Ranking the Boston Sports Championships by Preseason Betting Odds
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Alex Cora
- The Boston Red Sox defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2018 World Series, giving the city of Boston their 11th championship in the four major sports since 2002.
- The most unlikely Boston sports championship based on odds in that span was the city's first during that span: the New England Patriots' win over the St. Louis Rams in 2002 as 14-point underdogs.
Feb. 4, 2002: The morning the city of Boston turned from an eager, title-hungry sports town into a city of champions …
Prior to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots’ win over the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI as a 14-point underdog, the city of Boston had not experienced a title in the four major sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) since the Boston Celtics beat the Houston Rockets in the NBA Finals in 1986.
Since then, over the past 17 years, Boston has won 11 championships in the four major sports, with New England’s triumph in 2002 being the least likely title entering the season at 60-1 betting odds.
Here are Boston’s 11 titles in order of least likely based on preseason odds:
All odds via the database at Sports Odds History.
2001 New England Patriots
- Preseason Odds: 60-1
- Championship: 14-point underdogs vs. Rams (Won, 20-17)
Ironically enough, the first championship the city of Boston brought home in this span was their unlikeliest, with the Patriots opening the 2001 season at 60-1 odds to win the Super Bowl.
Partly responsible for the 60-1 odds was the fact that New England finished 5-11 the season prior, their first year under Bill Belichick. Since then, New England has won more than eight games in 17 consecutive seasons.
2013 Boston Red Sox
- Preseason Odds: 28-1
- Championship: -140 series favorites vs. Cardinals (Won, 4-2)
Entering the 2013 season, the Red Sox had just fired manager Bobby Valentine and hired new manager John Farrell to try to get Boston back to the playoffs for the first time since 2009 — and boy did that work.
The Red Sox won 97 games and won the AL East for the first time since winning the World Series back in 2007. Boston entered the regular season with 28-1 odds to win the World Series, which were the 14th-highest odds entering the year.
The Red Sox faced the Cardinals in the October Classic after defeating the Tigers in the ALCS in six games. Boston beat the Cards in Game 1 at home, but ended up losing Games 2 in Boston and Game 3 back in St. Louis before winning the series in six games.
2011 Boston Bruins
- Preseason Odds: 16-1
- Championship: +170 series underdogs vs. Canucks (Won, 4-3)
Prior to 2010-11, the Boston Bruins had not won the Stanley Cup since 1972. The Bruins entered the season with 16-1 odds to win it all after losing in the Conference Semifinals the season prior.
Through November, the Bruins were just 12-8-2, but once Boston got into their groove in December, Boston started rolling. From December on, the Bruins went 50-26-9, including the playoffs, en route to the cup.
2003 New England Patriots
- Preseason Odds: 15-1
- Championship: 7-point favorites vs. Panthers (Won, 32-29)
Behind the 2001 Patriots, their 2003 team was the least likely Pats Super Bowl win in the Tom Brady era at 15-1 odds in the preseason.
New England was coming off a 9-7 season where it did not make the playoffs for the first time since 2000 and came back with vengeance, winning 14 games for the first time in franchise history.
As usual, the playoffs were not a cupcake for the Pats, as they defeated the Titans, Colts and Panthers by an average of just 5.3 PPG. The first time the Patriots trailed in the 2003 playoffs was with 6:53 left in the Super Bowl.
2018 Boston Red Sox
- Preseason Odds: +1150
- Championship: -155 series favorites vs. Dodgers (Won, 4-1)
Now for the city of Boston’s most recent title: the 2018 Red Sox. After winning 108 games during the regular season, the playoffs proved to be easy for Boston.
The Red Sox never lost more than one game in each of their three playoff series, and they ended up beating the Dodgers 4-1 in the World Series after opening the series as -155 favorites.
2008 Boston Celtics
- Preseason Odds: 10-1
- Championship: +160 series underdogs vs. Lakers (Won, 4-2)
Entering the 2007-08 season, the Boston Celtics had not won an NBA title since 1986, the franchise’s longest drought.
Enter: Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Piece.
The “Big 3” led the Celtics to the Finals against the rival Lakers. Boston led 3-2 heading to the Boston Garden with a chance to close the door, and the Celtics did just that with a 131-92 victory in Game 6.
2007 Boston Red Sox
- Preseason Odds: 7-1
- Championship: -240 series favorites vs. Rockies (Won, 4-0)
For Red Sox fans, the 2007 World Series title will never come close to the feeling that 2004 had (the curse, the title, etc.), but after winning the AL East for the first time since 1995 and beating the Cleveland Indians in a Game 7 to make the World Series, 2007 was pretty special.
Boston faced the Colorado Rockies in the World Series and dominated its N.L. foe in a four-game sweep, which was exactly how the 2004 Red Sox closed out the World Series against the Cardinals.
2014 New England Patriots
- Preseason Odds: +650
- Championship: 1-point favorites vs. Seahawks (Won, 28-24)
For the first time since New England lost to the Giants in the Super Bowl (… the second time), the Patriots found their way back to the Super Bowl.
The Patriots had their biggest obstacle early in the playoffs when they faced the Baltimore Ravens at home in the Divisional Round. Baltimore led 28-14 in the third quarter in Foxboro, before New England stormed back to tie the game just eight minutes later (game time).
The Patriots’ first lead in the game came with five minutes left in the fourth.
In 2014, the Super Bowl could be summed up with one phrase: “They didn’t hand it off to Marshawn?” Patriots 28-24 final.
2016 New England Patriots
- Preseason Odds: 6-1
- Championship: 3-point favorites vs. Falcons (Won, 34-28)
This Super Bowl featured the largest comeback in history.
Atlanta led New England 28-3 halfway through the third quarter before the Patriots stormed back, scoring 25-unanswered points to give the Patriots the win in overtime, 34-28.
2004 New England Patriots
- Preseason Odds: 6-1
- Championship: 4.5-point favorites vs. Eagles (Won, 24-21)
The year after beating the Panthers 32-29 and getting Tom Brady his second Super Bowl ring, New England was back in the big game trying to become the first team since the 1998 Denver Broncos to win back-to-back Super Bowls.
The Patriots won 14 games again in 2004, like they did in 2003, but this time the Divisional and Conference title games were not as difficult.
The Pats defeated the Colts 20-3 and the Steelers 41-27 en route to facing the Eagles in the Super Bowl and winning another title on the foot of Adam Vinatieri.
2004 Boston Red Sox
- Preseason Odds: 4-1
- Championship: -145 series favorites vs. Cardinals (Won, 4-0)
Of the 11 titles the city of Boston has won since 2002, this one, during which they reversed the “Curse of the Bambino,” just happened to be their shortest odds of the bunch at 4-1.
The Red Sox had not won the World Series since 1918, which was the second-longest drought behind just the Chicago Cubs at the time. After winning 98 games during the regular season, the playoffs were a long, drawn out battle for Boston.
The Yankees led the ALCS 3-0 after beating Boston 19-8 in Game 3. Boston then won Games 4, 5 and 6 before forcing a Game 7 and becoming the first team ever to comeback from a 3-0 deficit.
The World Series wasn’t as hard for Boston, which swept the Cardinals to bring home the title to Beantown.