The Boston Red Sox shouldn’t be beating the MLB odds as they have. Will they do it again Friday versus the Tampa Bay Rays?
Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Friday, July 30, 2021 – 07:10 PM EDT at Tropicana Field
We all have our biases when it comes to making MLB picks. Personally, I enjoy the idea of fading the Boston Red Sox – they’re partly responsible for the death of my beloved Montreal Expos, and I’ll never let that go. The Red Sox were also overvalued at 63-40 (plus-16.35 betting units) heading into Thursday’s action. Boston’s plus-69 run differential may be nice, but it only translates to a Pythagorean win-loss record of 59-44. Going 20-11 in one-run games and 6-3 in extra innings will do that.
At the same time, the Tampa Bay Rays – who improved to 61-42 (plus-11.35 units) after crushing the New York Yankees 14-10 on Thursday as +110 home dogs – should be an easy “follow” candidate. Their plus-103 run differential is tops in the American League East, and the equivalent of a 63-40 expected record. The difference between Tampa and Boston? Going 14-16 in one-run games, and 5-10 in extra innings. It’s a moral imperative to take the Rays for Friday’s matchup at the Trop.
These Peoples Try to Fade Me
Or is it? The Rays are available at or near –140 overseas. Sadly, FiveThirtyEight only have Tampa at 56 percent to win this contest; plug that into the greatest gambling calculator of all time and space, the SBR odds converter, and you get a measly –128. That doesn’t even give us room to bet on Boston at +120, either.
We’re blaming the pitching matchup for spoiling our plans. The Rays have only just made it official: SP/RP Josh Fleming (4.55 FIP) is going to get another spot start, and he’s got Tampa at 3-5 in his eight previous attempts for a loss of 2.26 units. The Red Sox have already penciled in Martin Perez (4.49 FIP), and he’s no great shakes either, but at least he has Boston up 3.69 units on a team record of 12-8. Both teams hit about the same, and both have excellent bullpens, so you can see why there isn’t much wiggle room on the moneyline.
This once again leaves us with the total if we want to make a straight bet without messing around with the run lines. Perez has the Under at 13-6-1, which is rather strange given his hefty .333 BABIP, but at least top sportsbooks can expect some regression to the mean if we want to take Under 8.5 runs – assuming our trusted books match the overseas market. Fleming has the Over at 5-3, but that’s a fairly small sample size, and the Rays do have the best relievers in the majors (plus-5.2 WAR at FanGraphs). Even better, they didn’t have to dip very far into the bullpen during Thursday’s romp over the Yankees. Bet accordingly, and may the sphere be with you.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.