American League Division Series Betting Preview
Chicago White Sox vs. Houston Astros
Best-of-five Division Series starts in Houston on Thurs. 10/7, 4:07 p.m. ET
The American League West champion Astros have home-field advantage after finishing two games ahead of the American League Central champion White Sox. While Houston led the majors in batting average (.267) and runs scored (5.3 per game) during the regular season, Chicago was one of seven teams to score an average of more than 4.9 runs per game in 2021. The Astros had success against high-scoring teams during the regular season, going 17-6 against American League squads that scored an average of at least 4.9 runs per game, outscoring their opponents over those 23 games by an average score of 5.6 to 3.2.
Chicago’s three most effective starting pitchers in 2021 were Lucas Giolito (3.53 ERA, 1.10 WHIP over 32 starts), Lance Lynn (2.69 ERA, 1.07 WHIP over 28 starts) and Carlos Rodon (2.37 ERA, 0.96 WHIP over 24 starts). Houston has enjoyed success at home against quality starting pitching in recent years, going 18-3 in home games since the start of 2019 when facing an American League starting pitcher with a WHIP of 1.10 or better, outscoring opponents 5.7 to 2.9 over those 21 games. The Astros are 20-6 since the start of 2020 when facing an AL pitcher whose ERA is 3.40 or better, outscoring opponents in those 26 games by an average score of 6.0 to 3.4.
Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Best-of-five Division Series starts in Tampa Bay on Thurs. 10/7, 8:07 p.m. ET
Tampa Bay -165
It was six months ago that the Red Sox finished off a three-game sweep of the Rays on April 7 before rattling off six straight road wins to put some distance between them and the rest of the American League East pack. The teams wouldn’t meet again until June 22, when a 9-5 Boston win put the Red Sox up by 1.5 games over the Rays, who would win the next two games of the three-game series to vault back into first place. A three-game sweep for Tampa Bay in a home series that started on July 30 would put the Rays in first place for good. Tampa Bay won the season series with Boston 11-7, winning 11 of the last 15 meetings between the teams and finishing eight games ahead in the AL East standings.
With Boston’s 6-2 win over the Yankees in Tuesday’s Wild Card Game, Red Sox manager Alex Cora improved his career record as a manager to 15-3 in October games. His squad now faces a Tampa Bay team, however, that bears no resemblance to the undisciplined, free-swinging New York squad of overpaid underachievers that showed little sign of life after falling behind early on Tuesday night. Whereas the poorly constructed roster put together by ineffective Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is stocked with high-priced assets capable of achieving moderate success over a 162-game schedule in an era where more than 20 MLB teams lack quality pitching depth, the Rays’ combination of depth, athleticism, youth, hunger and discipline make them an extremely difficult team to beat, especially in a short playoff series.