The Boston Red Sox have to be relieved entering Thursday's showdown with the New York Mets, because they have the opportunity to split the four-game series with a win.
After reeling amid a four-game losing streak, Boston improbably hung on for a 6-5 victory Wednesday evening. Not only did the Red Sox face Mets ace Jacob deGrom, but they also emerged from a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the ninth with but one run yielded.
Can New York still take three out of four after letting a late rally bid slip by? Read on for abe Insights' betting preview for the best odds, and to get a better idea of how this duel might play out, with advanced stats and wagers analysis as context.
Date: Thursday, July 30
Time: 7:07 p.m. ET
Implied Probabilities: Red Sox 42%; Mets 59%
Spread: BOS +1.5 (-145); NYM -1.5 (+130)
Moneyline: BOS +140; NYM -143
Two southpaws take the hill for each side in the Mets' Steven Matz and counterpart Martin Perez. It would seem the hosts have the upper hand here, considering the mostly dismal track record of Perez's career (52-57 record, 4.74 ERA in 158 starts).
Matz pitched seven innings of two-hit ball, conceding only one run in his 2020 debut. He may not have to face one of the most dangerous Sox hitters in shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who was out Wednesday with general soreness.
.278 vs. .270: These beginning digits are simply the respective batting averages for New York and Boston on the young season. They're first and second in MLB, which should make for an exciting conclusion to this interleague clash.
6.5 vs. 6.0: Something will have to give in light of the fact that the Mets and Sox have the third- and fifth-lowest percentage of at bats that draw walks this year. Whichever batting order is more patient will likely be rewarded with a win.
4.99 vs. 6.39: Instead of comparing the two clubs for this, let's focus on the Mets' self-destructive tendency to blow leads late in games over the past two years. The first number is New York relievers' ERA in 2019 (26th in MLB); the second is that same stat this season.
Wasting yet another solid outing by deGrom with an underwhelming bullpen performance has to be driving the Mets and their fans bonkers at this point. That area was their clear weakness a season ago and preventing them from making the playoffs.
The aforementioned gem Matz threw in his last outing was, once more, Exhibit A in New York's fatal flaw, as he got a no decision when the Braves rallied to win 5-3 in 10 innings. Until that gets cleaned up, the Mets can't hope to hover far above .500.
Boston just has to keep chipping away at New York, and it's likely the lineup will break through once Matz is removed from the mound. The Mets should really consider pushing him as deep as possible if they put a premium on winning. Through six innings last night, deGrom had only thrown 88 pitches, yet he was yanked.
One potential X-factor for the Mets is Pete Alonso. The defending MLB home run champion went 4-for-4 on Wednesday, which only lifted his average to .250. He's due for a four-bagger after hitting only one homer in six games.
Alonso's electric bat can serve as a catalyst to get New York back on track. It looks like the second-year sensation is poised to beat back any notion of a sophomore slump.
Since the Sox moneyline is well above even money, look for bets to trend that way. It seems like New York can only take so much bullpen disappointment before it starts having a carryover effect.
Losing clubhouses must have short memories, particularly when the schedule is only 60 games long. With yet another starting pitching advantage as they had Wednesday with deGrom, wagers should skew toward the Mets' -1.5. Bettors may want to focus on early-game props just to avoid action New York's dangerous relievers.
Both teams have hot bats in 2020, and given that Perez isn't great and the Mets could yield a big, late inning at any moment, look for bets to favor the Over 9.5.
Note: Odds current as of 1:15 p.m. ET on Thursday, July 30.
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