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Red Sox’ Playoff Odds Fade to +600 with Just 25 Games Left

Mookie Betts
The Red Sox are 5.5 games out of a playoff spot. Are the defending champs doomed to miss the postseason for the first time in four years? Photo from @MLBNetwork (Twitter).
  • The Boston Red Sox’ playoff odds have fallen to +600 after opening the season at -600
  • The defending champs were 5.5 games out of a Wild Card spot with just 25 games to play
  • Is there any value betting Boston to reach the postseason?

For the first time in four years, it appears the MLB postseason will not include the Boston Red Sox. At the start of the day on Tuesday, the defending World Series champs were 5.5 games out of the AL’s final Wild Card spot and online sportsbooks are very bearish on their October prospects.

AL Playoff Odds

Team Odds to Make Playoffs Odds to Miss Playoffs
Cleveland Indians -350 +290
Tampa Bay Rays -300 +250
Oakland A’s +210 -250
Boston Red Sox +600 -800

*Odds taken 09/03/19

Their MLB playoff odds have dropped to +600, well behind the Indians and Rays who are heavy favorites to claim the AL’s two Wild Cards.

Prior to the start of the season, Boston was -600 to reach the postseason and, while many factors are to blame for their demise, pitching is definitely at the top of the list.

Pitching Woes

The Red Sox pitching staff ranks in the bottom half of the league in ERA, OBP, strand rate, extra base hits allowed and quality starts. They’re without an ace now that Chris Sale is out for the season and only one of their regular starters has an ERA below 4.25.

 

They’ve surrendered at least seven runs 13 different times in the second half of the season and their bullpen has blown a league high 27 saves. While pitching has been a major area of concern for Boston, the three teams that they’re chasing in the Wild Card race (Cleveland, Tampa Bay and Oakland) all rank in the AL’s top-5 in WAR, ERA, home runs allowed and strand rate.

It’s no wonder the Red Sox have a 8.1% chance to make the playoffs according to FanGraphs, while the Indians and Rays sit at 73.6% and 70% respectively.

Long Odds Against

Boston is an AL best 11-4 since August 13th but is still on pace to win just 87.5 games. All three teams ahead of them  in the Wild Card race are on pace for at least 93 wins and don’t face the nearly the level of competition that the Red Sox do down the stretch.

Thirteen of Boston’s final 25 games are against playoff calibre teams, including seven straight against division leaders Minnesota and New York. Half of the Indians’ remaining games are against teams with a .402 winning percentage, 14 of the Rays final 24 games are versus opponents with a below .500 record, and the Athletics have just one series remaining with a playoff bound team.

To put things into perspective, Boston will likely need to win at least 16 or 17 of their remaining games and hope two of the three teams ahead of them go 3-4 games below .500. Given the disparity in strength of schedules, coupled with the Red Sox underachieving pitching staff, it seems likely that Boston is watching the 2019 postseason from home.

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