The Boston Red Sox will be looking to erase the memory of last year’s premature exit from the postseason when they take the field in Tampa Bay on Thursday to open the 2018 campaign against the Rays as -165 favorites on the MLB odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Boston meekly exited the playoffs in the American League Division Series for a second straight year in 2017, falling to the Houston Astros in four games, but closely trail the favorites at +1200 on the 2018 World Series odds going into Thursday afternoon’s Red Sox vs. Rays betting matchup at Tropicana Field.
However, the Red Sox open their schedule with some injury concerns, particularly among their pitching staff. Left-hander Drew Pomeranz remains sidelined with a flexor strain, while Eduardo Rodriguez and knuckleballer Steven Wright both are expected to be out until later in April after undergoing offseason knee surgeries.
The Red Sox also received a scare last week when ace Chris Sale was struck by a line drive off the bat of J.D. Davis in a Grapefruit League clash with the Astros. However, the reigning AL strikeout leader avoided serious injury and opens the campaign as a +235 favorite on the AL Cy Young Award odds and sports +5000 odds to emerge as this year’s AL MVP.
In addition, David Price is coming off a solid spring training performance after being hampered by injuries a year ago, and looks towards his first start of the season Friday pegged as a +2000 bet on the AL Cy Young odds.
Winners of 93 games last season, the two-time defending AL East champions are expected to produce similar numbers this year, with strong -165 odds of posting OVER 91.5 wins this season. However, the Red Sox lag on the AL East championship odds at +130, trailing the beefed-up New York Yankees, who sit perched as -140 favorites to claim their first divisional title since 2012.
While Sale gets the call for the Red Sox on Thursday, the Rays are expected to send Chris Archer to the hill for their home opener. Sale is a perfect 3-0 in three previous Opening Day starts, and went 4-1 in six appearances against the Rays in 2017, including a 1-1 record in Tampa Bay.
Archer makes his fourth straight Opening Day appearance for the Rays, who are a meagre 2-8 in their last 10 meetings with Boston. Tampa Bay also opens the season as a heavy -250 bet on the MLB season props to win UNDER 77.5 games and sits at a distant +20000 on the World Series championship odds.
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