The New York Yankees will try to continue their remarkable run through the postseason when they visit the Houston Astros as large road underdogs for Game 1 of the American League Championship Series on Friday.
The Yankees are coming off an upset of the top-seeded Cleveland Indians in the AL Division Series, winning the last three games after losing the first two.
Betting line: The Astros opened as -175 favorites (wager $175 to win $100); the total is at 8.5 runs, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
MLB betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 4.4-4.0, Astros (MLB picks on every game)
Why the Yankees can pay on the MLB lines
New York is not facing any pressure in this spot, and that seemed to help the team in the last round vs. Cleveland, too. The young Yankees are not supposed to be here, although their confidence should be at an all-time high after taking out the Indians.
In Game 1, they will send righthander Masahiro Tanaka (13-12, 4.74 ERA) to the mound looking for his second win this postseason. Tanaka was great in winning his first start against the Indians, pitching seven scoreless innings with one walk and seven strikeouts.
Why the Astros can pay on the MLB lines
The Astros are favored to win their first pennant since 2005 because they are the better team in this matchup. They have arguably the best player in baseball in second baseman Jose Altuve, who is an overwhelming favorite to win AL MVP. Altuve hit .533 with three home runs and four RBI in four games against the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS, and he also walked four times in 15 at-bats.
In addition, Houston has ace Dallas Keuchel (14-5, 2.90) going to the hill in the series opener, and he is a superior pitcher to Tanaka.
Smart betting pick
The Astros won five of the seven regular-season meetings, with three of those decided by three runs or more. Keuchel was also dominant in his one start against New York back on May 11, allowing only one unearned run and five hits in six innings with one walk and nine strikeouts.
That outing was on the road as well, and he went 6-3 with a 2.26 ERA at home during the regular season. Look for Houston to win the series opener easily by at least two runs.
MLB betting trends
New York is 17-7 in its last 24 games.
Houston is 9-2 in its last 11 games.
Houston is 6-2 in its last eight games when playing New York.
All MLB odds and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.