Red Sox vs. Indians: ALDS Game 1 Predictions & Free Picks

David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox smiles before a game against the New York Yankees

Willie Bee

Thursday, October 6, 2016 2:05 PM UTC

Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016 2:05 PM UTC

Tonight is Game 1 of the ALDS, but the question is can Terry Francona get the Indians past his former club when Cleveland hosts the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS? Join us for a free MLB pick in what I think is going to be an Indians take down by Big Papi's Red Sox.


Their field general when the Boston Red Sox broke an 86-year old World Series drought in 2004, Terry Francona now gets an opportunity to prevent them from winning a third championship in 12 seasons when he leads the Cleveland Indians into ALDS battle.

Game 1 of the series is set for a 7 PM (ET) start Thursday. and the initial mound duel is between Boston's Rick Porcello and Cleveland's Trevor Bauer. It's the Red Sox drawing chalk  with BetOnline listing them at -139 after initially setting the moneyline at -126. Thursday's total is 8½.

Boston is not only the favorite on the road in Game 1, but a pronounced -170 favorite on the MLB futures odds for the series. Some of that is naturally due to the Red Sox being a far more recognizable team for your average bettor (*cough*John Q Public*cough*), and some of that is the fact Boston took four of six from the Indians this season. That includes winning two of three in Cleveland, a series that was interrupted by rain in early-April when the clubs opened the 2016 campaign against each other.

The first two meetings in April went 'over' totals in the 6-7½ while the makeup in mid-August stayed 'under' a 9-run mark. Boston finished the regular season almost dead-even in the totals column with a 77-78-7 O/U/P record while Cleveland leaned slightly 'over' at 80-70-11.


Porcello With Recent Solid Showings At Progressive Field

The Red Sox favored the 'under' at season's end with six of their last seven failing to reach the total, 11 of the last 13. Porcello started three of those contests, two of which fell short of the totals on the MLB odds, and the righthander seems a lock for the AL Comeback Player of the Year award after winning 22 games with a 3.15 ERA. That was on the heels of a 9-15 record in 2015 when he pitched to an ERA just under five.

He faced the Indians just once, a winning effort at Fenway in May. The righthander's last three assignments in Cleveland have been solid, Porcello winning twice and allowing just two earned runs in 20 innings.

If not for injuries, we'd probably see the series odds for this one much tighter and Bauer likely pitching behind both Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar in Francona's rotation. The former UCLA star began the year in the Cleveland bullpen before making his way into the starting mix, and after looking like an ace in the making, fell off a bit in September, successive starts vs. the Astros, White Sox and Tigers filed in the ugly column. He faced the Red Sox twice, once each as a starter and reliever, and didn't have much success either time (6 IP, 6 ER).


Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

Veteran Bill Miller will chief the umpire crew, but he will not be behind the plate until a fifth game if needed. Instead, Brian Knight will call balls and strikes in the opener after going 19-10-1 O/U/P during the regular season. Home underdogs ran 4-3, and he worked a recent Bauer start against the White Sox on this diamond, a 10-4 Cleveland win as -170 home chalk.

It should be a great night for baseball with a 1st-pitch temp in the low-70s, clear skies and a light SE breeze (right to left). It's October and time for David Ortiz to lift Boston on his big shoulders one more time, which is why I'm cutting some of that chalk and taking Big Papi on the run line with my free baseball pick.


Free MLB Pick: Red Sox -1½ +120
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes
Season: 43-41 (+4.70)

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