The Rays opened as -165 favorites to beat the Astros in the 2020 ALCS and have seen their odds shorten drastically after Blake Snell and a quartet of relievers pitched them to a Game 1 victory. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)
- The Tampa Bay Rays own a 1-0 lead in the 2020 ALCS against the Houston Astros
- The Rays were -165 favorites heading in and are now significantly shorter
- See the opening odds and the updated odds to win the best-of-seven series
The American League Championship Series got underway on Sunday, October 11th, with the Tampa Bay Rays in their second ALCS in franchise history against the Houston Astros, the AL’s dominant force in recent years. Tampa jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a narrow 2-1 victory.
Where the Rays have been in the World Series odds mix all year long, Houston had to battle its way into the postseason, sneaking in with a sub-.500 record. On regular-season performances, this is a mismatch, but playoff baseball is never that straight forward.
Tampa Bay was deservedly favored heading into this series, and is nearly -400 to advance to the World Series after last night’s victory.
ALCS Series Odds
|Team||Odds After Game 1||Opening Odds|
|Tampa Bay Rays||-380||-165|
Odds as of October 11 at FanDuel.
The Rays were magnificent in the regular season, winning 40 of their 60 games. Houston was underwhelming. Injuries to Yordan Alvarez, Roberto Osuna, Brad Peacock and, most importantly, Justin Verlander, depleted a roster that was already weaker than last season’s after Gerrit Cole departed Texas to join the Yankees in free agency.
A +145 price for the Astros was reasonable at the outset, given how these two teams performed throughout the shortened 2020 season. Houston was simply a worse baseball team than the Rays. Yet, the sheer talent on the Astros roster, and a line-up that destroyed the Oakland Athletics in the ALDS, is impossible to overlook.
There is absolutely no chance Cole meant to hit Arozarena there, but I like adding some salt to a winner-take-all with this look pic.twitter.com/Vxi2GbEn8Z
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) October 9, 2020
Carlos Correa has led the charge, batting .500 with four homers in this postseason. Houston scored 33 runs over four games with Oakland. That offense, that highlight-clip power, will attract the eyes of some bettors, especially now with the odds twice as long.
2020 World Series Odds Tracker
Possible Odds Movement
There’s no question of whether the Rays should be big favorites at this point. They were the best team in the American League in the regular season, they have by far the deepest roster, and they only need to win three more games.
This is a team without the flashy, high-paid stars of many of their bigger market opponents, but they have a spectacular ability to find and nurture talent. Randy Arozarena, acquired from the Cardinals in the off-season, has quickly become one of the scariest hitters in baseball. His fourth-inning home run in Game 1 – his fourth of the postseason – erased an early 1-0 deficit.
Tampa manager Kevin Cash also has a catalogue of effective arms at his disposal. In Game 1, four relievers combined to pitch four shutout innings, surrendering just three hits and two walks
Making an argument for Tampa Bay to win this series is easy. Their top-three starters are all capable of dominating, and they have the relievers to matchup with the Astros’ righty sluggers – four of their bullpen arms give up an opponent average below .225 against right-handers.
Case to Back Houston
In the absence of some key pitchers, the Astros have found good innings from elsewhere on their staff. Their offense was crushing any mistake in the ALDS. This is a team with experience on the big stage and a team playing its best baseball of the year.
Of course, a four-game sample against the A’s isn’t much to read in to, but seeing Correa and Jose Altuve get hot is massive for this Astros club.
This is a more-even series than their regular-season records or reputations would suggest. It’s the revolutionary Rays against the historically successful Astros.
The odds for Game 2 of the ALCS see Tampa as a -136 favorite behind the arm of Charlie Morton. If Houston pulls a mild upset, the odds to win the best-of-seven series will become extremely close – quite a bit narrower than where they opened. Tampa will have used Morton and Blake Snell in the first two games, attenuating their starting-pitching edge the rest of the way.
Sam Cox is a freelance writer and sports junkie, who has spent the past several years immersed in the online gaming industry. He has worked with 888sport, Oddschecker, and Colossus Bets to name a few. Based in the UK, Sam also runs Franchise Sports with his brother.