Skip Snow | Sportsbook Wire
The Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros open their best-of-five AL Division Series Thursday at 4:07 p.m. ET at Minute Maid Field. Let’s analyze the lines around the White Sox vs. Astrosodds with MLB picks and predictions.
RHP Lance Lynn is the projected starting pitcher for the White Sox. He went 11-6 with a 2.69 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 10.1 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 through 157 IP spanning 28 starts.
- Has logged a few clunkers while posting a 4.46 ERA since Aug. 12. Has mostly been a 5-inning starter after giving the White Sox more innings in the season’s first half.
- Making his first postseason start since 2014 with the St. Louis Cardinals (pitched in relief in 2015 and 2018 playoffs). Owns a 4.80 ERA over 54 1/3 career postseason innings.
RHP Lance McCullers Jr., is the projected starter for the Astros. He went 13-5 with a 3.16 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 10.3 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 across 162 1/3 IP over 28 starts in the regular season.
- Has allowed a fine .671 OPS over his career but in 60 career games at Minute Maid Park, has held foes to a mere .625 mark.
- Current Chicago bats own a .602 OPS and .079 isolated power against him.
- Had three dodgy starts in last year’s postseason and totaled a 4.91 ERA in 14 2/3 IP. Owns a 3.28 ERA in 46 2/3 career playoff innings.
White Sox at Astros odds, lines, picks and prediction
- Money line: White Sox +115 (bet $100 to win $115) | Astros -140 (bet $140 to win $100)
- Against the spread/ATS: White Sox +1.5 (-180) | Astros -1.5 (+145)
- Over/Under: 7.5 (O: -125 | U: +100)
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Astros 5, White Sox 3
Money line (ML)
Chicago won the AL Central and finished the regular season on an upswing. The Pale Hose went 6-1 over their final seven games.
The Astros faltered a bit late but led the AL West from June 20-on. For the season, they played .630 ball (51-30) at home with a plus-100 run differential.
Houston took five of seven games from Chicago in the regular season. The Astros went 4-0 in the games at Minute Maid and outscored the White Sox, 27-8 in those contests.
The Astros are the lean for the opener but PASS on the ML and consider the run-line leverage and a plus payout,
Chicago sports a sometimes average offense on the road, and the White Sox can be quite average against ground-ball pitchers. McCullers logged a high 56.4% GB rate in the regular season, and he has excellent numbers against current Chicago bats.
The ability to hit different pitchers becomes a big key in the postseason. The Astros’ .789 OPS against relief pitchers led MLB in the regular season.
BACK THE ASTROS -1.5 (+145).
The strongest play in Thursday’s series opener is the OVER 7.5 (-125). It’s a play on two very good offenses and a fade of both starting pitchers.
The White Sox finished the regular season on a good note, slashing a .283/.361/.467 (.827 OPS) over their last 12 games. Houston had its ups and downs in September but still owns a robust .272/.342/.466 (.809) line over its last 41 games.
In the dueling battle of Lances, Lynn got some generous numbers all around the margins (including a .263 batting average on balls in play). McCullers filed a .273 BABIP. Expected-ERA figures for both are significantly higher than their surface numbers.
The three off days make for some rest-rust issues, but the total here is one to leverage.
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