Sunday MLB Betting Odds, Preview, Prediction for Red Sox vs. Yankees: How to Bet Bitter Rivalry Showdown (June 6)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Xander Bogaerts.
- Boston and New York meet for the third of 19 scheduled meeting this season, with the Red Sox looking to sweep the series.
- The Yankees have failed to meet preseason expectations thus far, and metrics say they may even be a bit lucky to be where they are.
- Sean Zerillo breaks down how to bet the series finale below.
Red Sox vs. Yankees Odds
|Red Sox Odds||+130|
|Over/Under||9.5 (-105 / -115)|
|Time||7:08 p.m. ET|
If I only allowed you to look at Yankees’ Twitter — and not the actual MLB standings — you would swear that the Bronx Bombers were 21-38, rather than 31-28, as we pass the 1/3 mark of the 2021 regular-season schedule.
Per FanGraphs, the Yankees’ playoff chances have dropped from 91.3% to 58.8%, and their divisional chances have declined from 71% to 23.1% since the preseason, making them the third choice in the AL East at present.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox have done as much to improve their own playoff chances as virtually any other team, improving from 38.9% postseason odds and a 9% divisional chance this preseason to 63% and 27.4%, respectively, as of Sunday morning.
Boston can complete a weekend sweep of their rivals on Sunday Night Baseball in the third of 19 scheduled regular-season contests between these two teams.
Can the Yankees start to make up ground in their AL East race, or will the Red Sox push the preseason AL favorite further down the AL Wild Card standings?
Red Sox Have Rebuilt A Contender
To date, the Red Sox rank sixth in expected wOBA or xwOBA offensively, 13th in terms of xwOBA allowed on the pitching side, and 10th (+12) per Defensive Runs Saved.
Their Pythagorean record (34-24) justifies that actual win mark (35-23) as the organization looks to have completely reset itself following an uncharacteristic 2020 season (24-36, 40% win rate) where they came under new management.
Chaim Bloom, a product of the Rays’ front office, did well to fill roster holes and add depth this offseason, acquiring 10 of the current players on the 25-man roster via trade, free agency or the Rule 5 draft.
The lineup has been boosted by a trio of bounce-back efforts from Xander Bogaerts (2.5 WAR, 4th), Rafael Devers (2.2 WAR, 8th) and J.D. Martinez (2.0 WAR, 11th), all of whom rank amongst the AL leaders in WAR.
And the bullpen, which features five new facesl ranks seventh in baseball in xFIP (3.78), sixth in SIERA (3.57) and sixth in K-BB% (17.1%).
Sunday’s starter Garrett Richards was one of those double-digit offseason acquisitions for Boston. Unfortunately, he might be overperforming (4.76 xERA, 4.53 xFIP, 4.85 SIERA) relative to his 3.75 ERA based on the underlying metrics.
Richards’ command (8.5% K-BB%) is at its worst mark since 2012 (career 11.9%), and his hard-hit rate (49.1%) represents a career-high (average 36%). Furthermore, his fastball velocity (94.4 mph) is sitting at the lowest level of his career.
Oddly, the fastball is the only one of Richards’ three pitches (curveball, slider) that has generated a positive pitch value this season. Historically, his slider has rated as an above-average offering every season except for 2016 (six starts).
The one thing Richards is still doing well, despite the hard contact, is generating groundballs (48.9%) which could save him in bad spots against this Yankees offense, a slow lineup that has hit into a major-league-leading 55 double plays.
Otherwise, there’s not much upside in his profile, and he only projects for a FIP between 4.45 and 4.85 for the rest of this season.
Are The Yankees Lucky To Be Above .500?
To date, the Yankees rank ninth in xwOBA offensively, second in terms of xwOBA allowed on the pitching side and 17th (+5) per Defensive Runs Saved.
Their actual wOBA on offense ranks 20th, however. In addition, they have been the single unluckiest team concerning the differential between their actual and expected quality of contact (-0.26), an encouraging sign for this team moving forward.
Their Pythagorean record (29-30) says that the Yankees are actually lucky to be above .500, however, as they sport a -3 run differential which ranks eighth in the American League.
You can attribute part of that success to a lights-out bullpen (ranks fourth with a 3.71 xFIP, fourth with a 3.49 SIERA and third with a 17.6% K-BB%) and Gerrit Cole, who ranks fourth in all of baseball (including hitters) with 3.0 WAR.
Sunday’s starter Domingo Germán finally looks to be on track after a shaky start to the season, sporting a 3.75 xERA and 3.75 SIERA, which aligns with his 2018 campaign (3.65 xERA and 3.68 SIERA). Additionally, the righty has steadily decreased his fastball usage, and increased his frequency of secondary offerings throughout his career, as he seeks to establish a more even pitch distribution:
Germán’s fastball and sinker have returned negative pitch values for each of the past three seasons, while the changeup and curveball have been above-average offerings, so it would make sense that he would try to deploy those pitches as frequently as possible.
In terms of total pitch value, Germán ranks fourth in curveball value and 16th in changeup value this season. Offensively, the Red Sox have performed better against curveballs this season than any other team (and rank sixth against changeups), so this may not be the best matchup for the Dominican hurler.
Red Sox-Yankees Pick
I projected the Red Sox as 45.7% underdogs for the full game and at 47.4% for the first five innings (F5) on Sunday night, and I would bet Boston’s moneyline in either half down to +130 and +125, respectively.
I set the F5 total at 4.73 runs, so I don’t see any value compared to a listed total of 5 (-115). However, I do see slight value regarding the full game Under 9.5, compared to my projected total of 8.8.
That being said, with an over-leaning umpire in Gabe Morales (53.4%) behind the dish, and with the wind blowing out to left field, I’m not taking betting the Under past -115 (Data per Action Labs)
Pick: Boston F5 (+125, 0.5 units) | Boston (+130, 0.5u) | Under 9.5 (-115, 0.5u)