If the Boston Red Sox were hoping for less pressure heading into the 2017 season, then Las Vegas probably just ruined their day.
OddsShark released the latest Major League Baseball odds Wednesday, and the expectations for the Red Sox have never been higher. Not only is Boston expected to run away with the American League East pretty easily, but the club now is tied with the Chicago Cubs with +450 odds to win the World Series.
The Red Sox have consistently been doing well in Vegas since 2015, when they added third baseman Pablo Sandoval and first baseman Hanley Ramirez in the offseason. That campaign ended in a last-place finish in their division, but the addition of starter David Price improved their odds and got them to the playoffs in 2016.
And with left-hander Chris Sale on their roster for 2017, the sky’s the limit for the Red Sox.
The Cleveland Indians have the next-best World Series odds at +800, but Boston doesn’t have much American League competition behind them, with the Los Angeles Dodgers (+1,000), Washington Nationals (+1,200) and San Francisco Giants (+1,200) coming next on the list. In fact, Boston’s odds to win the AL pennant are set at +225 in front of Cleveland (+350), the Houston Astros (+650), the Toronto Blue Jays (+1,000) and the New York Yankees (+1,200).
Even with the Jays and Yankees showing up on that list, the Red Sox’s odds get better still when you look at the division; they basically can’t lose at -175, according to OddsShark. The sportsbooks also pegged Boston’s win total at 92.5, and the oddsmakers believe the team easily will go over.
So, what does it all mean?
For starters, it’s a testament to just how stacked the Red Sox are going into the season. With some key offseason additions, a relatively healthy roster and a strong young core, Boston managed to climb higher in the odds even after David Ortiz’s retirement and the news that Price likely will start his season on the disabled list. Not many franchises can lose their team leader in doubles (48), home runs (38), RBIs (127), on-base percentage (.401) and slugging percentage (.620) and somehow turn in better odds than the season before.
But it also doesn’t mean that much in the long run.
It’s hard to imagine the Red Sox not being competitive in 2017, but baseball also is nearly impossible to predict to a degree. While you wouldn’t expect a team like the San Diego Padres to come out of nowhere and win it all, there always are teams that do much better or worse than predicted. That 2015 season is a great example, as the Red Sox wound up missing the playoffs, and the Kansas City Royals defied expectations for the second season in a row and won the World Series.
At the end of the day, though, we don’t think Red Sox fans are setting themselves up for disappointment by having faith in this season’s squad.
Thumbnail photo via Ricardo Rolon/The News-Press via USA TODAY NETWORK