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Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros is seen prior to Game One of the Division Series as we look at our best Rangers-Astros prediction for Game 1
Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros is seen prior to Game One of the Division Series against the Minnesota Twins at Minute Maid Park on October 07, 2023 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images via AFP.

Game 1 of the ALCS takes place Sunday night in Houston as the host Astros have home-field advantage over the AL West rival Texas Rangers, and we’re sharing our top Rangers vs. Astros prediction based on the MLB odds from our best sports betting apps.

The Texas Rangers and Houston Astros are set to start a historic ALCS, as this is the first-ever LCS between two clubs from the same state. And per Katie Sharp, this is also the first time the four teams involved in the NLCS and ALCS had 90 or fewer wins during the regular season.

Texas is playing in the ALCS for the first time since 2011, while Houston's seven championship series appearances are just one short of the MLB record held by the Atlanta Braves.

The Astros won nine of their 13 regular-season meetings against the Rangers.

Houston is unsurprisingly the favorite by the World Series odds with several key hitters represented among the World Series MVP odds.

Here is our best Rangers vs. Astros prediction for Game 1 of the ALCS (odds via our best MLB betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Rangers vs. Astros prediction: ALCS Game 1

Editor's note: The Rangers will be starting LHP Jordan Montgomery.

Astros first five innings moneyline (-135 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Astros righty Justin Verlander comes into this start with plenty of momentum. Four of his final regular season starts were against teams that either made the playoffs or won 88-plus games, and in those starts, he went 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA and a 4:1 K:BB ratio.

Then Verlander dazzled in his first postseason start, throwing six scoreless innings against the Minnesota Twins. For as much talk as there has been that the four teams that received first-round byes were done a disservice because they had a long layoff, the Astros took care of business in the ALDS. Plus, a veteran like Verlander does not mind the extra rest after having pitched last Saturday.

Verlander has been outstanding with six-plus days of rest in his career, as his .694 winning percentage (25-11 record), 2.90 ERA, .215 OBA, and .623 OPS allowed are all better than his career numbers on four or five days of rest. And while Texas' offense has been hot in scoring 32 runs and slashing .282/.373/.492 in its five postseason games, it will now have to deal with a long layoff from when it clinched its ALDS win on Tuesday, whereas the team was more in rhythm starting its wild-card series just two days after the regular season ended.


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Rangers vs. Astros best odds

bet365 (-135)


As Astros backers, bet365 is the go-to shop of our five best sports betting apps, as it offers the best price to back the favorites through the first five innings. These first five innings lines are aligned with the various shops' full game lines, so bettors can determine the wager that makes the most sense for them and if they want to include or exclude the bullpens.

bet365 also offers an intriguing "Alternative 5 Innings Line" where one can back the Astros -0.5 at -110 odds. However, we prefer the insurance of getting our wager refunded as a "push" if Houston and Texas are tied after five innings.

Rangers vs. Astros odds

Rangers vs. Astros odds analysis

bet365 is on the low end of all of our best sports betting sites with full-game moneyline odds of Texas -135, while Caesars is the most expensive to back the favorites at -145. Most early line movement has gone in favor of Texas, as FanDuel lowered from Astros -148 on Thursday night to -142, while BetMGM has gone from -145 to -140. Fifty-nine percent of the early moneyline wagers are on Houston.

DraftKings and BetRivers are the only sportsbooks offering an O/U of 9 runs, as all other competitors are a half-run lower at 8.5. All those at 8.5 (FanDuel, Caesars, BetMGM, bet365) are juiced -120 to the Over, and there has been solid two-way action with a 51/49 split in favor of the Under to this point.

Rangers vs. Astros game info: ALCS Game 1

  • When: Sunday, Oct. 15 at 8:15 p.m. ET
  • Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX
  • How to watch: FOX
  • Weather: Indoors

Rangers-Astros pick made 10/13/2023 at 4:16 p.m. ET.

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