Astros vs Red Sox ALCS Game 5 Picks and Predictions: Houston's Bats Have Come Back to Life

The Astros were six outs away from a 3-1 deficit but exploded for eight runs in the final two innings to tie the ALCS against Boston. With new life, and the bats showing confidence again, our MLB picks are backing Houston to keep rolling tonight.

Last Updated: Oct 20, 2021 1:01 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Jose Altuve Houston Astros MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Red Sox were six outs away from taking a 3-1 series lead over the Houston Astros last night, but a game-tying solo shot from Jose Altuve in the eighth and a seven-run ninth from Houston crushed those dreams — and the tickets of any Boston ML and Under 10 backers. 

Short memories are required, however, as these teams do it again today at Fenway for a pivotal Game 5, with both teams starting inconsistent lefties. The Red Sox will send Chris Sale to the bump while Houston will counter Framber Valdez — both of which were unimpressive in their Game 1 ALCS starts.

The Red Sox opened as -120 MLB betting home favorites, after closing at -130 in Game 4, and after seeing a total of 10 last night, Game 5 opened with a total of 9.5 leaning to the Over. 

Here are our free MLB odds, picks, and predictions for Astros vs. Red Sox for Wednesday, October 20.


Astros vs Red Sox odds

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Astros vs Red Sox picks

Picks made on 10/20/2021 at 9:34 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Astros vs Red Sox game info

Location: Fenway Park, Boston, MA
Date: Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Time: 5:08 p.m. ET

Astros vs Red Sox betting preview

Starting pitchers

Framber Valdez (Postseason: 0-0, 7.71 ERA): It's been a disastrous start to the 2021 postseason for Valdez. He finished the regular season with a 3.16 ERA over 22 starts but has struggled mightily in his two playoff starts, throwing just seven total innings and allowing seven runs on 13 hits and four walks. Boston got to the starter for three runs in Game 1 as Valdez exited in the second inning. Valdez is a ground-ball pitcher but if he can’t locate  and is constantly pitching from behind again, it could be another short outing for the disappointing lefty.

Chris Sale (Postseason: 0-0, 14.73 ERA): Sale will make his third postseason start Wednesday and faces a Houston offense that managed just one run off of him in Game 1, despite allowing seven base runners in just 2 2-3 innings of work. Sale is nowhere near his pre-injury form and watching the lefty struggle is plenty worrisome for Boston fans — he owns an unsightly 3.27 WHIP over his two postseason starts and has shown no signs of his prior dominance.

Astros vs Red Sox series odds (Tied 2-2)

Astros: +115
Red Sox: -135


Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.

Key injuries

Astros: Jake Myers CF (Questionable).
Red Sox: None.
Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Over is 6-0 in the Astros’ last six games as an underdog. Find more MLB betting trends for Astros vs. Red Sox.

Astros vs Red Sox predictions

The Red Sox scored two runs in the first inning last night and failed to score another run against a Houston bullpen that is now up to 28 2-3 innings of work over four games and five days. The Boston bullpen, by comparison, blew a 2-1 lead in the final two frames and now we have a 2-2 series. 

Instead of being up 3-1 with a chance to wrap it up at home tonight versus a Houston offense that was struggling, Red Sox will now have to win at least one in Houston to advance to the World Series — while also giving the once-dormant Astros bats life and confidence again.

Couple this with the Astros’ ability to hit Chris Sale and this might not feel like a tied series for the Sox, despite Boston still being the betting favorite to win this best-of-seven series.

Chris Sale was awful in his Game 1 start, allowing a walk, a hit, and a sac fly in the first inning, two hits and a HBP in the second, and two singles in the third before getting the hook. The sad thing is that this was the better of his two postseason starts after the White Sox tagged him for five runs in just one inning in the ALDS. The Boston bullpen will be active today — and that could be bad news for the home team as the Red Sox relievers saw their postseason ERA go from 4.50 to 7.31 after last night’s loss.

Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley, and Alex Bregman also snapped out of a series funk as the one-through-three hitters combined to go 4 for 13 with two home runs, five runs scored, and five RBIs... This lineup may have just gotten its mojo back.

The Sox can certainly make a game of this as well and already hit Framber Valdez hard in Game 1. Boston had nine baserunners over 2 2-3 innings against the Houston lefty, although Valdez is capable of bouncing back (if he fixes some postseason control issues) — this is still the same pitcher who led the league in ground-ball percentage and had a 44 percent whiff percentage with his curveball. If he can locate his best pitch, Houston at +107 looks even better.

This could be a see-saw battle but we think this is more of a 50-52 percent win probability for Houston given the matchup. We have to take the +107, especially after the Red Sox bats went 4 for 27 after the first inning last night.

We feel for you Game 4 Under backers. We really do.

Last night’s 9-2 final saw seven(!) runs scored in the top of the ninth to hit the Over that was set at 10. If you hit that Over last night, you should be doing your happy dance because that was a lucky one. The improbable hit pushed the O/U record to a perfect 4-0 in the series. The books are giving us a 9.5 total on Wednesday night with two possibly weaker starters than yesterday and a pair of bullpens that have thrown 20 innings over the last two days, allowing 13 runs.

Both teams used the long ball last night, despite the cold and windy weather at Fenway. Four homers were hit in this exact same pitching matchup in a Game 1 that featured nine runs, 21 hits, six walks — and both teams combining to go 1 for 16 with RISP. Both starters stranded a combined 10 runners in their 16 outs while surrendering four runs.

Game 1 was a sweaty Over victory but it had plenty of chances to win early. 

Plus, both bullpens can implode at any moment. Alex Cora had such little faith in his bullpen last night that he used Nathan Eovaldi in the ninth. We doubt we see him tonight as the Boston manager may want to save him for Game 6 (or possibly Game 7). Houston also used its best relievers heavily last night as Kendall Graveman threw two innings and Ryan Pressly allowed two hits in a scoreless ninth while striking out the side.

Houston’s bullpen has thrown over 28 innings since Friday and carried a 4.71 ERA heading into last night’s game while the Red Sox bullpen owns a 7.31 ERA in the series.

We don’t like either pitcher to make it past 13 outs and we certainly don’t trust either bullpen. This would have been a lean at 10 but is a full-on Over at 9.5. This total could hit 10 later in the day.

For what it's worth, we also like the Over on the Astros’ team total of 4.5 (-110).


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