Boston and Philly have split the first two games of their season-opening series, so they'll play a rubber match Thursday night. Do we stick with the Sox, after taking a loss last night? Or go with the home-dog Phillies?
Sox-Phillies Betting Odds
The MLB betting odds opened this game with Boston and Justin Masterson favored by around -140 over Philly and David Buchanan, with a total of eight runs. In the early betting many books then dropped the Sox to -135, and the total to 7.5.
Sox-Phillies: Game 3
Philly evened this series at a game apiece with a 4-2 victory Wednesday night. The game was a scoreless tie until new Phillie Jeff Francoeur bopped a three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth. Boston got within 4-2 in the top of the eighth, and had the bases loaded with two outs, but former Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon got Hanley Ramirez on a long fly out, then tossed a perfect ninth inning for the save.
Philly got a quality start from newcomer Aaron Harang, who tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings, walking just one while whiffing eight. Meanwhile, Boston newcomer Rick Porcello took a shutout into the sixth before giving up Francoeur's homer.
The Phillies won Wednesday as +125 home dogs on the betting line, and the game played UNDER its total of 7.5 runs.
We backed Boston Wednesday on the run line. So in actuality, while we regrettably lost our bet, we also saved ourselves 35 bucks by eschewing the moneyline.
As a rookie last year Buchanan went 6-8 with a respectable 3.75 ERA. By our strict standards he went just six-for-20 on quality starts last season, but only twice did he allow more than three earned runs in a start. On the season Buchanan gave up 120 hits in 118 innings, walked 32 and struck out 71.
Philly only went 7-13 in Buchanan's starts last year, but that certainly wasn't all his fault, considering the totals skewed toward the UNDERS by an 11-8 margin.
Buchanan has never faced Boston.
Masterson is trying to rebound after a lousy 2014 season in which he went 7-9 with a flammable 5.88 ERA pitching for Cleveland and St. Louis. He was going so bad near the end that the Cardinals left him off the postseason roster. He'll be making his first start for his new team, after signing with the Sox over the off-season.
Masterson went just eight-for-25 on quality starts last season, allowing more hits, 141, than innings pitched, 129, walking 69, which is way too many for that number of IP, striking out 116. The Indians and Cardinals somehow combined to go 13-12 in Masterson's starts last year, with the totals leaning toward the OVERS by a 13-11 margin.
Masterson started once last year against Philly, giving up five runs and six hits in just three innings of a game his Cardinals lost 7-1 in August.
Sox-Phillies Free Pick
We just don't trust Masterson for the moment; we'll need to see some improvement before we'll risk any money on him. But we're also still leery of Philly, which has gotten just one big hit through the first two games of this series. So we can't find a lean on the side in this game. Instead, in thinking there might be some runs scored, perhaps with some help from the Phillies bullpen, we'll go with the OVER on tonight's contest for our MLB picks.
Free MLB Pick: OVER 7.5 runs at Pinnacle