.

In 20 regular-season outings, the 26-year-old went 8-3 with a solid 3.62 ERA. Urquidy’s strikeout rate of 21.3 percent was slightly above his career mark (20.8 percent), and his control was impeccable. Urquidy has a career walk rate of just 4.8 percent in the majors, which means he’ll be living in the strike zone in this game. His effectiveness will hinge on his ability to keep the Red Sox’ powerful lineup from barreling him up. Urquidy’s barrel rate of 9.3 percent this season was the highest of his brief career.

In his lone outing against Boston during the regular season, Urquidy limited the Red Sox to just one run on three hits with nine strikeouts in six effective innings of work. The right-hander yielded at least four earned runs just once all year long, as well. In four games during the 2019 postseason run, he went 1-1 with a tidy 0.90 ERA. That included a sterling five-inning effort in Houston’s 8-1 win over the Nationals in Game 4 of the World Series that fall.

Red Sox

The Red Sox came into this series knowing they would have to hit for power if they were going to have a chance. Through two games, they have done just that. Boston hit a total of five home runs in the first two games, three of which have come off the bat of the red-hot Kiké Hernandez. Boston has now smashed 16 homers as a team since the postseason began, which is twice as many as the next-best team. The Sox lead the postseason in runs (45), doubles (14), total bases (146), batting average (.318), and on-base percentage (.372).

Alex Cora will turn to Eduardo Rodriguez in Game 3. The southpaw finished 13-8 with a 4.74 ERA during the regular season, and he was hit-o-miss in the ALDS against Tampa Bay. In two starts, Rodriguez surrendered a total of four runs on five hits in 6.2 innings of work. He took the loss in Game 1 of that series after yielding a couple of runs in only 1.2 innings of work.

While his surface-level numbers leave plenty to be desired, E-Rod’s underlying stats look a bit better. His xERA of 3.55 was considerably better than his actual 4.74 mark, and he was the victim of some poor batted-ball luck. Rodriguez allowed a BABIP – batting average on balls in play – of .363, which is well above league average.

Of course, this is a tough matchup. The Astros are one of the lowest-strikeout lineups in the majors, especially against left-handed pitching. Houston whiffed just 18.8 percent of the time against lefties during the season with a team wOBA of .343. Between Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Yuli Gurriel, and Alex Bregman, there is no shortage of righty power for E-Rod to try and navigate in this one. The Astros blasted Rodriguez for six runs on six hits in 4.2 innings in their last meeting on June 10 at Fenway Park. That came on the heels of another six-run outing on seven hits allowed a few days earlier in Houston. Between those two games, Rodriguez posted an unsightly 11.57 ERA against Houston, which was easily his worst mark against any opponent.

Astros vs. Red Sox MLB Pick

Fenway Park is one of the most hitter-friendly environments in the majors, especially for righty power bats. Rodriguez has had issues keeping the ball in the park against RHBs in his career, and those issues tend to be exacerbated whenever he pitches at home. For whatever it’s worth, Urquidy also happens to be a reverse-splits right-hander, which means he also tends to struggle more with righties than lefties.

Given the state of both offenses, I think it’s safe to expect plenty of offense in Game 3. The cold temperatures in Boston is something that will help the pitchers, but I’m not sure it will matter all that much. Rodriguez has shown no ability to get these Astros out, and I’m skeptical that Urquidy will be at his best given his 15-day layoff. I think the over on nine runs is very attackable, and easily the best way to bet this one. Houston’s moneyline (+101) is also intriguing if you’re looking for an alternative angle.

Pick: Over 9 runs
Odds: -123
$100 Could Win You...$181

Astros vs. Red Sox Betting Recap:

  • Oddsmaker: BetOnline
  • Moneylines: Astros +101, Red Sox -111
  • Runlines: Astros +1.5 (-190), Red Sox -1.5 (+165)
  • Over/Under: Over 9 (-123), Under 9 (+103)
  • Prediction: Over 9 runs (-123)
Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...

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