After going from worst to first to claim their second American League East title in four years, the Boston Red Sox are the +500 second-favorites behind the Chicago Cubs on the odds to win the 2016 World Series at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Boston finished four games ahead of Toronto and Baltimore in the AL East standings, but after dropping five of its final six regular-season contests, the team must to travel to Cleveland to face the Indians in Game 1 of their ALDS on Thursday night at Progressive Field.
The Red Sox rocketed atop the AL East after opening September on a torrid 18-5 run, including an 11-game win streak. That spurred their rise on the World Series odds, where they sit behind the +240 Cubs and just ahead of the +575 Texas Rangers.
However, Boston has cooled since clinching the division last week, losing three consecutive games on the road to the New York Yankees, before dropping its final two regular-season games to the Blue Jays over the weekend.
After leading the majors this season with 22 wins, Cy Young Award candidate Rick Porcello is expected to get the call for the Red Sox in Game 1 on Thursday. Porcello earned the decision in Boston’s 5-2 home victory over the Indians on May 22, contributing to the team’s current three-game win streak over Cleveland.
The Red Sox took four of six games from the Indians this year but have struggled in recent visits to Cleveland, going 2-7 in their past nine games there.
The Indians are tough to beat at home, winning 21 of their past 28 to end the regular season alongside the Rangers with an AL-best 53-28 home record. Cleveland’s impressive home performance also helped it edge Boston by one game in the race for home-field advantage in their series.
But the Indians are in the middle of the pack as a +900 wager to win their first World Series since 1948 at online betting sites. Cleveland also was on the wrong end of several blowout losses in the past month, allowing more than six runs in five of its past eight defeats and forcing the run total over in six of those outings.
After finishing the season with a 12-8 record, right-hander Trevor Bauer will start Game 1 for the Indians. Bauer has only one victory in his past four starts, and he was tagged with the loss in Boston’s 9-1 win over Cleveland back on May 21. However, he owns a 4-1 record over his past seven home starts.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images