Teams that have had a lot of postseason success over the past few years meet when the Boston Red Sox take on the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series on Friday. The Astros (95-67), who won the AL West, have made the postseason in each of the past five seasons, including a pair of World Series appearances, including winning it all in 2017. The Red Sox are making their 11th playoff appearance since 2003 and have won four World Series titles in that span, including in 2018. Boston has won five of nine postseason games against Houston, meeting in the 2017 ALDS and the 2018 ALCS.

First pitch from Minute Maid Park in Houston is set for 8:07 p.m. ET. The Astros are a -140 favorite on the money line in the latest Red Sox vs. Astros odds from Caesars Sportsbook, while the over-under for total runs scored is 8.5. Before making any Red Sox vs. Astros picks, you need to see what SportsLine's No. 1 rated MLB expert John Bollman has to say.

Bollman combines MLB front-office experience with a deep statistical background. Bollman, who has a master's degree in biostatistics, worked in the Toronto Blue Jays' analytics department in 2018, focusing on high-performance sports science and player development.

In his last 293 MLB money-line picks, Bollman has gone 170-123, returning more than $5,200 to $100 bettors. Anyone who has followed his MLB picks has seen huge returns.

Now, Bollman has dialed in on Red Sox vs. Astros and just released his coveted American League Championship Series picks and predictions. You can visit SportsLine now to see Bollman's ALCS picks. Here are the MLB odds and betting lines for Red Sox vs. Astros:

  • Red Sox vs. Astros money line: Boston +130, Houston -140
  • Red Sox vs. Astros run line: Houston -1.5 (+140)
  • Red Sox vs. Astros over-under: 8.5 runs 
  • BOS: The Red Sox are 4-0 in their last four league championship games 
  • HOU: The Astros are 5-1 in their last six games against a team with a winning record
Featured Game | Houston Astros vs. Boston Red Sox

Why you should back the Astros

Houston has been mashing this postseason with a team batting average of .288, with four homers and 31 RBIs. Left fielder Kyle Tucker is a big reason for that. Over the past two weeks, he has hits in nine of the last 10 games. In the ALDS against the Chicago White Sox, Tucker was 5-for-17 (.294) with one double, two homers and seven RBIs. He has also hit the Red Sox hard this season. In six games against Boston, he is batting .480 with six doubles and seven RBIs.

Also red-hot is outfielder Michael Brantley, who is batting .368 in the postseason. In the decisive Game 4 win over Chicago, Brantley was 3-for-6 with a pair of RBIs. He had seven hits in the series. During the regular season, Brantley batted .311 with eight homers, 47 RBIs and 68 runs scored. 

Why you should back the Red Sox

Boston is expected to start left-hander Chris Sale (5-1, 3.16 ERA). Sale missed two years due to an arm injury but has come back strong, striking out 52, while walking 12 in 42.2 innings. In his first postseason appearance against Tampa Bay, he was hit hard, allowing five earned runs while striking out two in one inning of work. In nine career starts against Houston, Sale is 5-3 with a 2.20 ERA. He has walked 13, while striking out 86 in 65.1 innings.

Among the Red Sox leaders on offense is shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who is hitting .333 in the postseason. He was 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs in a 14-6 win over Tampa Bay in Game 2 of the ALDS. He has hit safely in seven of the past eight games, and has hit the Astros well throughout his career. In 43 games against Houston, Bogaerts is batting .311 with 14 doubles, eight homers and 31 RBIs.

How to make Red Sox vs. Astros ALCS picks

Bollman is leaning over on the run total and has discovered a critical X-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the money line. He's sharing that pick and the rest of his MLB playoffs predictions only at SportsLine.

So who wins Red Sox vs. Astros in Game 1 of the 2021 American League Championship Series? And what critical X-factor makes one side of the money line a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the money line to jump on, all from the MLB expert who's brought in more than $5,200 to $100 players, and find out.