ALCS Betting Preview: Yankees vs. Astros Odds, Picks and Predictions

ALCS Betting Preview: Yankees vs. Astros Odds, Picks and Predictions

This article is part of our MLB Picks series.

MLB Playoff Picks: ALCS Best Bets for Houston Astros vs. New York Yankees

While the National League playoffs have seen the underdog win every series thus far, the American League tournament has been much more straightforward. One lower seed was victorious in the wild-card round, but the favorites won both ALDS matchups, leaving us with a face-off between the top two seeds, the Astros and Yankees, in the ALCS. Neither team's victory in the previous round looked entirely comfortable — the Astros' sweep over the Mariners required one walkoff and one 18-inning victory, while the Yankees had to come back from a 2-1 deficit to win in five games — but the two teams which looked to be in a tier of their own in the American League outlasted their two challengers to earn the right to compete for the pennant. The two sides will meet in the ALCS for the third time in six years, with the Astros winning their previous meetings in 2019 and 2019. Below, you'll find the odds for the series and key stats for both teams, as well as my preview and prediction. I'll also a pair of alternate bets for those wanting to bet on the opposite club or those in search of a bigger payout. 

ALCS Odds 

  • Astros -210
  • Yankees +175
  • Astros Win Series 4-0 (+800)
  • Astros Win Series 4-1 (+475)
  • Astros Win Series 4-2 (+320)
  • Astros Win Series 4-3 (+380)
  • Yankees Win Series 4-0 (+2200)
  • Yankees Win Series 4-1 (+800)
  • Yankees Win Series 4-2 (+750)
  • Yankees Win Series 4-3 (+700)

Series odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook. Sign up at the DraftKings Sportsbook using RotoWire's DraftKings Promo Code for $200 in free bets. 

World Series Odds

  • Astros (+170, FanDuel)
  • Yankees (+350, DraftKings)

ALCS Key Stats






Team wRC+





     vs. RHP





     vs. LHP





Starter ERA-





Reliever ERA-





ALCS Projected Starters

RHP Jameson Taillon (3.91 ERA, 3.85 SIERA) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (1.75 ERA, 3.09 SIERA)

RHP Luis Severino (3.18 ERA, 3.37 SIERA) vs. LHP Framber Valdez (2.82 ERA, 3.14 SIERA)

RHP Gerrit Cole (3.50 ERA, 2.77 SIERA) vs. RHP Lance McCullers (2.27 ERA, 3.96 SIERA)

LHP Nestor Cortes (2.44 ERA, 3.48 SIERA) vs. RHP Cristian Javier (2.54 ERA, 3.14 SIERA)

RHP Jameson Taillon (3.91 ERA, 3.85 SIERA) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (1.75 ERA, 3.09 SIERA)

RHP Luis Severino (3.18 ERA, 3.37 SIERA) vs. LHP Framber Valdez (2.82 ERA, 3.14 SIERA)

RHP Gerrit Cole (3.50 ERA, 2.77 SIERA) vs. RHP Luis Garcia (3.72 ERA, 3.77 SIERA)

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ALCS Series Preview

Both of these teams have been among the best in the league over the last several seasons. Both are involved in the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year, with the Astros reaching the ALCS on all six of those occasions. As seen in the key stats table above, both rosters were well-rounded and excellent during the regular season, with the Astros' sixth-ranked lineup standing as the weakest unit among the two teams. Houston may have won seven more games during the regular season, but either of these teams would be a worthy World Series winner, and both should be favored against whichever team wins the NLCS.

While both rosters were similarly productive overall during the regular season, the distribution of where that production came from was different. The Astros likely would have had a clear advantage in the rankings if not for the fact that Aaron Judge went supernova. His 62 homers set an American League record, while his 11.5 fWAR represents the best season since 1956 by a player not named Barry Bonds. Judge has been rather human thus far in the playoffs, striking out in 11 of his 21 plate appearances. Given that only one other healthy Yankees regular (Anthony Rizzo) had a wRC+ north of 115, New York's lineup won't be all that intimidating unless its best player finds his groove again.

The Astros have a terrifying talisman of their own in Yordan Alvarez, whose 185 wRC+ may have trailed Judge's 207 mark by a considerable margin but was still good for second among qualified hitters. He's also backed by a deeper supporting cast, with Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker all finishing with a wRC+ of 129 or better. Houston also has the advantage on the pitching side, with Justin Verlander posting a 1.75 ERA in his first year back from Tommy John surgery while three other starters finished with ERAs below 3.00. The Yankees' rotation, led by Gerrit Cole, won't be completely overmatched, though the Astros could have a meaningful edge in the late innings. Houston's relievers have allowed just one run in 20.1 innings so far this postseason, and while the Yankees' bullpen owns a strong 2.70 ERA this postseason, the unit is missing multiple key pieces due to injury and may not be as good as its season stats.

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ALCS Series Picks

Yankees, +175 (DraftKings)

If you expected an Astros pick based on the paragraph above, I don't blame you. I think the Astros are a better team, and they'll even get the small bonus of entering the series on three days' rest while the Yankees come in without an off day. I'd pick the Astros quite clearly at even money, but this all comes down to price. Houston's -210 odds simply aren't an accurate reflection of how the MLB postseason actually plays out. Look at the fact that underdogs are 5-3 in postseason series thus far this year, or the fact that a very similar Houston team lost to Atlanta in last year's World Series and Washington in 2019, two teams they were heavily favored to beat. I'm not comfortable with anything more than about -150 in the postseason, and even that might be pushing it. The ZiPS projections over at FanGraphs give Houston a 54.5 percent chance, well below the 67.7 percent their odds imply. We don't want to take the projections as gospel, but that gap is too large to ignore. Teams simply aren't ever 2-to-1 favorites in the MLB playoffs, especially when playing a very strong team like the Yankees.

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Alternate Series Bets 

Astros -1.5 games, +118 (FanDuel)

While I still think it's more likely than not that the Astros win the series, it's tough to find a way to bet on them that's priced appealingly enough to look their way. This is the best option I've found. FanDuel is offering the friendliest odds on the Astros in general, but their -170 odds on the Astros winning outright are still unattractive. Getting more than even money by betting on Houston to win in fewer than seven games is something I can get behind, however. The formula for Houston to win in six games is a simple one: win both Justin Verlander-Jameson Taillon matchups while going 2-2 across the other four contests. The Astros also may only have to face Yankees ace Gerrit Cole if the series goes six games unless the Yankees start Cole in short rest in Game 2, in which case we should expect him to be a bit less dominant than usual.

Astros to win Game 1, Yankees to win Series +500 (DraftKings)

My biggest hangup in picking the Yankees is the fact that they'll face Verlander in Game 1, and the gap between him and Taillon (a respectable pitcher but far from a playoff ace) is about as large as you'll see in the postseason. If they drop that game, they'll need to win four of the next six, a tough task. These odds seemingly overstate how unlikely the Yankees coming back from an 0-1 deficit is, however. They're about 62 percent likely to lose Game 1 according to the projections, and the odds of winning four coin flips out of six is 34 percent. Multiply those two together and you get a 21 percent likelihood of this outcome occurring, or +376. Even if you consider the Yankees slightly less than a coin flip to win Games 2 through 7, the price still seems right with this one.

Visit RotoWire all season long for exclusive sports betting picks from our group of handicappers with their expert MLB picks each day of the campaign. Remember that betting apps vary in terms of odds and available MLB player props, so we have an easy-to-use MLB odds page that allows you to shop for the best lines at DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and PointsBet. With the playoffs in full swing, stay up to date with the latest World Series odds and all other MLB Futures

Before you place your bets, be sure to use all of RotoWire's MLB resources, like our MLB Lineups pageMLB Weather page, and the best batter vs. pitcher stats.

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Erik Halterman
Erik Halterman is the Features Editor for RotoWire. He also co-hosts RotoWire Fantasy Baseball on SiriusXM's MLB Network Radio.
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