The Boston Red Sox are on the precipice of a lost season, and need to rise to the occasion beginning on Saturday in the second of a four-game series against their longtime nemesis, the New York Yankees.
It won't be any easier on the Sox playing at Yankee Stadium even without the presence of fans in attendance. Boston is sliding amid a skid of five straight losses, whereas the Yanks are only a half-game back in the AL pennant race.
Can the talented Red Sox recover, or will their woes continue at the hands of their most loathed enemy? In abe Insights' preview, you'll find the best odds for this matchup, advanced stats worth considering and analysis of how wagers should go to bolster your betting strategy.
Date: Saturday, August 15
Time: 7:07 p.m. ET
Implied Probabilities: Red Sox 40%; Yankees 61%
Spread: BOS +1.5 (-130); NYY -1.5 (+125)
Moneyline: BOS +150; NYY -154
Red Sox leadoff hitter Andrew Benintendi is dealing with a strained rib cage and is on the injured list. He was having a horrible year as it was, hitting just .103 in 39 at bats. Second baseman Jose Peraza missed last night's contest with an ailing knee, per ESPN, so he's questionable entering this one.
Nathan Eovaldi has been a somewhat encouraging member of Boston's pitching staff, and his job will be easier in Saturday's start since Yankees sluggers Aaron Judge (calf) and Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring) are on the IL with soft-tissue injuries.
5.64 vs 4.58: Although starting pitching hasn't been great for New York, evident in its 12th-highest total in Expected Fielding Independent Pitching, the first figure is Boston's total in the xFIP category among its starters, which ranks as MLB's worst.
.354 vs. .316: The Bronx Bombers lead the league in weighted on-base average, which shows how their batting order boasts an enviable blend of power, plate discipline and proficiency. Ranking all the way down at 19th out of 30 teams are the Sox.
10.5 vs. 6.9: Related to that above stat duel, these are the walk percentages drawn by each club. New York ranks in MLB's top 10 in the category, whereas Boston is in the bottom-four — partly a product of early deficits from poor pitching.
In pretty much every conceivable measure and metric, the odds are heavily stacked against the Sox. Atrocious as their starting pitching has been, they at least have the edge in that department for Saturday's contest. James Paxton will the mound for the hosts, and he has a 7.84 ERA in three starts this year so far.
The last time struggling Yankees southpaw faced Boston was on August 2. He got tagged for five runs (three earned) in only three innings of work. It didn't matter much, because the Yanks still prevailed 9-7 thanks to Judge's two homers and five RBI, including the winning two-run shot in the bottom of the eighth.
During its five-game losing streak, the Sox are yielding an average of over 10 runs per game, including Friday's 10-3 loss to the Yankees to begin this series. That was without Judge and Stanton. Boston also let up 17 runs in the prior day's defeat against Tampa Bay. Very little is going right in Beantown.
Even sans Judge and Stanton, the Pinstripes have enough pop to easily beat Boston. They have DJ LeMahieu leading the charge with a .422 batting average, shortstop Gleyber Torres coming off a 4-for-4 Friday showing and outfielder Mike Tauchman coming into his own in batting .343.
As J.D. Martinez (.219 average) continues to endure a down year after being a key anchor in the lineup the past two seasons, hope becomes all the more remote for Boston to turn things around.
TeamRankings.com shows Boston with an 11-7-2 record at hitting the Under (third in MLB), and the Yankees sporting the league's seventh-highest Over rate (56.2%). Given the disparity between these two clubs at present, expect wagers to go toward the favorites and the Over, especially in light of the pitching matchup.
Considering New York's splendid 7-1 home record, the Yankees moneyline is going to receive the vast majority of action against such an inferior opponent. Either side of the run line presents great value, but most bettors are bound to double down on the plus-money side with New York's spread.
Note: Odds current as of 11:45 a.m. ET on Saturday, August 15.
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