Yankees vs. Red Sox Odds, Preview, Prediction: Value On Underdog Boston In AL Wild Card Game (Tuesday, October 5)
Getty Images. Pictured: The Yankees’ Aaron Judge and Red Sox’s Rafael Devers
- The Yankees are slight favorites in tonight's AL Wild Card Game against the Red Sox in Boston.
- Gerrit Cole is on the mound for New York and will be opposed by Boston's Nathan Eovaldi.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of the matchup, including a betting pick.
Yankees vs. Red Sox AL Wild Card Game Odds
|Red Sox Odds||+105|
|Over/Under||8.5 (+100 / -120)|
|Time||8:08 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds odds here.|
Was there any doubt that the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox would square off to determine bragging rights heading into the American League Division Series? Not only do we get two of the top 10 teams in Offensive WAR, but staff aces Gerrit Cole and Nate Eovaldi take the mound.
Both teams enter Tuesday’s winner-take-all AL Wild Card Game coming off win-or-play-game-163 scenarios. Boston won the season series 10-9 but lost the final six meetings between the two clubs, including a three-game sweep at home September 24-26.
The Yankees Continue to Win Despite Injuries
The Yankees’ offense is one of eight to finish the season with a road wRC+ over 100. They also finished the season strong with a 116 road wRC+ from September on. The Yankees finished the last month-plus with the best Hard Hit percentage and a drop in strikeout rate by one percent over their year-long mark in road games.
The offense will have to keep this pace in their one-off in Boston without DJ LeMahieu (10-day IL) and Luke Voit (transferred to 60-day IL). The good news is Gio Urshela (thigh) should be able to play.
Another positive that carries to the Wild Card Game is the prolonged health and production from Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge. Both had at least 570 plate appearances this season, combining for 74 home runs while topping .350 OBP and .516 slugging each. Judge also enters Tuesday with a 1.079 OPS against Eovaldi in 20 at-bats.
The power in the middle can be enough for Cole. The Cy Young candidate has a slash line against of .219/.271/.434 when facing current Red Sox hitters. Cole is 2-2 against Boston in 2021 but has not pitched more than six innings in a start against them.
There is cause for concern with Cole not pitching deep. The youth movement in the bullpen has succeeded and the returns of Domingo German and Luis Severino helps bridge shorter outings to the late-inning relievers, but the amount of youth in the ‘pen without playoff experience matters.
The bullpen deserves its flowers, too. Even with Aroldis Chapman not pitching at an elite level, the bullpen ended 2021 strong with a top-five xFIP, strikeout rate, and Soft Hit percentage from September 1 on.
Strong pitching against strong hitting rarely fails to produce.
Boston’s Arms Must Shine With Its Bats
The Red Sox offense had the second-best home wRC+ and strikeout rate over the final month of the season and did so without a dependence on the long ball. Their 1.02 Groundball-to-Flyball ratio at home since the beginning of September is top 10 and not far off from their season-long mark (1.09).
The offense has been hit-or-miss against Cole, with Kyle Schwarber, Hunter Renfroe, and Xander Bogaerts hitting .208 or worse. Bogaerts has the best OPS (.575) and only homer of the trio against Cole.
The lineup is deep considering Alex Verdugo, J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers possessing OPS’s above .925 against Cole. Martinez is a question mark after twisting his left ankle during the regular season finale. If he were to DH, that would force Schwarber to the field. Not ideal defensively, but obviously a plus offensively.
Depending on Eovaldi to shut down the Yankees’ offense is a tough ask. Eovaldi has been a better pitcher at home (3.47 home ERA) than on the road (4.21) and has faired well against the Yankees. He was crushed September 24 by the Bronx Bombers (7 ER, 2 2/3 innings) but never allowed more than two earned runs against them in five other starts (31 1/3 innings).
Eovaldi went 1-2 against the Yankees with the lone win coming on the road. Go figure.
The Red Sox bullpen had a similar blip when Matt Barnes fell apart post-All-Star break. The bullpen is a rung or two below New York’s, but Eovaldi pitching to contact more than Cole and pitching deeper into games, the bullpen could be utilized later in the game.
Yankees-Red Sox Pick
I am going to enjoy watching this game between to excellent, evenly-matched teams that had their season series decided by one game. Each aspect of both teams has its flaws, but none truly glaring enough to feel strongly one way or the other.
I get making the Yankees favorites after a white-knuckle win against the Tampa Bay Rays to clinch this spot, but losing two vital hitters ahead of the playoffs matters, especially when one of them is a reverse-splits hitter (Voit against RHP) with power who can hit anywhere from 2-7 in the lineup when all hitters are healthy.
I also feel strongly betting a home underdog with arguably the best home offense against a pitcher who will challenge batters — and allow home runs.
Pick: Boston ML (+105, bet to -110)