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Red Sox Updated Win Total Set at 90.5: Analyzing Boston’s New Over/Under at the All-Star Break

David Price pitching for the Boston Red Sox
David Price and the Red Sox got off to a slow start but are playing well heading into the All-Star break. Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC License]
  • The Boston Red Sox (49-41) are 3rd in the American League East at the All-Star break
  • They have blown 18 of their 36 save opportunities (50%) which is tied for last in the league
  • The Red Sox remaining schedule leads you to believe they could make a charge in the 2nd half

The All-Star break is the perfect time to breathe and take a few days to survey the landscape in Major League Baseball.  After going through all the numbers there’s a bet that I absolutely love when looking at the American League East win totals.

2019 AL East Win Totals & Odds

Team Win Total Odds at BetOnline
New York Yankees 99.5 O -110 / U -110
Boston Red Sox 90.5 O -110 / U -110
Tampa Bay Rays 89.5 O -110 / U -110
Toronto Blue Jays 66.5 O -110 / U -110
Baltimore Orioles 54.5 O -110 / U -110

*odds taken 7/9

When looking at SBD’s updated 2019 Win Totals Tracker, the Boston Red Sox over stands out to me for three very obvious reasons.

Run Differential Suggests Wins Are Coming

Boston has scored 58 more runs than they’ve allowed this year.  That ranks 6th in the American League and should get even higher if the team can improve their bullpen woes (more on that in a minute).  As a point of comparison, the Atlanta Braves are +59 this season and they sit 17 games over .500 and hold a 6-game lead in the NL East.

Now you can’t directly compare teams, especially when they play in different leagues, but a +58 margin suggests that the win total should be closer to Atlanta’s 54 than Boston’s 49.

Bullpen Has Been Boston’s Achilles Heel

The Red Sox bullpen hasn’t been bad, it’s been shockingly awful. They have as many blown saves as they have converted =this season.  Let that sink in for a minute.  In 36 opportunities they’ve only closed 18 games.  The 50% mark is tied for dead last in the league and well behind any other true playoff contender.

The Red Sox lost Craig Kimbrel off their World Series-winning roster from last year but many of the other arms returned.  The issue is they all moved into higher-leverage situations and it hasn’t resulted in success.

President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski has a big enough sample size now to know he has to address this issue.  As teams fall from the playoff race, maybe even in their own division, arms should become available and Boston should be ready to pounce.

Remaining Schedule Shapes Up Well For Boston

It’s easy to think that, in a division with the Yankees and Rays, Boston has a lot of tough matchups left.  Some deeper digging however and you notice just how friendly this schedule is going forward.  Boston plays the Orioles, Blue Jays and Royals a combined 19 times over the final 72 games, good for 26% of their remaining schedule.

Those three teams are a combined 89 games under .500 and should provide ample opportunity for wins and rest for the weary bullpen arms.

Fangraphs projects the Red Sox to win 91 games and, while that would be enough to hit the over, I think they may go even higher with this many cupcake games in the 2nd half.

PICK: Boston Red Sox Over 90.5 wins (-110)

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