Red Sox vs. Phillies Odds, Preview, Prediction: How to Bet Opener With Aaron Nola Against Boston (May 21)
Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Nola.
- The Red Sox and Phillies open an interleague set on Friday night with Aaron Nola facing MLB's best offense.
- Boston will have to adjust to playing in a National League park, which means J.D. Martinez will have to play in the outfield without a designated hitter.
- Mike Ianniello breaks down where he sees betting value below, delivering his best bet for the game.
Red Sox vs. Phillies Odds
|Red Sox Odds||+135|
|Time||7:05 p.m. ET|
With the most wins in the American League, the Boston Red Sox (27-18) will head to Philadelphia for an interleague set against the Phillies (22-22).
The Phillies have lost two of their past three series and are coming off two straight losses at the hands of the Miami Marlins.
On the other side, Boston has won its last two series and enters having won two straight against the Blue Jays in Florida. The Red Sox have been the biggest surprise of the season to this point with the best lineup in baseball, while also getting surprisingly great pitching from a staff with low expectations.
Boston Red Sox
One of those pitchers who has been better than expected is Martín Peréz. The 30-year old is having the best season of his career with a 3.40 ERA, 3.51 FIP and an 8.39 K/9 through eight starts.
The downside to Peréz is that he isn’t really a pitcher who can go deep into games, averaging fewer than five innings per start this year. However, the left-hander was able to go six frames in his last start for the first time this season, allowing just three hits and no runs for a stellar performance against the Angels.
Peréz has a higher xERA and xwOBA than his current actual numbers, which could point to possible regression, but he doesn’t allow much hard contact and has allowed just two home runs all season.
The Red Sox will do some lineup juggling as designated hitter J.D. Martinez will have to play in the outfield in a National League ballpark. The Sox need to keep Martinez’s bat in the lineup. He has been fantastic this year, batting .331 with a 1.013 OPS and 12 home runs while ranking second in the majors with 37 RBIs.
Martinez and Xander Bogaerts have helped power a Boston lineup that leads baseball in wOBA, wRC+ and OPS, as well as ranking second in batting average.
Opposite Peréz will be one of the best pitchers in baseball in Aaron Nola. The Phillies’ ace has a 3.64 ERA and 2.99 FIP in nine starts this year. Over 54 innings, Nola has 61 strikeouts and just nine walks in 2021.
Nola is throwing his fastball a lot more this season, up from 25% to 38%. His curveball still remains his best pitch, though. The bender is allowing just a .194 xBA and .220 xwOBA and generating a 35% strikeout rate.
The Phillies continue to be without two of their best bats with both J.T. Realmuto and Didi Gregorius dealing with injuries. Instead it has been Rhys Hoskins and rookie Nick Maton doing most of the damage over the last week.
Philadelphia’s offense has been fairly average this season, sitting 12th in batting average, 19th in wOBA and 19th in wRC+. However, the Phils have been much better at home this season.
Red Sox-Phillies Pick
As pedestrian as the Philadelphia offense has been this season, it has been much better against left-handed pitchers, like the one they will face Friday night. The Phillies are batting .249 with a .316 wOBA against southpaws this season. Hoskins, Maton and Andrew McCutchen are all right handers who have crushed lefties.
While the Red Sox have had a ton of success against right-handed pitching this season, Nola is a different beast. Boston also loses the benefit of the designated hitter and will be forced to bat the pitcher.
Similar to Philly’s bats, pitching at Citizens Bank Park has made a big difference for Nola. He has been dominant at home this year, posting a 2-0 record with a 1.40 ERA and a .196 batting average against in four starts there. On the road, he is 1-3 with a 5.65 ERA and .227 batting average against in five starts.
No matter who I pick here, I am going to get in trouble. My mother is a diehard Red Sox fan and my fiancée loves the Phillies. I know somebody is going to be mad at me, but I am not willing to bet against Nola, especially at home.
Pick: Phillies -160 or better