Houston Astros vs. Tampa Bay Rays – Game 1, 2020 ALCS

By Admir Aljic in MLB
| October 11, 2020 1:27 am PDT

The Houston Astros (29-31) look to prove that they can advance to the World Series without the need of garbage cans and electronic devices when they take on the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of the ALCS on Sunday. The Astros have been labeled the biggest cheaters in baseball since the 1919 Chicago White Sox and would love to prove that they can win it all without the benefit of aids.

To do so, they will have to get past the Rays (40-20), who finished with the second-best record in baseball and who pulled off a minor upset when they dispatched the New York Yankees. Now they look to win their first title in franchise history.

Astros vs. Rays Odds

BET ODDS
Astros +1.5 -160
Rays -1.5 +135
Astros to Win +125
Rays to Win -145
Over 8.5 -105
Under 8.5 -115

Oddsmakers give the Game 1 edge to the Rays despite the fact that they only get one day off before beginning the ALCS. The -145 seems a bit steep though, especially considering that there is a much better wager out there with the under 8.5, coming in at -115. Two outstanding lefties on the hill may make this a better use of your money.

Astros vs. Rays Preview

This is an interesting matchup. Tampa Bay has the best record in the AL, while the Astros entered the playoffs with the worst record among playoff teams. Yet, here they are battling out to see who will face the Braves or Dodgers in the World Series. They did not face each other during the regular season.

Houston got here thanks to a bruising offense that scored 40 runs and hit 13 homers in six games. Much of that came against a very good Oakland A’s pitching staff, so this team is no fluke. They boast the top batting average in the post-season (.281) and are second in OPS at .839. This team can flat out hit.

The pitching has been solid, especially in the bullpen, where the Astros have a 2.45 ERA in the playoffs. The relievers are 4-1 with two saves and have allowed only 16 hits in 25.2 innings pitched. If their starter falters, they are ready to go.’

The Astros will start Famber Valdez in Game 1. He has been brilliant in the post-season, going 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA.

The Rays are able to hit the longball as well, blasting 14 through seven games. However, they have not been as productive at the plate, driving in 32. In the post-season they have really struggled against lefties, hitting just .178. That is not a good sign against a guy like Valdez, who is looking very good right now.

Tampa Bay goes with Blake Snell, who is 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in the playoffs. He was great during the regular season, going 4-2 with a 3.24 ERA. Snell is one of the most dominant lefties in baseball.

Astros vs. Rays Betting Pick 

In this game, scoring should be at a premium. I get that both teams enter this series hitting homers and scoring runs, but this is the ALCS. We are not going to see 7-6 games, especially not with these two starters on the hill.

Houston has hit lefties well in the playoffs, hitting .314, but they have not faced Snell. He is the kind of lefty that dominates the game and makes hitters look foolish. There is the added factor of the Astros now get all the spotlight on them and all are looking to see if they are a team that can win when they do not cheat.

I like the under here. 8.5 does not just seem high – it seems ridiculous. This is a low scoring affair won by Tampa Bay, 3-1. If you are thinking about taking the Rays and giving up 1.5, I say go for it.

Pick
  • Under 8.5
    -115

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