The American League Championship Series is now a best-of-three affair. The Houston Astros, who still proudly wear the championship crown, have won consecutive games as the road team in their home state to tie this battle for the pennant. On Friday, the Texas Rangers again face the Astros, this time in a pivotal Game 5.
Baseball betting only has about two weeks remaining, and the odds are shifting with each game. The Astros and Phillies are now both +150 to win the 2023 World Series, according to BetMGM. Here are Astros vs Rangers odds at the top sports betting apps:
The Lone Star Series has been a game of invasion: the road team has won each game. But the Astros have looked stronger in the last two games than the Rangers did in Houston. The key to this series now is how far the starting pitchers can work and save the arms of the bullpen.
Series Schedule, TV Coverage of ALCS
- Game 1: Rangers 2, Astros 0
- Game 2: Rangers 5, Astros 4
- Game 3: Astros 8, Rangers 5
- Game 4: Astros 10, Rangers 3
- Game 5: Astros at Rangers, Oct. 20, 7:07 PM ET on FS1
- Game 6: Rangers at Astros, Oct. 22, 8:03 PM ET on FS1
- Game 7:* Rangers at Astros, Oct. 23, 8:03 PM ET on FOX/FS1
Pitching Matchup for Game 5
Justin Verlander (1.42 ERA, 11 K in 12.2 IP in postseason) vs. Jordan Montgomery (2.08 ERA, 13 K in 17.1 IP in postseason)
Houston ace Verlander has pitched brilliantly in this postseason. He took the loss in Game 1, but that was only because his teammates couldn’t score enough runs.
Verlander is two wins away from tying Andy Pettitte for the all-time record for PS victories. He may be 40 years old, but JV is still a horse. He might have a single inning with troubles, but he usually bears down and cruises to his usual solid outing to put his team in a spot to be victorious.
On Friday, Verlander faces Texas for the third time this year. He has been outstanding each time. Pressure will be floating above the diamond at Global Life Field, but Verlander is one of those players who doesn’t even notice it. That’s why the Astros are so tough.
Lefthander Montgomery outpitched Verlander in Game 1 last Sunday. What he really did was make one less mistake than his counterpart. In Game 5, he will need to be mistake-free again.
Can he manage to do that against Yordan Alvarez, who is hitting over .400 with a record-high slugging percentage this October? Can he stymie Jose Abreu, who has woken from a near-season-long slumber and smacked four home runs in eight playoff games? Can Montgomery find a way to keep Jose Altuve (3-for-4 in Game 4 with a pair of doubles) off the bags?
No one knows the answers to those questions, but if it’s true that experience matters, the Astros can’t be counted out. With basically this group of players, Houston has succeeded many times in recent years. Just when you think the ‘Stros are out, they fight their way back into this series.
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ALCS Series Notes
- The home team has never led in this series.
- Yordan Alvarez has 13 RBI in the Astros’ eight postseason games.
- Jose Abreu is the second-oldest player in MLB history to get both a home run and a stolen base in the same postseason game. At 36, he is one year younger than Hall of Famer Fred Clarke, who was 37 when he did it in the 1909 World Series for the Pirates.
- Jose Altuve became the seventh player to appear in 100 playoff games in Game 4. He’s also one of only four players with 200 total bases in the PS.
- After scoring seven runs in Games 1-2, and winning both; the Rangers have scored eight in Games 3-4 but lost.
Astros vs Rangers Odds & Prediction
So far, none of the four games in this series have been thrillers. Yes, Game 1 was a 2-0 Rangers win, but the Astros didn’t make a strong rally to win that one. The next three games were sort of blowouts or outright blowouts.
So, the Lone Star Series hasn’t been a classic…yet. That’s where these next games come in, with all the set pieces and what’s at stake. The Rangers (never won the World Series) vs. the Astros (a modern dynasty trying to become the first repeat champs in more than two decades).
The “Good Guy” Rangers vs. the “Bad Guy” Astros. The champions vs. the challengers. Stars all over the field, including future Hall of Famers (Verlander, Altuve, Max Scherzer, Dusty Baker, Bruce Bochy). The next two or possibly three games are going to be fantastic.
For Game 5, we like Houston to win behind the arm and iron will of Verlander. For this series, Verlander > Scherzer.
ALCS Game 5 Best Bet
Houston +1.5 (-210 from Bet365). The sportsbook is daring you to bet on the Astros while getting 1.5 runs. We think Game 5 will come up A’s for the Astros, as Abreu, Alvarez, and Altuve keep hitting, scoring, and driving in runs.