Minnesota, MLB’s Hottest Team, Opens Homestand Against Red Sox

Sox vs Twins Preview: Minnesota -195 Favorites to Win Series

The Minnesota Twins are white hot, winners of 10 straight games. They open a seven-game homestand Friday (8:10 p.m. ET) against the Boston Red Sox at Target Field.

Boston is -1.5 (+150) on the run line and -112 on the moneyline for Friday’s opener, while Minnesota is +1.5 (-180) on the spread and -108 to win outright. The projected total is 8.0, with a slight edge to the Over at -115 odds. The Twins are -195 favorites to win the series, compared to +160 for the Red Sox.

What can bettors expect? Read on as we break down the teams and analyze the odds in our Sox vs Twins preview.

Twins logo Minnesota Twins vs Boston Red Sox Red Sox logo

Day/Time:
Location: Target Field

Red Sox vs Twins Betting Trends

The Boston Red Sox are 17-15 against the run line, including 5-5 over their last 10 games. Most of their games have trended toward the Under, as the Red Sox are 13-16-3 against the Over/Under. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Twins are 14-16 ATS, but 7-3 over their last 10 games. As for the Over/Under, the Twins are 15-14-1.

That’s important to remember when assessing the odds in our Sox vs Twins preview.

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Red Sox Overcoming Injury Bug

The Red Sox have been ravaged by injuries, particularly in their rotation. Lucas Giolito, Nick Pivetta and Brayan Bello are all currently on the MLB injured list, forcing new general manager Craig Breslow in the uncomfortable spot of having to patch together innings.

To this point, however, it hasn’t been an issue. Statistically, Boston’s rotation has been baseball’s best. The Red Sox have posted a 2.58 ERA while allowing no earned runs in 13 of their 32 starts.

That’s enabled Boston to get off to a surprising 18-14 start. Thursday’s 3-1 loss to San Francisco snapped a four-game winning streak. American League East rivals Baltimore (20-11) and New York (20-13) have been slightly better, but the early returns are encouraging given the expectations. Boston, keep in mind, was projected for an AL East-worst 77.5 wins.

The Red Sox remain a bit of a longshot in the minds of the oddsmakers — +2500 to win the AL, +5500 to win the World Series — but their makeshift rotation has provided plenty of optimism. Kutter Crawford, Tanner Houck and Cooper Criswell all look like mainstays.

Boston’s lineup has also dealt with injuries. Star third baseman Rafael Devers has been limited to 21 games because of a bone bruise in his left knee and shoulder soreness. Outfielder Tyler O’Neill — who is second in MLB with nine home runs — recently returned from the 7-day concussion IL.

The Red Sox rank 10th among MLB teams in runs scored (150) and eighth in home runs (36). Both totals should improve as they get healthier.

Twins Raging Hot

The Twins are baseball’s hottest team, winners of 10 straight following a second consecutive sweep of the White Sox. They are now 17-13, nestled in a four-team logjam atop the AL Central.

Minnesota’s recent play is more on par with expectations, which had the Twins as -144 favorites to win the division. The Twins were also projected for 86.5 wins.

Like Boston, Minnesota has been hit hard by injuries. Star closer Jhoan Duran missed the first month with a strained right oblique. Shortstop Carlos Correa spent time on the IL alongside him with a rib cage strain, while oft-injured outfielder Byron Buxton departed Wednesday’s 10-5 win over Chicago with knee soreness. Buxton, who has played more than 92 games just once in his 10-year career, will undergo an MRI to determine the extent of his injury.

Regardless, the Twins have shown a lot of resilience. They are averaging 8.4 runs during their current win streak, outscoring opponents 76-36. That’s improved their season run differential to plus-15.

Oddsmakers are still a bit skeptical of the Twins, pricing them +900 to win the AL and +2000 to win the World Series. Despite that, they carry a lot of potential because of their pitching. Pablo Lopez and Joe Ryan — Saturday and Sunday’s scheduled starters, respectively — are legitimate Cy Young contenders.

Per MLB scores and standings, Minnesota ranked sixth in MLB in ERA (3.87) and first in both quality starts (76) and strikeouts (1,560) last season. Despite a few early hiccups, the Twins will likely be among the leaders in these categories again this year.

Series Probables

Game 1

Friday, 8:10 p.m. ET

Tanner Houck vs Chris Paddack

Houck was one of baseball’s best pitchers in April, recording a 1.60 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in six starts. He also struck out 41 in 39.1 innings, displaying the swing-and-miss stuff needed to be a top-of-the-rotation arm. The right-hander was dominant in his last start against the Cubs (6.2 innings, 1 run, 9K), but had to settle for a no-decision in a 5-4 victory on Sunday. The Red Sox are 4-2 in his starts.

The Twins will counter with Paddack, who has a 5.88 ERA in five starts. The 28-year-old right-hander made only three relief appearances last season after returning from a second Tommy John surgery. He has displayed good command, but home runs (five allowed in 26 innings) have been an issue.

Game 2

Saturday, 2:10 p.m. ET

TBD vs Pablo Lopez

Lopez ranks among the Cy Young favorites in the AL (+1200), and with good reason. Although his ERA (4.83) through six starts is a tad high, Lopez is one of the elite strikeout pitchers. He has 37 strikeouts in 31.2 innings after punching out a career-high 234 batters last year.

The Red Sox have yet to name a starter opposite him. Given the injuries in their rotation, they have had to do a lot of mixing and matching to fill innings. Be sure to keep an eye on this, as it may affect the odds in our Sox vs Twins preview.

Game 3

Sunday, 2:10 p.m. ET

Cooper Criswell vs Joe Ryan

Criswell, newly added to the rotation because of injuries, has impressed. The 6-foot-6 right-hander owns a 1.65 ERA in four appearances, covering 16.1 innings. He’s been unscored upon in his last two starts, including a 4-0 victory over San Francisco on Tuesday. Criswell threw five shutout innings, allowing only two hits while striking out four.

He will face Ryan, who has a 3.38 ERA and 1.04 WHIP over his first 34.2 innings. Ryan also has 41 strikeouts compared to only five walks. He is right behind Lopez on the AL Cy Young board at +1500.

For MLB predictions, betting analysis and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.


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