Just over 30 minutes after the Boston Red Sox dispatched the New York Yankees in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game, one Las Vegas sportsbook was ready to turn the page and take bets on the next round.
The Westgate SuperBook was first to post a series price for the Red Sox against the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Division Series. You knew Tampa Bay would be favored due to regular-season performance and home-field advantage, but just how big of a favorite?
At 12:01 am ET on Wednesday morning, the SuperBook opened Rays -200 / Red Sox +175.
That -200 price implied a 67% chance of probability that Tampa Bay would win the best-of-five series, which was high or low depending on who you asked. I spoke to a pair of professional bettors — one said he would take Boston anything north of +150, the other said he would lay Tampa up to -225.
So -200 / +175 was a solid open.
“When we do those series prices, we try to take the game lines to equate it out,” SuperBook senior baseball trader Randy Blum told NESN. “After you get that price, you take a look at your futures positions and make the necessary adjustments. We have a lot of room on Boston for the World Series and the pennant, so if we took a couple bets on Red Sox series price, it’s fine.
“As far as this particular number (Rays -200), Chris Sale probably pitches in Game 1 or 2 and it will be in Tampa. And there’s a chance Nate Eovaldi only starts one game in the series. If he was going to start twice, the math would equate out much differently. We pretty much think Tampa is going to be favored in every game.”
Early monetary support in the market showed for Boston, knocking the price down to Tampa Bay -180 almost everywhere. That’s to be expected after the Red Sox mashed a couple homers and held the potent Yankees offense to two runs on national television. Maybe all those bettors that went down swinging on New York are jumping on the Sox bandwagon.
The Rays will still be a much tougher test.
“Boston can win the series if its bullpen pitches well,” Blum opined. “That’s obviously the weakness of the team and I don’t think anybody would dispute that. They have a pretty good 1-2 punch with Sale and Eovaldi at the top. Offensively, they don’t have many problems. We’ll be monitoring the J.D. Martinez situation, but scoring runs won’t be a problem. If the Sox bullpen can pitch well, they’ve got a chance to advance.”
Red Sox pennant odds
+320 BetMGM ($100 wins $320)
+350 DraftKings, WynnBET
+405 Circa Sports
+450 PointsBet, SuperBook
+475 SugarHouse ($100 wins $475)
Red Sox World Series odds
+800 BetMGM, DraftKings, WynnBET ($100 wins $800)
+850 Caesars, FanDuel, PointsBet
+900 Circa Sports
+1200 SuperBook ($100 wins $1,200)