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Astros Overtake Red Sox for 2nd-Best World Series Odds Ahead of Opening Day

Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel of the Houston Astros
Jose Altuve and the Astros are projected to win 96.5 games in 2019. Photo by Keith Allison (flickr) [CC License].
  • The Red Sox have had the best odds to win the World Series most of the offseason
  • Not only do they trail the Yankees now, but they’re third behind the Astros in the latest update
  • Is this the time to pounce on Boston?

All offseason long, the list of World Series favorites in the AL has been the same: the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees, and the Houston Astros.

For a long time, the order was Boston, Houston and New York.

Then it was New York, Boston and Houston.

Now the Red Sox are third. And with all of the hardships the city of Boston has had to struggle through the last few years, they must be insulted.

But with their fall to third in World Series odds, is this the best time to bet the Red Sox?

2019 World Series Odds

Team World Series Odds at Bovada
New York Yankees +600
Houston Astros +700
Boston Red Sox +750
Los Angeles Dodgers +800
Philadelphia Phillies +800

*Odds taken March 24; follow the link in the table to see odds for all 30 teams

Online sports betting sites definitely see the World Series heading back to the American League this year.

Houston and Boston have won the last two. The Yankees haven’t made it there since 2009.

With New York being a little short for my liking, let’s analyze which of the other two offers more value right now.

Red Sox vs Astros Offense

FanGraphs believes that both teams have high ceilings offensively, but one’s lows are worse than the other’s.

Going off of their projected WAR, expect typically strong years from JD Martinez and Mookie Betts. Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr. will be solid, too.

Projected WAR for Red Sox Starting Lineup

Player Position Projected WAR
Mookie Betts RF 6.8
JD Martinez DH 4.4
Xander Bogaerts SS 3.8
Andrew Benintendi LF 3.3
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF 3.0
Rafael Devers 3B 1.9
Dustin Pedroia 2B 1.7
Mitch Moreland 1B 0.8
Christian Vazquez/Sandy Leon C 0.7

While the Astros don’t have the higher-end numbers the Red Sox do, they’re more solid top-to-bottom.

FanGraphs is also expecting a big season out of Kyle Tucker, who isn’t included in this starting nine. If he performs up to their standards, it would improve their outfield outlook.

Projected WAR for Astros Starting Lineup

Player Position Projected WAR
Alex Bregman 3B 5.2
Jose Altuve 2B 5.0
Carlos Correa SS 4.3
George Springer/Josh Reddick LF 2.8
Jake Marisnick/Springer CF 2.7
Michael Brantley/Tyler White DH 2.4
Michael Brantley/Tony Kemp 2B 1.9
Robinson Chirinos/Max Stass C 2.2
Yuli Gurriel 1B 0.8

If Tucker has the impact they’re expecting, it’ll bump the least productive of Brantley, Kemp, White and Gurriel from the lineup.

Red Sox vs Astros Pitching

Both teams have formidable starting rotations, but the Red Sox are deeper than the Astros. Houston has the better bullpen though.

Red Sox vs Astros: Head-to-Head Pitcher WAR

Red Sox

Chris Sale – 6.6 SP1 Justin Verlander – 5.3
David Price – 3.9 SP2 Gerritt Cole – 4.4
Rick Porcello – 2.6 SP3 Colin McHugh – 2.6
Nathan Eovaldi – 2.7 SP4 Wade Miley – 1.0
Eduardo Rodriguez – 2.3 SP5 Brad Peacock – 1.6
4.7 Bullpen 5.7

Chris Sale is the more formidable ace of the two teams, but Justin Verlander and Gerritt Cole are the better one-two punch.

Right now, the back end of the Astros’ rotation is in flux, and may be figured out on the fly.

But of course, there’s the ever-looking status of Dallas Keuchel. If he were to return to Houston, their rotation becomes better than Boston’s.

The Red Sox have their starting five locked in.

Who’s the Best World Series Bet?

Houston should win the AL West, while the Red Sox should be the top Wild Card team, if they don’t win the AL East. Both are making the playoffs.

At this point, one isn’t a runaway favorite over the other. They’ll likely be neck-and-neck the whole season.

The Red Sox have the easier start to the season, so they’re worth your money now. Their odds will likely shorten after the first month.

The Astros have a more difficult opening month, and could see their odds fade a bit. If that happens, jump on them. It could be the best price you get them at all year.

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