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The Red Sox’ 2023 season officially opens on Thursday when they host the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park.
While the start of baseball season almost always brings hope and optimism, outsiders don’t have much of that for the Red Sox in 2023. Many experts predict the Red Sox to finish either toward or at the bottom of the AL East following a last-place finish in 2022.
Oddsmakers feel similarly. Here’s what oddsmakers are setting the lines at for the Red Sox for the 2023 season.
World Series odds: +6000 (via DraftKings Sportsbook)
The Red Sox are tied for 18th in odds to win the World Series, with the Orioles being the only team in the AL East with worse odds to win the title.
Boston’s +6000 odds to win the World Series are its lowest preseason odds to win it all since at least 1985, according to SportsOddHistory.
The pessimism oddsmakers share about the Red Sox is certainly understandable. Following a last-place finish in 2022, the Red Sox let Xander Bogaerts walk in free agency and never really replaced him, leaving a hole in the middle of the lineup.
AL pennant odds: +2800 (via DraftKings Sportsbook)
As you likely figured after looking at the World Series odds, Boston’s odds to win the American League are a longshot. DraftKings gives the Red Sox the 11th-best odds to win the American League with the Orioles, Tigers, Royals, and Athletics only having longer odds to win the pennant.
The Red Sox had similar odds to win the American League a couple years ago with oddsmakers listing them at +2200 to win the pennant in 2021, per SportsOddHistory. Boston finished two games short of accomplishing that.
It’s also the longest odds the Red Sox have had to win the American League since 1967, when they surprisingly won the pennant after having +10000 preseason odds to do so, according to SportsOddHistory.
AL East title odds: +1500 (via DraftKings Sportsbook)
In the eyes of many, the AL East is expected to be the toughest division in baseball in 2023. The division had three representatives in the playoffs last season, so it’s understandable why the Red Sox have such long odds to win the division even if they still have the fourth-best odds.
The Yankees, who won the division last season, have the best odds to win the AL East at +125 while the Blue Jays aren’t too far behind them at +205.
Win total: 78.5 wins (via DraftKings Sportsbook)
After a 78-win season in 2022 oddsmakers are expecting the Red Sox to stay in the same spot in 2023.
Even though the Red Sox lost Bogaerts, it could be viewed that his departure is offset by the additions made to the bullpen (which included Kenley Jansen and Chris Martin) that was one of the worst in the league last season along with possibly improved health (they lead the league with $61.7 million in salary spent on players who missed time on the IL, per The Athletic).
Still, it’s a win total that projects the Red Sox to finish below .500 and is the lowest win total oddsmakers have placed on them entering a season since 1997, per SportsOddHistory. Oddsmakers had their win total at 78 that year, and they won exactly that many games that season.
Odds to make the playoffs: Yes +270, No -330 (via DraftKings Sportsbook)
If you’re looking for a positive stat, the Red Sox have made the postseason in three of the last four seasons after they’d finished in last place the year before.
Other than prior history, another thing that could benefit the Red Sox’ postseason chances in 2023 is the balanced schedule. Instead of having six series’ against each AL East opponent, the Red Sox will have just four series’ against each divisional rival as every team will play at least one series against each other for the first time in 2023. Boston was a dreadful 26-50 in divisional games last season, which was the second-worst mark in baseball last season.
Rafael Devers: 31.5 home runs, 102.5 RBIs, 165.5 hits, +3500 to lead MLB in home runs, +1400 to lead MLB in RBIs, +1700 to lead MLB in hits, +2200 to lead MLB in runs, +2000 to win AL MVP (via DraftKings Sportsbook)
The Red Sox All-Star slugger is projected to have another big year by oddsmakers, but even those totals might be modest for Devers if he’s healthy.
In 2022, Devers had 164 hits, 27 home runs, and 88 RBIs in 141 games. He missed a bit of time though later in the season due to a hamstring injury and appeared to play through some ailments.
Devers put up some pretty big numbers in the two 162-game seasons prior to 2022. In 2019, he had 201 hits, 32 home runs, and 115 RBIs in 156 games. He had 165 hits, 38 home runs, and 113 RBIs in 156 games during the 2021 season.
Some analytical models are a bit higher on Devers’s upcoming season than oddsmakers. Steamer, for instance, has Devers recording 168 hits, 32 home runs, and 96 RBIs.
Devers would likely have to play at a level he hasn’t played at before though in order to be a league leader in any of the major stats. He’s had some top 10 finishes in the past in runs, RBIs, and hits, but has never led the American League or all of baseball in any of the aforementioned stats. He’s also never finished higher than 11th in MVP voting.
Adalberto Mondesi: +700 to lead MLB in stolen bases (via DraftKings Sportsbook)
The Red Sox shortstop is tied for the second-best odds to lead the league in stolen bases, something he’s done to make a name for himself with the Royals. He had a league-best 24 stolen bases in 2020 and stole 43 bases in 2019 after stealing 32 bases in 2018.
The big issue with Mondesi’s odds is that he’s expected to open the season on the injured list as he continues to recover from his torn ACL from last season. So, it’ll be tough to lead the league in anything if you aren’t going to play in as many games as some of your counterparts.
Chris Sale: +7000 to lead MLB in strikeouts (via DraftKings Sportsbook)
Sale is a longshot to be the strikeout king in 2023. The good news for anyone that wants to bet on Sale to take this honor is that he’s healthy to open a season for the first time since 2019. Of course, the bad thing is that he’s only made 11 regular-season starts over the previous three seasons.
When healthy, there might not be many starting pitchers who strike out hitters better than Sale. He’s led the AL in strikeouts twice in his career.
Brayan Bello: +7000 to win the AL Cy Young (via DraftKings Sportsbook)
Bello had a promising 2022 season in the limited action he saw and looked like he could be the Red Sox’ ace of the future. He went 2-4 with a 2.59 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings pitched over six starts in the final month of the season.
But predicting him to win the Cy Young would be lofty. The 23-year-old would be the youngest pitcher to win the award since Clayton Kershaw in 2011. Bello has also worked his way back from a forearm injury for much of spring training and will miss at least one start through the rotation to open the season.
Masataka Yoshida: +500 to win AL Rookie of the Year (via DraftKings Sportsbook)
Triston Casas: +800 to win AL Rookie of the Year (via DraftKings Sportsbook)
The Red Sox have two of the four players who have the best odds to win the award for the league’s best rookie in 2023.
Yoshida, who has the second-best odds to win the award, is a bit of an unknown, but the outfielder could be the safest bet to win the award because of his experience in Japan and at the World Baseball Classic. Yoshida hit .409 with two homers and a tournament-best 13 RBIs to help Japan win the title.
Casas, who has the fourth-best odds to win the award, showed some promise after getting called up in the final month of the 2022 season. While he only had a .197 batting average, he had a .766 OPS with five homers and 12 RBIs in 76 at-bats over 27 games.
Casas has had an even better spring training, hitting .346 with a 1.012 OPS to go along with three home runs and nine RBIs in 52 at-bats over 18 games during the exhibition season.
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