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Mariners vs. Red Sox MLB Odds & Picks: Expect Big Night Against Yusei Kikuchi (Friday, April 23)

Mariners vs. Red Sox MLB Odds & Picks: Expect Big Night Against Yusei Kikuchi (Friday, April 23) article feature image

Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Verdugo.

  • Yusei Kikuchi looks to slow the Red Sox's hot bats on Friday night.
  • Boston's lineup has thrived this season, leading it to the top of the AL East.
  • Kevin Davis breaks down where he sees betting value at Fenway Park.

Mariners vs. Red Sox Odds

Mariners Odds +110
Red Sox Odds -130
Over/Under 9.5
Time Friday, 7:10 p.m. ET
Odds as of Thursday and via PointsBet

On Thursday in our Action Network staff best bets, I made the Boston Red Sox’s money line against the Seattle Mariners my best bet of the day.

For Friday’s game between the same two teams, I am betting on the Red Sox again.

While both teams have started the season with winning records, Boston is a contender and Seattle is a pretender. Currently Boston has a run differential of-27 while Seattle has a negative run differential of-3. Over the course of a long season, Seattle should finish with a losing record and that is why I am backing the Red Sox again.

Here’s why.

Seattle Mariners

Yusei Kikuchi is going to start on Friday for the Mariners. Since arriving in Seattle from Japan in 2019, Kikuchi has been a disappointment despite signing a three-year $43 million dollar contract.

In three starts, Kikuchi is off to a better start than his previous two seasons, but I remain a skeptic. In three starts, Kikuchi is averaging 6 1/3 innings per outing and has a 4.74 ERA, and 3.92 xFIP. In his last start against the Houston Astros, Kikuchi pitched seven innings and allowed six hits, three walks and five earned runs.

While Kikuchi’s ability to go deep into a game is a strength, Seattle might be keeping him in there too long sometimes.

The other reason to bet against the Mariners on Friday night is their lineup. Most baseball fans outside of the Pacific Northwest could not name a single Mariners position player, and who could blame them.

The only above-average offensive player is outfielder Mitch Haniger. Other than Haniger there are only a few average offensive players, such as 2020 AL Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis, and several below-average offensive players.

Even though the Red Sox have a weak starting pitcher for Friday night, I do not believe this Seattle lineup will do well against him.

Boston Red Sox

Kikuchi is going to be particularly vulnerable against a strong Boston lineup. The Red Sox enter the series scoring 5.42 runs per game, which was the second-best mark in the league entering play on Thursday. Over the course of a full season, the Red Sox should regress, but my model believes that they should score 5% more runs per game than the typical league lineup over the course of a full season.

What makes the Red Sox lineup particularly dangerous right now is that J.D. Martinez is playing close to his previous form. In the shortened 2020 season, Martinez had a 77 wRC+, meaning he produced 23% fewer runs than the league average. He has a 223 wRC+ so far in 2021.

In addition to Martinez, other Red Sox hitters who are outperforming their projections include outfielder Alex Verdugo, catcher Christian Vázquez and third baseman Rafael Devers. The Boston lineup is one of the reasons to bet on them this season.

My only worry about the Red Sox on Friday night is with their starting pitcher Martín Pérez. Since joining Boston last year, Pérez could be counted on to pitch for only five innings per game while allowing two to three runs. While Pérez is a weakness for the Red Sox, I believe that he will do well enough against a weak Mariners lineup to give the Red Sox a win.

Mariners-Red Sox Pick

While both the Mariners and the Red Sox have been surprises during the first month of the season, I believe that the Mariners in the long run are a losing team.

For Friday night, the Red Sox should win as they have a strong lineup, and the Mariners have a weak pitcher in Kikuchi. I like the Boston moneyline at -130, but I would only play it up to -140.

Pick: Red Sox -130 (play to -140)

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