Roundup of expert picks to win series

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Red Sox-Astros: Roundup of expert picks to win ALCS originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros will begin what should be a thrilling American League Championship Series on Friday night.

It’ll be the first time these two teams have met in the postseason was the 2018 ALCS, when the top-seeded Red Sox defeated the Astros in five games and went on to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series. This time, Boston enters the ALCS as the underdog.

Tomase: Here’s the path for Sox upsetting Astros in ALCS

Houston boasted the best offense in MLB during the 2021 season, leading the league in runs scored (863), batting average (.267), and on-base percentage (.339). The American League West champions boasted the fourth-best run differential in baseball (+205) and the seventh-best team ERA (3.78).

The Red Sox offense wasn’t too far behind. It ranked fifth in MLB in runs scored (829), third in batting average (.261), and seventh in on-base percentage (.328). Boston finished the campaign with a +80 run differential and 4.26 ERA. With two lethal offenses set to do battle, pitching will be the difference-maker in this best-of-seven series.

Ahead of Game 1, here’s a roundup of expert picks to win the 2021 ALCS.

Tom Verducci – Sports Illustrated: Astros in 7

Stephanie Apstein – Sports Illustrated: Astros in 6

Emma Baccellieri – Sports Illustrated: Red Sox in 6

Tristan Cockcroft – ESPN: Red Sox in 6

Buster Olney – ESPN: Red Sox in 7

Tim Kurkjian – ESPN: Astros in 7

Jeff Passan – ESPN: Astros in 7

Dayn Perry – CBS: Astros in 6

R.J. Anderson – CBS: Astros in 6

Mike Axisa – CBS: Astros in 7

Matt Snyder – CBS: Astros in 7

Ryan Fagan – Sporting News: Astros in 6

NBC Sports Boston’s Strat-O-Matic Simulation: Astros in 7

First pitch for Sox-Astros Game 1 is set for 8:07 p.m. ET. Check out the full schedule for the series here.

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