Yankees Favored over Boston Red Sox in MLB Futures Betting

Yankees Favored over Boston Red Sox in MLB Futures Betting

The Boston Red Sox won an MLB-best 108 games last season, rolled through the postseason only losing three times and ultimately defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the World Series. So why then, with a roster that is largely unchanged, are the Red Sox not even favored in their own division?

Instead of the Red Sox being tabbed by most oddsmakers as the prohibitive betting favorite to win the AL East, it’s the New York Yankees that find themselves in that position.

On 888Sport, the Yankees are listed at +600 to win the World Series, while the Red Sox and the Houston Astros are second at +650. Additionally, the Yankees have an over/under currently listed at 96.5 wins on FanDuel, with the Red Sox over/under set at 95.5 wins.

Few Changes on the Sox

On the surface it would seem that Boston should be the betting favorite to win the American League East for a fourth consecutive year. After all, Boston's potent lineup is essentially the same this season as it was in 2018 when the Red Sox won the American League East by eight games over the Yankees.

That Boston lineup, led by American League MVP Mookie Betts, ran away from their heated rival over the second half of the season and defeated them in four games in the American League Division Series. It propelled the Red Sox to the mot runs scored across both leagues, in addition to topping MLB in several major offensive statistical categories.

Player Movement or Betting Movement?

But the oddsmakers aren’t lacking justification to think the Yankees could unseat the Red Sox.

Similar to Boston, New York features a robust lineup that should again score runs in bunches -- the Yankees smacked an MLB single-season record 267 homeruns last season and only the Red Sox scored more runs.

Unlike the Red Sox, who lost relief pitcher Joe Kelly and are likely to lose closer Craig Kimbrel to free agency, the Yankees bullpen appears to be quite formidable whereas there are questions surrounding Boston’s relief corps.

The Yankees also added left-handed starting pitcher James Paxton and star reliever Adam Ottovino to a pitching staff that has led the AL for two straight seasons in opponent batting average with runners in scoring position.

Intangibles Also Factors

Another reason the betting line shifted toward the Yankees may be more straightforward, less to do with what transpires on the field. When the initial line was opened to the public, many bettors may have viewed it as too low creating a market opportunity for them to place a wager on the Yankees.

And considering New York did win 100 games last season and are projected to be pennant contender in 2019, any bet on the Yankees on the lower line came with a reasonable expectation that they could collect.

Finally there’s the concept of the championship hangover. Boston will be coming off, as we’ve discussed, an incredible, historic season that it dominated wire-to-wire.

Boston may be a town that never seems to get tired of winning championships, and there’s a very good chance the Red Sox will repeat in 2019, but there’s also reason to believe the Yankees might be a little hungrier during the regular season due to how their last season ended.

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