Red Sox vs. Rays ALDS Betting Odds, Series Schedule: Tampa Bay Favored To Advance To ALCS

Red Sox vs. Rays ALDS Betting Odds, Series Schedule: Tampa Bay Favored To Advance To ALCS article feature image
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Getty Images. Pictured: Tampa’s Wander Franco and Boston’s Kevin Plawecki.

Red Sox vs. Rays ALDS Betting Odds

Red Sox Series Price +125
Rays Series Price -150
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Series Schedule

  • Game 1: Thursday, Oct. 7, 8:07 p.m. ET, FS1
  • Game 2: Friday, Oct. 8, 7:02 p.m. ET, FS1
  • Game 3: Sunday, Oct. 10, 4:07 p.m. ET, MLB Network
  • Game 4: Monday, Oct. 11, Time TBD, FS1 or MLB Network (if necessary)
  • Game 5: Wednesday, Oct. 13, Time TBD, FS1 (if necessary)

Overview

The Boston Red Sox survived an intense, winner-take-all American League Wild Card Game against the rival Yankees on Tuesday night at Fenway Park. Their reward? A meeting with another division rival, the 100-win Tampa Bay Rays. The series begins on Thursday in St. Petersburg.

The Red Sox are back in the postseason following two years away. Boston won the 2018 World Series but struggled the last two seasons before breaking back out this season.

The Rays are the defending American League champions and in the postseason for the third-straight season with a franchise record 100 wins. They ran away with the AL East despite four of the five teams in the division winning 90-plus games.

Tampa Bay lost a six-game World Series to the Dodgers in 2020. Its only other appearance came in 2008, when it lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in five games.

The Rays won the season series, 11-8, and the run differential was a minuscule 106 to 104.

Boston Red Sox

Top Position Players

  • Xander Bogaerts, SS
  • Rafael Devers, 3B
  • Enrique Hernandez, Util
  • J.D. Martinez, DH

Boston’s offense is led by the left side of the infield. Bogaerts and Devers were both All-Stars with elite power and the ability to draw walks.

That duo helped pace an offense that finished with the sixth-best offense in baseball by wRC+ at 106. The Red Sox ranked third in wOBA and were the 10th-most difficult team to strike out with a K percentage of 22.6%.

Unlike the Yankees, the Red Sox aren’t particularly walk-happy, as they ranked just 20th in the majors with walks in 8.4% of plate appearances.

J.D. Martinez missed the AL Wild Card Game with an ankle injury. It’s unknown as of this writing if he will be available for the start of the ALDS.

Projected Starting Rotation

  • Eduardo Rodriguez, RHP
  • Chris Sale, LHP
  • Nick Pivetta, RHP
  • Nathan Eovaldi, RHP

The Red Sox used staff ace Nathan Eovaldi in the AL Wild Card Game and erstwhile ace Chris Sale in Game 162 on Sunday. That means Eduardo Rodriguez likely gets Game 1 on Thursday.

All season long, Rodriguez posted bad back-of-the-baseball-card stats but solid rate and efficiency metric. It’s been a Helter Skelter year for Rodriguez, but the Red Sox are set up well behind him. Pitching on Sunday means Sale, who was solid in his return from Tommy John surgery for the most part, would get Game 2 on Friday on regular rest. They could also bring back Eovaldi on regular rest for Game 3 on Sunday.

After that, things get shaky with Nick Pivetta, Tanner Houck, or a few different options, but the Red Sox top-three in the rotation gives them a chance on any given night.

Key Bullpen Pieces

  • Matt Barnes
  • Garrett Whitlock
  • Adam Ottavino
  • Hirokazu Sawamura
  • Hansel Robles

Barnes entered the season as Boston’s closer and was for a majority of the 2021 campaign.

He was good enough to earn an All-Star nod, but he fell apart in the second half of the season and lost his job down the stretch. Robles has been getting save opportunities down the stretch, with some of Whitlock and Ottavino sprinkled in.

The unit has been an issue for most of the second half and finished with the 13th-best xFIP in baseball to go along with the 13th-best ERA. The Red Sox bullpen helped them get here, but leads aren’t quite safe late in games if it’s tight.

Tampa Bay Rays

Top Position Players

  • Brandon Lowe, 2B
  • Mike Zunino, C
  • Randy Arozarena, OF
  • Joey Wendle, 3B
  • Wander Franco, SS

The Rays don’t have any superstars. They don’t have any MVP candidates. But they have a consistent lineup, 1-through-9, that can give the best pitching staffs in the majors fits.

Despite its lack of supposed star power, Tampa finished the season tied for the third-best offense in baseball with a 109 wRC+. The Rays strike out a ton — a 24.8 percent rate that was tied for the fourth-highest mark in the league, but make up for it with the seventh-best walk rate and a top-10 wOBA.

The Rays are paced by Brandon Lowe, who was worth 5.2 fWAR and hit 39 home runs. Randy Arozarena broke out during the 2020 postseason, and in his technical rookie year, is the likely Rookie Of The Year winner with a .274/.356/.459 line, 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases.

The actual best player on the Rays might be Wander Franco. The 20-year-old entered the season as the No. 1 prospect in baseball and has lived up to the billing since joining the big-league club in late June. Franco hit .288/.347/.463 in 308 plate appearances with seven home runs and 24 walks against just 37 strikeouts.

Projected Starting Rotation

  • Shane McClanahan, LHP
  • Shane Baz, RHP
  • Drew Rasmussen, RHP
  • Ryan Yarbrough, LHP

Much like the starting lineup, Tampa’s rotation lacks star power. And like the offense, the best player might be a rookie who saw minimal playing time in 2021.

Shane Baz joined the rotation in September and made three starts. In 13 1/3 innings he struck out 18 and walked three. A global top-50 prospect who will retain his rookie eligibility next season, Baz has elite strikeout stuff. His experience is minimal, but without Tyler Glasnow, he’s the best pitcher on this staff already and has been tabbed to start Game 2 of this series.

The rest of the rotation is matchup-dependent. Shane McClanahan, the Game 1 starter, made his MLB debut in last season’s playoffs, Drew Rasmussen has been solid since joining the Rays in a mid-season trade with Milwaukee, and Ryan Yarbrough works well, and is often deployed as a bulk guy behind an opener.

Key Bullpen Pieces

  • Andrew Kittredge
  • Pete Fairbanks
  • Collin McHugh
  • J.P. Feyereisen

The Rays are perpetually the toughest team to project because they do everything outside the ordinary. That includes pitcher usage. The Rays don’t have a prototypical closer, particularly after trading Diego Castillo in the middle of the season, and can throw any of their pitchers at any given time in any given situation.

This list has four guys, but the Rays run deep. We could see Michael Wacha in relief. Luis Patino has elite stuff and started for most of this season. There’s so many more. How Kevin Cash used his bullpen helped the Rays to the World Series in 202. He’ll try to do it again this time around.

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