Joe Altuve squatting

Jose Altuve hit a first-inning homer for the third time in four games and the Houston Astros stayed alive in the ALCS thanks to a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 4. Photo by @sn_mlb (Twitter.com).

  • The Tampa Bay Rays are -142 favorites to defeat the Houston Astros in Game 5 of the ALCS on Thursday
  • Trailing 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, the Astros are +131 underdogs
  • Tampa Bay would advance to the World Series for the first time since 2008 with a victory

The champagne was kept on ice for at least another day in the Tampa Bay Rays clubhouse. The Houston Astros lived to fight another day in the ALCS.

Are they donning their rally caps or was it merely a stay of execution?

The oddsmakers are leaning toward the latter descriptive. Tampa Bay is a -142 favorite to close out the series with a victory in Game 5 on Thursday.  A win would put the Rays in the World Series for the first time since 2008.

Houston, 29-31 during the regular season, is seeking to be the first team with a losing record to reach the Fall Classic. The Astros are in the ALCS for the fourth straight season but are +131 underdogs to pull off a win in Game 5.

Rays vs Astros Game 5 Odds

Team (Starter) Moneyline Runline Total
Tampa Bay Rays (Curtiss) -142 -1.5 (+120) O 8.5 (-120)
Houston Astros (Garcia) +131 +1.5 (-140) U 8.5 (-100)

Odds taken Oct. 15

All games in the series are being played back to back at the neutral site of Petco Park in San Diego. The Rays own home-field advantage and will be afforded the last at-bat in Games 1, 2, 6, and 7.

The time of the first pitch for Game 5 is 5:07 pm ET.

What’s The Score?

The Astros were the 39th team to trail 3-0 in a best-of-seven series in MLB history. They’re just the ninth to force a Game 5.

If you’re of the same mind as the bookmakers and you believe Tampa Bay puts an end to the Astros in Game 5, then FanDuel has a prop wager for you. The sportsbook is offering -170 odds that the Rays win the series 4-1 in an ALCS correct score wager. A second prop offers -150 odds that the series concludes in Game 5.

No team has stretched a series to six games since the Boston Red Sox completed the comeback from a 3-0 series deficit to take out the New York Yankees in seven in the 2004 ALCS. Should you think the Astros are staging a similar miraculous rally, FanDuel offers +950 odds of Houston winning in seven games. 

Odds are +400 that the series extends to seven games. The betting line on a six-game set is +270. The Rays are +250 to win in six games and +700 to earn a seven-game series triumph.

For Openers, Who’s Pitching?

Post-game, Astros manager Dusty Baker was blunt in assessing who his starting pitcher would be for Game 5. He admitted that he didn’t know.

Eventually, he settled on right-hander Luis Garcia. The rookie hadn’t pitched above Class-A ball prior to this season. He was 0-1 with a 2.92 ERA.

This will be his MLB postseason debut. Garcia hasn’t taken to the mound since throwing a third of an inning on Sept. 27.

The Rays, who are the team credited with inventing the opener to start a game, are opting to go that route for Game 5. Righthander John Curtiss gets the nod. He was 3-0 with a 1.80 in 17 regular-season appearances, just three of which were starts.

The postseason hasn’t gone as well for Curtiss. In three appearances, he shows a 10.80 ERA.

All that damage was done in the ALDS against the New York Yankees. Curtiss allowed five runs in 2.2 innings for an alarming 19.29 ERA.

He’s settled into a rhythm against the Astros. Curtiss has worked two scoreless innings in two relief appearances against Houston. He most recently pitched one inning in Game 3.

Pick: Tampa Bay Rays (-142)

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