Baseball season is here, as Spring Training games are officially underway and Opening Day is just about a month out.
The Red Sox roster appears to be set following the trade of Mookie Betts and David Price, so let’s take a look at what oddsmakers are predicting for the 2020 MLB season and where the Red Sox stand in all of it.
AL East: +900
Let’s start in the division. After winning three consecutive AL East titles from 2016-2018, the Red Sox slumped to a disappointing third-place finish in 2019 behind the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays.
Oddsmakers believe that will be the case again this season.
The Yankees are the prohibitive favorite to capture a second straight division crown, with their odds at -500 on both Draft Kings and Bovada. The Rays, meanwhile, are in the +500 to +600 range on most sites.
That leaves the Red Sox with the third best odds to win the AL East at +900 on Draft Kings and +800 on Bovada. It’s important to note that the Red Sox did open at +525, but the odds jumped up after the Betts and Price trade.
Rounding out the division are the Toronto Blue Jays (+3300) and Baltimore Orioles (+50000).
While winning the division is a long shot in oddsmakers’ eyes, making the playoffs is a more realistic scenario for the Red Sox. At +225 on Draft Kings, the Sox have the ninth best chance in the American League to reach the postseason.
The Yankees (-2500), Houston Astros (-385), Minnesota Twins (-210), Rays (+105), and Oakland A’s (+135) are the five clubs favored to make the playoffs, which would be the exact same postseason group as last season.
The Cleveland Indians (+163) are pegged as the first team to miss October, just like last season, while the Chicago White Sox (+180) and Los Angeles Angels (+180) follow them. The Red Sox, who had the seventh best record in the AL in 2019, are next at +225, meaning oddsmakers believe both the White Sox and Angels have a good chance to leap over Boston this season.
Los Angeles signed superstar third baseman Anthony Rendon to join Mike Trout in the middle of their lineup, while Chicago has a collection of young talent ready to break out.
The Texas Rangers (+550) and Blue Jays (+650) have the next best odds after the Red Sox to make the playoffs.
American League: +1100
Draft Kings lists the Red Sox with the ninth best chance to reach the postseason, however they are tied for fifth with the Cleveland Indians at +1100 to win the American League. The Red Sox have better odds to win the pennant than the A’s (+1300), White Sox (+1600), and Angels (+2000).
The team’s higher probability to win the AL over making the playoffs is a testament to the arduous American League East. The Red Sox will play the Yankees and Rays a combined 36 times during the regular season.
World Series: +2500
This long shot scenario has the Red Sox with the 11th best odds on Draft Kings and 16th best (+3000) on Bovada to win the World Series. Both sites have the Red Sox in a group with teams like the Indians, White Sox, Chicago Cubs, and Cincinnati Reds, while the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, and St. Louis Cardinals are slightly ahead.
The Yankees (+350) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (+400) are the odds-on favorites to reach the Fall Classic.
When the Red Sox surprisingly won the World Series in 2013, they opened the season at +7500 odds to win it all.
Win Total: 85.5
Those are all the scenarios with this team in terms of the division, postseason, and World Series, so now let’s look at the win total. DraftKings sets the mark at 85.5 wins. That win total would be a slight improvement from the 84-78 season they compiled in 2019.
If the Red Sox finish right around that mark, at either 85-77 or 86-76, history says that likely wouldn’t be enough to get them into the postseason. Only two American League teams over the last five years, the 2015 Houston Astros (86-76) and the 2017 Minnesota Twins (85-77), have the reached the playoffs with win totals of 85 or 86.
The 85.5 wins is tied with the Indians for the sixth highest total in the American League. The Yankees, Astros, Twins, Rays, and A’s are all predicted to finish with more wins than the Red Sox, which would leave them out of the postseason for the second year in a row.