MLB Betting Preview: Red Sox vs Orioles Series Odds

Red Sox Must Win Consistently Rest of Way, Orioles Hoping for Wild Card

Very few people expected the Boston Red Sox to be in last place in the MLB AL East in the middle of August but, despite having playoff hopes, Boston is in the cellar behind the extremely surprising Baltimore Orioles. Both Boston and Baltimore are trying to scratch and claw their way into one of the American League’s Wild Card spots. So, this weekend’s series at Camden Yards is an enormous one as the Orioles are 2.5 games out of playoff position and the Red Sox are 2.5 games behind Baltimore. Interestingly, the Red Sox vs Orioles series odds slightly favor the road team.

In terms of MLB over-under stats, the Red Sox are severely underperforming their preseason projections while the Orioles are significantly outperforming them. Boston just hasn’t been able to recover from a tough start, particularly in terms of pitching.

Chris Sale’s season-ending wrist injury {he threw just 5.2 innings this year} hasn’t helped things. The Orioles have been getting by with a little bit of everything and, even though they traded cornerstone Trey Mancini at the deadline, the breakout performance of top prospect Adley Rutschman has helped rejuvenate a pretty balanced lineup.

Red Sox-Orioles Game 1 Information

Big Wild Card Implications

As mentioned above, both the Red Sox and Orioles are within striking distance of the postseason picture but they can’t afford significant setbacks. Of course, Baltimore has a bit more of a cushion than Boston. Still, with such a tight race for the last few Wild Card slots, each game is critical.

Neither side is tossing out a particularly fearsome group of starting pitchers this series as the Red Sox will turn to Kutter Crawford, Michael Wacha, and Nick Pivetta while the Orioles have Jordan Lyles, Kyle Bradish, and Dean Kremer scheduled to go. Wacha and Kremer have been the best of the bunch so, based on matchups alone, the series opener between Crawford and Lyles could be the critical game.

The Red Sox vs Orioles series odds might swing on Friday’s game as Crawford has been effective but has only been starting for just over a month. Crawford has fared well overall, yet he’s limited to six innings (or less) and Boston’s bullpen is rough. Other than a few bad starts in Tampa against the Rays, Lyles has been solid as Baltimore has pushed its way into contention. It’s close to a toss-up.

Boston’s Starters Have Been Pitching Well

With that said, the Red Sox have done a good job on the mound over the past week or so. Boston has won five of seven, including a series victory against the New York Yankees, and the Red Sox have allowed three runs or fewer in six of their last seven games.

Plus, the pitcher who took the brunt of the damage in Boston’s ugly 8-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday (Josh Winckowski) isn’t scheduled to pitch this series. Crawford, Wacha, and Pivetta are all coming off really good starts in their last time on the mound.

The bullpen is a different story, generally speaking, despite some recent success. A major reason why MLB point spreads don’t like the Red Sox is that, outside of Garrett Whitlock, John Schreiber, and Hirokazu Sawamura, Boston doesn’t have many reliable (and healthy) bullpen pieces.

The same can be said for Boston’s lineup, which relies heavily on Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, and J.D. Martinez. Also, Trevor Story is on the injured list, further exacerbating the Red Sox offensive woes.

Orioles’ Bats Run Hot and Cold

The Orioles haven’t been playing their best baseball over the past two weeks or so, going 5-6. They have gone 4-1 against the Toronto Blue Jays during that span, one of the teams they’re chasing in the Wild Card race, but, overall, Baltimore’s offense has taken a little bit of a dive. The Orioles have scored three runs or fewer in each of those six losses.

That might be a momentary blip in what has been an average-to-below-average offensive campaign for Baltimore, in terms of the Orioles’ ranks in the AL, or it could be a sign that their balanced lineup is missing much-needed star power.

The Orioles could use player Anthony Santander to break out of a mini-slump as he’s a crucial middle-of-the-order power bat (he leads Baltimore with 20 home runs) that is 1-for-his-last-21 and only has one dinger in August. If Baltimore is going to prove the Red Sox vs Orioles series odds wrong, then the Orioles will probably need Santander to come through.

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