The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are among the best rivalries in sports, so it's no surprise they're on deck for another tilt on Sunday Night Baseball.
As has historically been the case, New York is the club that's clearly on top at the moment. The Yankees have taken the previous two from Boston and are seeking a home sweep of the series to extend their AL East lead.
Will the 3-6 Sox sink further into the division cellar, or can they recover before the shortened season becomes a lost cause? A win Sunday would go a long way. For more on this game, read on for abe Insights' preview, where you'll get the best odds, analysis of wagers and key stats that are good to know before betting.
Date: Sunday, August 2
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Implied Probabilities: Red Sox 34%; Yankees 68%
Spread: BOS +1.5 (+100); NYY -1.5 (-110)
Moneyline: BOS +195; NYY -208
Four of the Yanks' six wins have been by three runs or fewer, so the absence of closer Aroldis Chapman hasn't really hurt them. The flame-throwing southpaw tested positive for COVID-19 in July, but good news is, he's been cleared to return.
Whether Chapman is used or not is uncertain, but another lefty, James Paxton, will be starting Sunday's game for the hosts against Austin Brice. Paxton lasted only one inning in New York's only loss of 2020 thus far, so that's a source of hope for the Red Sox.
.217 vs. .149: These initial stats show the isolated power for these teams this season. To clarify, that means the average number of extra bases per at bat. The Yanks rank fifth in all of baseball, and Boston is only 20th.
.333 vs. .206: When relief pitchers are clinging to a late lead and yield any kind of contact, fans and dugouts hold their collective breath. On balls in play from bullpen pitchers, the Sox concede the MLB's third-highest batting average; New York gives up the third-lowest average.
34.3 vs. 27.1: Finally, we have another area the Pinstripes have another decisive edge: outside of the zone swinging percentages. Boston has the third-highest chase rate, and the Yankees are the league's sixth-most disciplined team at the dish in this regard.
Blending the batting order qualities of power and patience is dangerous cocktail for opposing pitchers to deal with. That's the reality with the Bronx Bombers, and a big reason why they're 6-1 to this point in the year. Stud slugger Aaron Judge has homered in four straight contests to lead the charge, and Gio Urshela hit a grand slam in yesterday's win.
Boston's bats started 2020 well enough but have cooled off in the Big Apple, generating only three total runs in the prior two losses. Losing Mookie Betts in a trade to the Dodgers was a big blow, yet the Sox still have plenty of talent to be producing better than they have been.
That said, what the visitors have on offense doesn't really compare to their arch-nemesis' stable of batters. With Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres among others, the Yanks have a dizzying amount of depth and the ability to hang numerous runs on any pitcher in any given inning.
The dynamic between the BoSox shaky reliever corps and the lineup's tendency to be overly aggressive on pitches outside the strike zone is an unhealthy one. Those two trends tend to feed off each other, so that's something to monitor as Boston presses to salvage some solace with a damage-controlling victory on Sunday.
Some silver lining for Boston fans and bettors is that the heavy underdog status means extremely favorable payouts for a wager on the Red Sox moneyline. That's where most of the action should go, simply because the investment on New York doesn't return enough.
When it comes to the run line, though, New York at -1.5, even at just above even money, is a good bet. Savvy bettors might hold off to see how the start of the game is going to see if the odds lengthen before gambling on the Yanks. Otherwise, a first five innings run line could be an appealing play.
That run total of 10 is above the combined score of each of the first two games. It's really only been a few swings by New York that have swung this series. Thus, action is unlikely to maintain the status quo and instead gravitate toward the Over.
Note: Odds current as of 2:15 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 2.
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