Zack Greinke and the Houston Astros will travel to Fenway Park for a matchup against Nick Pivetta and the Boston Red Sox. These pitchers are extremely similar with Greinke featuring an xFIP only 0.07 below Pivetta this season. The latter comes with significantly more strikeout upside, though. Houston’s featured the better bullpen over the last 30 days, as well. These offenses are extremely similar with the Astros having a slight edge once again.
Like many playoff games, the odds are extremely close with Boston being a slight home favorite over Houston. The Red Sox are leading the series 2-1, and they’ll benefit from playing at home in this game. The Astros are somewhat in a must-win game, as it’ll be extremely difficult to win the final three games of this series if they lose tonight.
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Houston Astros vs Boston Red Sox
Zack Greinke and the Astros are +105 underdogs against Nick Pivetta and the Red Sox. This is what the line opened at, as it hasn’t moved thus far. The game total also opened at 10 runs and hasn’t shifted throughout the day. As you can see on our Trends page, the Astros own an implied team total of 4.9 runs, while the Red Sox team total sits at 5.6 runs.
The odds vary quite a bit on different sportsbooks. The Red Sox are as large as -132 favorites on SugarHouse, BetRivers, and Unibet, while the Astros are as big as +115 underdogs on Caesars. This game is the perfect example of why you should be shopping multiple books, regardless of which team you’re betting.
Greinke isn’t a pitcher I love backing, as this is his worst season since 2005. With that being said, he still owns a 4.16 ERA with a 4.21 xFIP and a 4.54 SIERA through 30 games (29 starts). He’s struggled in recent games, giving up 5+ earned runs in each of his last 3 starts. With that being said, Greinke allowed 3 or fewer earned runs in 20 of his 29 starts this season.
I’m not overly concerned with Greinke allowing a few runs, as I expect Houston to score plenty tonight. They get a matchup against Pivetta, who owns a 4.53 ERA with a 4.28 xFIP and a 4.15 SIERA through 31 games (30 starts). He quietly allowed 3 or more earned runs in 9 of his last 15 starts. He also allowed 3 earned runs over 8.2 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays in the playoffs.
One of the keys in this game is Pivetta’s struggles at home this season, specifically against left-handed batters. He owns a 5.08 xFIP at home against lefties. With that being said, he also owns a 2.56 HR/9 against right-handed batters in Boston. Houston utilizes a blend of outstanding right- and left-handed batters throughout their lineup, allowing either side to take advantage of this matchup.
Overall, these two offenses own essentially the same team wOBA over the last 14 days. Over that span, Boston’s sits at 0.331, while Houston’s sits at 0.338. The Red Sox are outscoring the Astros 25-13 in this series, but the Houston offense has far too much upside not to find more success.
The Astros also have the edge in the bullpen, as they boast a 4.1 xFIP over the last 30 days. The Red Sox bullpen owns a 4.49 xFIP over that same span. I don’t trust either starter in this game, as the offenses could get to them early. Instead, both teams may need to lean heavier on their bullpens.
These are two teams that are extremely similar. The starting pitching and offenses are near identical while Houston owns a small edge in the bullpen. The one key here is that this is essentially a must-win game for Houston. I prefer them as underdogs than paying any juice on Boston tonight.
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