The Houston Astros are the defending World Series champions and they will aim for a repeat title in 2018. Their journey begins in the American League Divisional Series against the Cleveland Indians. The A.L. has four fantastic teams left in the field so Houston’s road back to the World Series won’t be easy.
However, they do have the home field advantage and a great roster so the Astros will be the favorites to win this best-of-five series. The Indians have World Series experience of their own in the recent past. Both teams have awesome starting pitching talent and this could be a very low-scoring series.
The Indians would love to pull off the upset in the first game to get some early momentum but it won’t be easy in MLB gambling.
The American League Division Series between the Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros will begin on Friday, October 5th, 2018 at 2:05 p.m. ET at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.
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The Astros are listed as -150 favorites to win this series. They finished the season with an overall record of 103-59, which was second-best in the major leagues behind only the Red Sox. The Indians finished the year 91-71. They are the +135 underdogs to win the series and move on to the American League Championship Series in MLB betting.
The Astros will begin this series by sending Justin Verlander to the hill. The veteran right-hander had an exceptional season, finishing 16-9 with a 2.52 ERA. He led the league in strikeouts with 290 and finished with a WHIP of 0.90. Verlander turned in one of the best seasons of his career at age-35 and will now aim for more success in the postseason.
The Indians will counter in Game 1 with their ace, Corey Kluber. He is on the same level of dominance as Verlander, as Kluber finished the year with a 20-7 record and a 2.89 ERA. Kluber had a WHIP of 0.99 during the season and averaged more than a strikeout per inning.
The Astros are the -143 favorites to win the first game of the series while the Indians are the +129 underdogs to pull the upset. The run-line is only 6.5 runs because these pitchers are so dominant.
The Game 2 starting pitchers are expected to be Gerrit Cole for the Astros and Carlos Carrasco for the Indians, two more dominant hurlers. In Game 3, Houston is expected to send Dallas Keuchel to the hill with Cleveland countering with Mike Clevinger.
The Astros’ offense was outscored by Cleveland’s in the regular season, but a lot of that was due to key injuries to Houston stars. Second baseman Jose Altuve, shortstop Carlos Correa and outfielder George Springer were among the big names who missed a chunk of time due to injury.
The Astros are healthy now and the offense hopes to play well in this series, albeit against a tough pitching staff. The Indians have a solid bullpen so Houston will aim to get ahead early in these games.
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The Indians have a very good pitching staff and a talented lineup, but runs into a juggernaut in the first round. The Astros and the Red Sox have been the two best teams in the major leagues for most of the year and they seem to be on a collision course to meet in the ALCS. Houston is the pick to win this series but it will go all the way to the wire.
MLB Betting Odds: Astros over the Indians in five games
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