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Red Sox vs. Mets Odds, Betting Prediction, Preview: Total Has Value in Series Opener

Red Sox vs. Mets Odds, Betting Prediction, Preview: Total Has Value in Series Opener article feature image

Adam Glanzman/Getty Images. Pictured: Red Sox closer Matt Barnes.

  • An intriguing interleague clash of MLB's East Division leaders starts on Tuesday night.
  • Both the Red Sox and Mets' lineups have solid firepower, but each teams' biggest strength has been its bullpen.
  • BJ Cunningham breaks down why he is targeting the total for betting value.

Red Sox vs. Mets Odds

Red Sox Odds +120
Mets Odds -140
Over/Under 8.5
Time Tuesday, 7:10 p.m. ET
Odds as of Monday and via PointsBet

The leaders of MLB’s East Divisions start an interleague series on Tuesday night when the New York Mets host the Boston Red Sox.

The Red Sox didn’t have many expectations coming into the season but find themselves atop the American League East with a pretty impressive three-game lead. Boston will send Garrett Richards to the mound, who has struggled since joining the Red Sox and will likely have a difficult matchup against a powerful Mets lineup.

The Mets took two of three from the Nationals over the weekend to give them the lead in the National League East. New York has high expectations in 2021 with the arrival of a new owner and world-class shortstop in Francisco Lindor. The NL East race is already tight to begin the season, so winning a series against the Red Sox would be beneficial to keep the Mets above .500 and on course toward a division title.

Offensive Matchup 

Boston Red Sox

Even though the Red Sox missed the playoffs last season, their offense still was near the top of MLB. Boston put up a .333 wOBA and 106 wRC+, and they’ve continued hitting in 2021. The Sox have even improved, putting up a .344 wOBA and 122 wRC+, which is second in MLB.

The Red Sox were slightly above average against left-handed pitching, hitting for a .265 average and 102 wRC+. They have a fantastic matchup in this one against Mets southpaw David Peterson, since the Red Sox were top 10 against both fastballs and sliders, which are his two main pitches.

New York Mets

In 2020, the Mets had one of the best offenses in baseball over the second half of the 2020 season. New York led MLB with a .272 average and was third in wOBA and wRC+, and it should be even better this season with the addition of Lindor. However, the Mets have gotten off to a slow start through their first 15 games, putting up only a .311 wOBA and 100 wRC+, both of which are considered average by MLB standards.

Most of New York’s success last season came against right-handed pitching. The Mets were third in the MLB with a .353 wOBA and 125 wRC+ against righties in 2020. Since Richards is an average right-hander, I expect the Mets’ lineup will get to him.

Starting Pitching Matchup

Garrett Richards vs. David Peterson

2021 ZIPS Projected Stats (via Fangraphs)

Boston Red Sox Starting Pitcher

Garrett Richards, RH

2020 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Richards struggled in 2020 with the Padres, posting a 4.58 xERA and 4.46 xFIP. His biggest problem was allowing way too much hard contact. Richards’ hard contact rate was over 39%, which is going to be a problem against a powerful lineup like the Mets.

Richards primarily uses a fastball-slider combination with a lot of velocity. He throws a hard slider that doesn’t have much horizontal movement, but it really drops off the table. He hasn’t been effective with either pitch this season, as both are allowing a wOBA over .350.

The Mets were in the top half of MLB against both fastballs and sliders last season, so they have a good matchup against Richards across the board.

Mets Starting Pitcher

David Peterson, LHP

2020 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Peterson had a pretty good first season in the big leagues. The 25-year-old posted a 3.44 ERA but was really fortunate, because his xFIP was all the way up at 5.11. So far this season, it’s been the polar opposite for him. Peterson’s ERA through his first three starts is 6.75, while his xFIP is at 2.69. It appears that Peterson is due for some positive regression.

Peterson usually sits in the low 90s with his sinking-fastball, which tends to produce a lot of ground balls (44.4% in 2020 & 50% so far in 2021). He was very effective with that offering last season, as opposing hitters were only able to hit for a .164 average against it.

Peterson’s slider was elite, producing 24 strikeouts and a 37.1% whiff rate on only 210 pitches. If locates it correctly, it’s pretty much impossible to hit:

David Peterson had the one of the better sliders in baseball in 2020, here's his slider ranks among left-handed starting pitchers:

T/2nd: -6 run value (tied with Corbin, behind only Kershaw)
1st .119 BA
1st .136 xBA
3rd .254 SLG
2nd .209 wOBA
3rd 36.9 K%
1st 22.9 Hard hit%

— Michael Mayer (@mikemayer22) December 31, 2020

Peterson also has a changeup and straight fastball (different than his sinking fastball) that he mixes in frequently, but both of those grade out as average at the big-league level.

Bullpen/Defensive Matchup

The reason the Red Sox didn’t make the postseason last season was in large part due to their bullpen, which was one of the worst in MLB. Boston’s ‘pen posted a 4.92 ERA and had the second highest HR to fly-ball ratio in baseball behind only the Rockies, who played half of their games in the most hitter-friendly park in MLB.

So far this season, the Red Sox’s relief corps have completely flipped the script with a 3.12 ERA and 3.86 xFIP, both of which are near the top of MLB. They may be called on early if Richards can’t get things going.

Much like the Red Sox, the biggest reason the Mets didn’t have much success last season was their bullpen. They made some upgrades through trades and offseason signings while keeping some of their main relievers. So far, the Mets bullpen has posted a 2.99 ERA and 3.48 xFIP, which is much better than 2020. They will have the advantage in the later innings in this series.

Red Sox-Mets Pick

Even though these are two powerful offenses, I think the current over/under is a tad too high. The starting pitching matchup isn’t great, but these are two of 2021’s best bullpens that enter this series fully rested.

Therefore, I am going to back Under 8.5 runs at +100 on PointsBet odds and would play it up to -108.

Pick: Under 8.5 runs +100 (play to -108)

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