Red Sox vs. Yankees Odds
|Red Sox Odds||+105|
|Over/Under||9.5 (+100 / -120)|
|Time||7:05 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday morning and via DraftKings.|
If you’re not a fan of the Red Sox or Yankees, you might be sick of the hype that is Red Sox vs. Yankees. I get it. They play on national television constantly. They have rabid, in-your-face fanbases, and you just get tired of hearing about them all the time.
But there’s no denying that this is the greatest rivalry in baseball and one of the greatest in sports. The latest chapter will begin Friday night when the two teams meet in the Bronx for the first of 19 in 2021. In this one, we’ll see Nathan Eovaldi toe the rubber against Michael King, and the home Yankees have opened as slight favorites with a fairly high total.
Where can we find betting value in the first matchup of the season between these two AL East titans looking to get an edge on the other while simultaneously gaining ground on the first-place Rays? Let’s take a look.
Red Sox Continue to Play With a Pattern
It’s been a weird season so far for the Red Sox. They didn’t enter the season with otherworldly expectations but came out of the gate like gangbusters and immediately established themselves as one of the top teams in the American League.
They cooled off a bit in May but still went 15-11. Boston had long odds to win the AL East and/or make the playoffs coming into the season, but we’re nearing the point of beginning to accept that this team is going to be in the thick of the race until the very end.
An oddity about the Red Sox of late is how streaky they are. That is to say, if they win a game, they win multiple in a row, and the same thing happens when they lose. Since alternating wins and losses with the Tigers way back on May 4-5, the Red Sox streaks have looked like this: won four, lost three, won three, lost two, won four, lost two, won three, lost three.
This is more of a fun tidbit than anything predictive on which we rationalize our decision tonight, but if you’re a believer in such things, the Red Sox snapped a three-game losing streak with a win over the Astros in Thursday’s series finale, so surely at least one more win is coming, right?
For that to happen, they’ll need a strong performance out of Eovaldi, who has been tough to figure through 60 2/3 innings. The 31-year-old has a 4.01 ERA that both FIP (2.33) and xFIP (3.57) say he’s been unlucky. But how unlucky is unclear. Eovaldi isn’t allowing a lot of hard contact and has run into some absurd home run luck (just one and a 2% HR/FB ratio).
His BABIP is below his career mark. If anything, his underlying stats have seemed a bit fortunate, making the ERA/FIP disparity strange. But that also explains why DRA (4.07) disagrees and believes Eovaldi is perfectly deserving of the ERA he boasts.
In conclusion, Eovaldi is a pitcher of contrasts.
Can Michael King Step Up?
Speaking of contrasts, there are the Yankees, who over the last two weeks have been able to claim such achievements as “sweeping the White Sox” and “getting swept by the Tigers.”
Given the inconsistencies, a split against the world-beating Rays was somehow probably the least likely result, but the Bronx faithful probably would have taken it entering the week even if a Gerrit Cole loss with a chance to take 3-of-4 on Thursday left a sour taste at the end of the series.
On Friday, they’ll turn to King, as they occasionally do when they need a fill-in starter. Acquired from the Marlins as a prospect in 2017 for Garrett Cooper and Caleb Smith, King has a high-floor/low-ceiling college arm out of the draft who the Yankees hoped to develop into the type of innings-eating backend starter or effective middle reliever they’ve often had success developing in the past.
King is among a dying breed of sinkerballers, and like many of those failed types, he doesn’t keep the ball on the ground often enough to be consistently effective with it. The result is a lot of balls that leave the yard.
He added a cutter to his repertoire this year to actually cut down on the sinker usage, but he now throws those two pitches two-thirds of the time, and neither has been overwhelmingly effective.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, are the fourth-best offense against cutters and sixth-best against sinkers.
Red Sox-Yankees Pick
Betting for or against teams as frustratingly inconsistent as the Red Sox and Yankees can drive a person crazy, but all signs point to Boston here.
I could see a play on the over here, and you are indeed getting plus money if you think we’re getting double-digit runs, but I’m going to keep it simple.
Eovaldi makes me nervous to back, but he’s the superior pitching option to King, and while the Yankees boast one of the best bullpens in baseball, I’m not sure it will be able to hold the Boston bats down enough to pull out the win.
I’m taking the Red Sox first five innings at -110 as well as their full-game odds at +105. I would bet them down to -120 and -105, respectively.
Pick: Red Sox First Five Innings ML -110 (Play to -120) | Red Sox ML +105 (Play to -105)