Yankees vs. White Sox Odds, Preview, Prediction: How to Bet MLB’s Field of Dreams Game in Iowa (August 12)

Yankees vs. White Sox Odds, Preview, Prediction: How to Bet MLB’s Field of Dreams Game in Iowa (August 12) article feature image
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Ron Vesely/Getty Images. Pictured: Lance Lynn models the throwback uniform he will be wearing for Thursday’s Field of Dreams game between the Yankees and White Sox.

  • The Yankees and White Sox for the first MLB game ever in the state of Iowa on Thursday for the Field of Dreams game.
  • Cy Young frontrunner Lance Lynn takes the mound for the White Sox in Dyersville, Iowa, against New York's Andrew Heaney.
  • Sean Zerillo breaks down the matchup, including park effects at the brand-new stadium, below in his betting preview.

Yankees vs. White Sox Odds

Yankees Odds +140
White Sox Odds -160
Over/Under 9.5 (-105 / -115)
Time 7:15 p.m. ET
TV FOX
Odds as of Thursday morning via DraftKings.

The baseball world descends upon Dyersville, Iowa, on Thursday, with the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox set to play the first-ever regular-season game at the Field of Dreams.

The White Sox have built a substantial lead in the AL Central and have a 96.6% chance of winning their division per PECOTA and 99% per FanGraphs. The former gives the Southsiders an 11.1% chance (+800 implied odds) of winning the World Series, while the latter is a bit more optimistic at 13.7% (+630 implied). Their listed odds in the futures market (ranging from +600 to +800) are probably on the nose.

The Yankees might offer more value from a futures perspective at the present moment. Since the start of July, they’re playing at a 103-win pace and still have a 20.8% (+380 implied) chance (per PECOTA) to close the seven-game gap behind the Rays to win the AL East.

PECOTA would also put the Yankees’ World Series odds at 7.2% (+1288 implied), so there’s potential value on the Bombers in both the divisional (listed +650 to +750) and World Series (listed +1700 to +2500) markets.

While FanGraphs projections are less optimistic on the Yankees’ chances (10.3% division and 5.2% World Series), they’re much higher overall on the Red Sox and White Sox.

However, I have New York (3rd) power rated much higher than either Chicago (10th) or Boston (12th) based upon current roster talent. My projections align more closely with PECOTA.

The White Sox have a significant starting pitching advantage in this matchup, with AL Cy Young favorite Lance Lynn (10-3, 2.04 ERA) facing trade deadline acquisition Andrew Heaney (7-8, 5.45 ERA). It’s enough to make Chicago the favorite, but are they the right side from a betting perspective?

Starting Pitching Matchup

Both starting pitchers have similar underlying ERA indicators, but Lynn’s actual ERA is more than three runs better than Heaney’s this season.

Lynn, who starts here in place of fellow Cy Young favorite Carlos Rodón after was placed on the IL with shoulder fatigue, carried a .242 BABIP and a 79.4% strand rate through his 2020 campaign and has managed marks of .260 and 85.2% in 2021 (.299 and 76.1% career).

Lynn does suppress hard contact — his xwOBA (.258) is only slighter higher than his wOBA (.253) — but his BABIP and strand rate are still unsustainable, relative to league averages (.289 and 72.1%).

The righty throws his fastballs (combined four-seam and sinker) more frequently than any starting pitcher in baseball, and those pitches rank fifth overall in total pitch value on a per-pitch basis. His cutter ranks 17th out of 49 qualified starters.

Lance Lynn's 3 "Fastball" Variations (with tails). 😯
92mph Cutter
95mph Four Seam
93mph Sinker pic.twitter.com/QbR8UBGYwg

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 25, 2021

Heaney was a surprise deadline-day acquisition for the Yankees. The southpaw has had a nice career but largely underachieved (4.61 ERA, 4.01 xFIP, 3.89 SIERA) thanks to an issue with the long ball (career 1.57 HR/9).

There are some pitch-mix classification issues with Heaney, depending upon the site. He used to be more of a sinker/slider pitcher but has changed the shape on his breaking pitch to more of a curveball and busted out the four-seamer to a significant degree in 2021.

Heaney’s four-seamer has been hit hard this season. The pitch ranks 62nd out of 78 qualified pitchers on a per-pitch basis, and he throws the pitch nearly 60% of the time, which ranks in the top five among starting pitchers.

The changeup and slider have both been slightly above-average offerings for Heaney, and perhaps he’ll increase the frequency of his secondary pitches now that he’s with a new organization:

Andrew Heaney, Wicked 82mph Curveball. 🤢 pic.twitter.com/0hwgtljpW2

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 10, 2021

Heaney has been much more effective against lefties (career .297 wOBA) than righties (.331) throughout his career, but those splits have changed in the past three seasons.

He’s been a bit unlucky in 2021 (.333 wOBA, .319 xwOBA), but as I mentioned, Heaney gives up home runs at a significant rate (15.6% HR/FB). The level hasn’t elevated out of control this season (17.4%), but he’s giving up fly balls at an increased rate (43.5%), and there are more opportunities for those balls in the air to fly over the fence.

Bullpens

Both teams feature top-10 bullpens by nearly all expected indicators. Chicago might have the best bullpen in baseball after acquiring Craig Kimbrel (1.91 xERA) and Ryan Tepera (2.69 xERA) at the trade deadline.

The Yankees are currently missing Aroldis Chapman (4.22 xERA, elbow inflammation), Clay Holmes (3.14 xERA) and Michael King (4.91 xERA) with injuries.

Yankees relievers Joely Rodríguez (3.74 xERA) and Jonathan Loaisiga (2.29 xERA) may be tired and unavailable for Thursday’s contest based on rest and recent usage.

Conversely, the White Sox should have all bullpen arms rested and available behind their ace.

Lineups and Fielding

On a per-pitch basis, Chicago’s offense ranks in the top three against each of Heaney’s offerings (seventh vs. fastballs, fourth vs. curveballs, second vs. changeups).

Conversely, the Yankees have struggled against both fastballs (18th) and cutters (18th), which should boost Lynn.

The Yankees are currently without Anthony Rizzo and Gary Sánchez (in addition to Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery) due to COVID-19 protocols. Gio Urshela is also dealing with a hamstring strain, while Gleyber Torres has a sprained thumb.

The Yankees have the No. 9-ranked offensive this year per xwOBA (.326) but rank 16th per actual wOBA (.315). The White Sox rank 14th (.319) and sixth (.327), respectively. Which is to say that the Yankees have been quite unlucky on offense, while the White Sox have been equally fortunate.

New York has the second-worst OPS in baseball (.650) with runners in scoring position, while Chicago ranks fifth (.808). The Yankees have also hit into more double plays (109) than any other team in baseball.

The White Sox have the advantage in offensive splits. New York (93 wRC+) ranks 15th against right-handed pitching, while Chicago (110 wRC+) ranks sixth against righties.

A previously righty-heavy Yankees lineup should improve over the remainder of the season, with a pair of lefty-killing bats in Joey Gallo and Rizzo in tow.

Chicago should improve offensively and defensively, with Eloy Jiménez (.373 wOBA, .368 xwOBA in 2020) and Luis Robert (+8 DRS, third among CF in 2020) returning to its regular lineup.

Both teams have been below-average defensively this season, with Chicago (-14 Defensive Runs Saved, 23rd) and New York (-19 DRS, 25th) both sitting in negative territory.

However, the White Sox ranked second (+30 DRS) in 2020, and I would expect to see a much-improved team the rest of the way.

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Park Factor

The dimensions for the Field of Dreams (335 feet down the lines, 380 to the gaps, 400 to dead center) roughly align with the median distances for ballparks around MLB (330 to the corners, 405 to center).

As a result, I would expect to see a run-scoring environment that is just around league average before accounting for wind, weather and the umpire.

Wind will be the key factor in assessing the total for this matchup. With miles of flat cornfields stretching in any direction, even small gusts of wind could dramatically affect the baseball’s flight.

Otherwise, I’m not expecting to see a park factor that is dramatically different from Yankee Stadium (96) or Guaranteed Rate Field (96).

For a game at Yankee Stadium — where I personally use a league-average park factor — I would project this total game around 8.7 runs.

The listed total around 9.5 for Wednesday implies a run-scoring environment that is 10% above league average (110 park factor) — which puts it on par with Fenway Park (109) or Sahlen Field (110) in Buffalo — and would make it the second-most offense-friendly park in the majors.

Unless there is a significant wind factor in play on Thursday, it isn’t easy to justify a total that high for this contest.

Here’s approximately how I would have adjusted the total for this game, depending upon the expected Park Factor:

I have to assume that the Field of Dreams wouldn’t immediately become one of baseball’s most aggressively pro-offense parks. Still, I’m also basing that opinion on dimension comps rather than data.


Projections and Picks

I have a strong lean to the Under in Thursday’s Field of Dreams Game since I projected the total nearly a full run lower than the opening line:

I would bet the Under down to 9 (-102) but would prefer to get in at 9.5 (up to -120) since 9 is a key number with baseball totals.

To bet the moneyline, either F5 or full game, I would need to see a price closer to -143 on the White Sox or +169 on the Yankees — with either bet representing a two-percent betting edge.

Pick: Under 9.5

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