The Houston Astros are set to host the Boston Red Sox Monday in the first matchup of a three-game set at Minute Maid Park. With that said, it’s a good time to check out our MLB odds series, which includes our Red Sox-Astros prediction and pick we have laid out below.

Boston comes into the series in last place in the American League East at 51-52, which is 3 1/2 games out of the AL’s final Wild Card spot. The Red Sox are 3-7 over their last 10 games. Houston, meanwhile, is two games behind the New York Yankees for the best record in the AL and leads the Seattle Mariners by 12 games in the AL West title hunt. The Astros are 67-36 for the year with six wins in their past 10 games.

The Red Sox took the first series between the teams two games to one in Boston earlier this year.

Here are the Red Sox-Astros MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel. 

MLB Odds: Red Sox-Astros Odds

Boston Red Sox: +1.5 (-142)

Houston Astros: -1.5 (+118)

Over: 7.5 (-115)

Under: 7.5 (-105)

Why The Red Sox Could Cover The Spread

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While the rival Yankees have been running away with the AL East for most of the year, the Red Sox seemed to be a lock for a Wild Card spot until recently. This outlook changed when they went 11 games below .500 in the month of July, a stretch that included three losing streaks of at least four games. This downward trajectory is a reason for concern, but it can also be viewed as an opportunity to get value on backing an offense that leads MLB with 233 doubles while ranking in the top 10 in runs scored, batting average and slugging percentage.

Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi has struggled since returning from a low back inflammation issue, but his performance in the two starts leading up to that was promising. In two outings in June, he gave up zero runs with 13 strikeouts in 11 innings, with opponents hitting just .233 against him. Much like backing Boston, there’s considerable risk to counting on Eovaldi to get back to form against one of the best teams in baseball. With Astros starter Luis Garcia posting a 4.70 ERA in July, though, it’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility for Eovaldi to come out on top of this pitching matchup.

Why The Astros Could Cover The Spread

The Astros are clearly the better team in this matchup, evidenced by both their long-term and recent performance this season. Without much value on the moneyline, though, the primary question for Houston backers is how likely it is for them to win by two or more to get plus-money on the run line payout.

For all of Garcia’s struggles last month, he also allowed only four combined hits and three earned runs in back-to-back starts against the Yankees and Los Angeles Angels. Inconsistency has been his issue all season — he has given up five earned runs on three occasions, but he has also allowed one run or less in six of his starts. Against an offense that ranked in the bottom 10 in MLB in on-base percentage, runs scored and OPS last month, he has a solid chance to get back on track in this one.

Without a ton of separation in the starting pitching matchup, Astros backers can feel good about their relief staff’s ability to provide an advantage. Boston’s 4.27 bullpen ERA is the second-worst in the American League, while Houston’s 2.79 bullpen ERA is the best in baseball. The Red Sox will also be without a handful of critical bats, including their most consistent hitter, third baseman Rafael Devers, and shortstop Trevor Story.

As for the Astros’ offense, it’s hard not to feel confident when they are at the plate. Houston ranked third in runs scored, second in home runs and fifth in OPS during July, numbers that reflect the season totals for an offense that has been productive and consistent throughout. Star slugger Yordan Alvarez’s 1.146 OPS in July was even higher than his MLB-leading season total of 1.087, and if not for the historic pace New York’s Aaron Judge is on this season, he’d likely be the leader in the AL MVP race.

Final Red Sox-Astros Prediction & Pick

As mentioned above, there’s not enough value on the Astros’ moneyline to take them as the outright winner, and considering the up-and-down nature of both starting pitchers, an over-under set at 7 1/2 could easily go either way. Given Houston’s overall dominance, the Red Sox’s recent struggles and the important bats that won’t be in the lineup for Boston, the Astros to cover 1 1/2 runs at plus-money is the play here.

Final Red Sox-Astros Prediction & Pick: Astros -1.5 (+118)