One of the best rivalries in sports betting gets underway Tuesday night in New York where the Yankees are decided favorites on the MLB odds vs. the Boston Red Sox.
Even with the Boston Red Sox sitting in the cellar of the AL East and well out of the playoff hunt, there's no loss of luster for their upcoming series in New York against the Yankees.
One reason behind the set still having plenty to get excited about is each team trotting out its top pitching prospects the next few days, one of them making his big league debut in Tuesday's 7:05 PM (ET) contest to be aired on the MLB Network. Henry Owens gets the call for Boston in the matchup, and will bust his MLB cherry against New York's Masahiro Tanaka. Current MLB odds have the Yankees priced around -200, the 8½ run total favoring the 'over' at most sportsbooks.
The rivalry has gone to the visitors recently, the home team winning just one of the previous eight series. That exception was last September in the Bronx where the Yankees took two out of three. The Red Sox came right back and won the only set played in New York this season, giving them a 30-29 advantage at the new park, but the Yanks followed by sweeping a May series in Boston and taking two of three at Fenway in July.
All three games played in New York in April went past the totals as the clubs combined for 41 runs in that set. The 'under' posted a 6-4 return at Yankee Stadium a year ago.
Owens 9th Different Starter For Boston This Year
Only the Athletics and Indians have cost baseball bettors more money this season than Boston (47-59, -19.3 units). The Red Sox seemed to be gaining some momentum heading into the all-star break, but that was all wiped out by a 7-game skid coming out of the respite and stand 5-11 since the Midsummer Classic. They finished off a 5-5 homestand on Sunday with a defeat at the hands of the Rays, and now begin an 8-game tour that will take them through Detroit and Miami after this stop in New York.
Injuries will keep several out of this series, including Rick Porcello (right triceps) joining Clay Buchholz (right flexor) from the starting rotation. Boston is also without both Dustin Pedroia (hamstring) and Mookie Betts (concussion), but should have outfielder Hanley Ramirez in the lineup despite a knee injury in the series finale vs. Tampa Bay.
A 1st-round pick -- 36th overall -- by Boston in 2011 out of high school in Huntington Beach, CA, Owens made a pretty quick ascent through the system to Triple-A Pawtucket for 21 starts in 2015. He began this year as the No. 2 arm on the Boston farm, and fashioned a nice 3.16 ERA in the International League while holding hitters to a sub-.200 average. The 6'-6" lefty is known for a deceptive delivery, a good curve and a fastball in the 92-93 mph range.
Bronx Bombers Back Home After 6-4 Road Trip
New York (59-45 +4.4 units) spent the last week and a half on the road, winning a pair of 3-game series at Minnesota and Chicago while splitting a long 4-game set in Texas. The Yankees began this week with a 6-game lead over Baltimore and Toronto in the AL East. It's difficult to think they could ever look past a series with Boston, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi will need to keep his squad from thinking ahead to the Blue Jays this weekend.
Tanaka had helped New York to five consecutive wins before dropping his last outing, a 5-2 decision at the Rangers who touched him up for nine hits and four runs in six frames. It was his fourth consecutive assignment to top 100 pitches, and the Yankees stand 10-4 in his appearances, good enough for a 4.2 unit return. He beat Buchholz and the Red Sox as -120 chalk in April, leaving New York 2-2 in his four career starts against Boston.
There is a slight chance of rain in the NYC forecast, but more important to me is the 10-12 mph WSW wind (out to left-center). I'm going to get behind the lumber with a play on the 'over' for my free MLB pick.
My MLB Pick: Red Sox-Yankees Over 8½ (-115)