MLB preview: Red Sox vs. Yankees odds, prediction and picks

Starting pitchers might be worth backing with confidence

Rafael Devers
Chaim Bloom believes the Red Sox are in a good position to re-sign Rafael Devers. Associated Press

The Boston Red Sox will wrap up their road trip with four games in New York against the Yankees. It’ll be the final meeting between the two teams this season as New York leads the season series 9-6.

Boston will hand the ball to Michael Wacha for the series opener, while New York will counter with another right-hander in Jameson Taillon.

Usually, this series this late in September would have a ton of juice with less than two weeks remaining. However, with Boston 18 games out of first place and nine games out of the final wild-card spot, the excitement for the rivalry this time around is unlikely to be at its peak.

Handicapping games is difficult enough, but it can get even trickier when you have two teams on opposite sides in terms of motivation. As a result, it wouldn’t surprise me if we saw a slight drop in enthusiasm from some of the players, thus leading to a lower-scoring contest.

Odds Provided by FanDuel

Red Sox vs. Yankees MLB odds

Moneyline: BOS (+136) vs. NYY (-162)

Spread: BOS +1.5 (-152) vs. NYY -1.5 (+126)

Total: Over 8.5 (-115) | Under 8.5 (-105)

Red Sox vs. Yankees probable pitchers

Michael Wacha (11-1, 2.61 ERA) vs. Jameson Taillon (13-5, 4.04 ERA)

It’s been a while since I took a position in one of Wacha’s starts, so I have to admit that I’m completely stunned that he’s had this good of a season. I still remember when he signed with the Mets a few years ago and posted a 6.62 ERA with a 1.56 WHIP.

Wacha then struggled in 2021 with the Tampa Bay Rays as he went 3-5 with a 5.05 ERA. However, his 4.00 SIERA suggested he could be a candidate for positive regression this upcoming season.

The biggest reason for Wacha’s improvement is that he’s added a sinker to his pitch arsenal. According to Baseball Savant, he’s thrown a sinker 13.2% of the time this season, which is up from 3.3% in 2021.

By featuring more of his sinker, Wacha has more balance within his pitch selection, given that four of his five pitches are thrown at least 10% of the time. That variety unsettles hitters while adding an element of unpredictability to his pitch sequence.

As for Taillon, he’s also had a decent season given his 13-4 mark. Although, he’s benefited from a ton of run support, given his 4.04 ERA. His advanced numbers don’t signal any further regression, as evidenced by his 3.83 xFIP and 4.04 FIP. Thus, I’d like to think we can trust these pitchers to give a good account of themselves on the mound on Thursday.

Although, I am unsure about the hitters—particularly those in the Red Sox dugout. Boston looked listless in Wednesday’s performance against a Reds starting pitcher (Chase Anderson) who spent nearly five months in the minors and entered the game with a 6.43 ERA.

When we think of the Red Sox, we often think of a high-powered offense that scores plenty of runs as they play tag with the Green Monster. However, according to our Action Labs database, the under in Red Sox games is cashing at a 52% clip (73-67-8). And when Boston is a road underdog, the under is 24-17-3 for 5.09 units.

My model projects a total closer to 7.04 runs in this game. I just wonder if the Yankees fans will give their team extra motivation to continue sticking it to the Red Sox, who are in last place in the division.

It would be almost fitting if Yankees slugger Aaron Judge has a big game against their division rival and hits his 61st home run to tie Roger Maris for the club record. If we didn’t have all the pomp and circumstance with Judge and the home run chase, I’d be likelier to make the under an official play.

Red Sox vs. Yankees pick

Lean under 8.5 runs (-105)

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