ALCS Game 1 Prediction: Astros to Smash Yankees in Houston

astros picks

Mark Lathrop

Friday, October 13, 2017 1:43 PM UTC

Friday, Oct. 13, 2017 1:43 PM UTC

Our MLB handicapper, Mark Lathrop, used the underdog run line to cash a ticket in the dramatic NLDS game last night. He'll use another run line today that has wagering value as he makes his Friday MLB Pick of the Day.

With the New York Yankees shocking the Cleveland Indians to gain a spot in the American League Championship series they have gained the opportunity to play the Houston Astros. The Astros have home-field advantage in this series, yet must feel like they are stuck in a time warp as they have played the Red Sox for eight straight games coming into this matchup. In fact, the Houston Astros haven’t played someone other than Boston in 16 days.

The series price is deeply in favor of the Astros coming into Game 1 here with the betting lines currently sitting at -175 if you want to take Houston to win the AL pennant at Bovada and -165 at 5Dimes. The line for Game 1 also heavily favors the Astros and sits at between -155 and -164 as of Thursday night. That line has moved considerably since opening at -175 favoring the Astros with a lot of initial public money coming in on New York. The O/U total has opened at 8 across the board and has held steady so far.

I was under the impression that I would be fading Dallas Keuchel for the rest of the season after he returned from the DL in late July. That looks to be a more dangerous proposition now, as Keuchel has regained some of his form, and velocity, in the last month or so. After coming back with an average fastball velocity in the mid-88’s in early August, he had it up a full 3 ticks by the end of September. In looking at his splits though, there a serious weakness with Keuchel pitching out of the stretch this season. On the year, he allows just a 2.40 BB/9 rate with the bases empty, yet that climbs to 3.72 with men on base and 5.81 with men in scoring position. It’s an anomaly worth watching. Still, the strengths of Keuchel’s repertoire remain, especially his elite groundball rate of 66.4% over the second half of the season.

Masahiro Tanaka takes the mound for the Astros and he doesn’t have the same batted ball profile of Keuchel. He allows more fly balls overall and more of those leave the yard leading to his 21.2% HR/FB rate over the season. He doesn’t have a dominant split either, and allows a .280 BAA against lefties and .290 BAA against right-handers on the year. Of note is Tanaka’s one start against Houston this year back in May in which he was blasted for 8 earned runs and gave up 4 home runs in just 1.2 innings pitched.

I’m sure either party remembers that first meeting, especially Tanaka as it was his first meeting of the year. Coming now into the raucous home environment of Houston will not help his confidence any further. I’ll be taking Houston to win this series, and this Game 1, with a wager on the moneyline -1.5 at +120 at 5Dimes as my Friday MLB Pick.

Free MLB Picks: Astros -1.5 
Best Line Available (+120) at 5Dimes

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2017 MLB Record, 220-195-11, +10.39 units

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