Houston Astros hope to fade public betting attention as they enter the playoffs as a heavy underdog against the Boston Red Sox.
The Astros ended with the best record in the American League, but at -175 to win the World Series, they are fourth favorites at most sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. Boston is -225 favorite to win its first crown since 2013.
Houston had a 12-8 edge in head-to-head matchups with Boston this season and enters Wednesday night’s series opener at Fenway Park on a seven-game winning streak. The Red Sox were just 3-7 in their last 10 games.
However, public bettors have been hammering the Red Sox during that stretch, pushing the line from Boston -130 to -150 at many sportsbooks. That could cause some books to move the line back toward Houston for Wednesday night’s game.
The Astros got dominant pitching performances from Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole down the stretch, but Brad Peacock and Dallas Keuchel have been hit hard in their last few starts. Verlander will start Wednesday night’s game for Houston while Chris Sale gets the nod for Boston.
Houston is hoping to become just the sixth team in MLB history to win a championship as an underdog of +175 or more, per OddsShark database. The Dodgers were 50/1 longshots when they won last year’s World Series.
The Astros have been one of the most popular bets in baseball so far this season, but according to oddsmakers, their odds may be starting to get a bit too long.
Houston is currently sitting at -180 to win the World Series, but that number could start to come down if they keep being overbet by the public. Bettors are clearly confident in the Astros’ chances this year, and until they prove otherwise, the line is going to continue to move in their favor.
On the other side of things, teams like the Yankees and Dodgers are starting to look like good values at their current odds. Both clubs are currently in the +600 range, and with the right matchup they could easily contend for the title.
It will be interesting to see how the World Series odds shake out as we get closer to October. The Astros are still considered the favorites, but there’s a good chance that their odds will get shorter if they continue to play well. As for the Dodgers and Yankees, they could easily see their odds improve if they can start winning some games.
The Houston Astros shocked the baseball world last season when they won their first World Series. This season, they’re out to prove that they are not a one-hit wonder and are looking to stay under the radar for public bettors.
The Astros were one of the most profitable teams to bet on last season. They had a +9.5% return on investment (ROI) for fans who placed bets on them in MLB games. However, this season they have a MUCH lower payout of +4.5%.
This is likely because the Astros are no longer an unknown commodity. Bettors are now wise to their strengths and weaknesses and are betting against them more often.
Houston is still a very good team, but they’re not as overwhelming favourites as they were last year. This makes them a much less attractive option for public bettors and increases the chances of making money if you bet against them.
Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow has been very outspoken about the team’s efforts to avoid any type of bias from the public. The Astros finished the 2017 season with the best record in baseball, but they have been largely overshadowed by talk of the Boston Red Sox and their historic comeback from a 0-2 deficit in the AL Division Series.
“All we can do is control what we do on the field,” Luhnow said. “We’re not going to try to be a popular team. We’re just going to try to be a good team and win games.”
The Red Sox are coming into the playoffs as one of the most popular teams in all of sports, but that does not seem to be bothering the Astros. Manager A.J. Hinch says that his players are not paying attention to any of the outside noise and are only focused on winning games.
Houston will open up their playoff run on Friday against the Cleveland Indians.
The Houston Astros will trot out Justin Verlander in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox on Saturday. The 36-year-old Verlander is coming off an outing in the Division Series against the Cleveland Indians in which he hurled six innings of two-run ball while striking out nine batters.
Houston head into the series as heavy underdogs, with odds of +290 to win the pennant, but their lineup features several dangerous hitters who can take advantage of a Boston pitching staff that has been vulnerable at times this year. The Red Sox are currently favored to win the series at -325, but there’s potential for an upset if Houston can regularly get to David Price and Co.
Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, and George Springer all hit above .300 during the regular season and comprise one of the most potent offenses in baseball. Bregman particularly enjoyed success against the Red Sox this year, batting .368 with five home runs and 13 RBI in 19 games. If he and his teammates can continue to produce against Boston, it could lead to a shocking trip to the World Series for Houston.