Should Red Sox Backers be Getting Excited?

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On the 9th October 2017, the Boston Red Sox line up trooped off the field at Fenway Park having been beaten 5-4 by the Houston Astros. The victory clinched a 3-1 ALDS for Houston, and it would set them on the path to their World Series victory. For Red Sox fans, there was an acknowledgement that they had been beaten by a better team. Indeed, Houston had an historically good offense, matched up with some stellar pitching. They were worthy winners.

However, some keen observers of the Red Sox would point out that they were did well to hang with Houston in the series, because everything went wrong for Boston last year. Injuries to key players – David Price, Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts – came at the business end of the season. In addition, there were the struggles for no apparent reason of Rick Porcello, who was the reigning CY Young award winner at the time.

Lack of power bats and leaders cost Boston when it counted last season

Sure, some of Boston’s issues were of their own making. A lack of power in the line up and a lack of true leaders given Dustin Pedroia’s health issues. Both things would have been solved if David Ortiz had not hung up his bat a year previously. They also fielded a line-up of very young and inexperienced players, including Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers.

The question is though, what if some of those issues were resolved? Could Boston come closer to a team like Houston or the Dodgers? The early evidence seems to say – yes. After four games of the new MLB season, Boston looks a lot better than last season. Baseball can, of course, change overnight, but they look like they will go neck and neck with the much-fancied Yankees in the AL East.

Boston’s ace pitchers look in perfect condition

The biggest plus side for the Red Sox is that their three bona fide ace pitchers – David Price, Rick Porcello and Chris Sale – all look locked in, going a combined 18 scoreless innings in their first games of the season. If those three stay healthy and in the same frame of mind, you would stand them up against any starting rotation in baseball. The power issue has been addressed by the acquisition of J.D Martinez. You would also expect Sox new coach Alex Cora, who should take some credit for the Astros super offense as their bench coach, to get better production from the players.

14/1 is a huge price for a team that has definitely improved

The point of all this is to say the Red Sox are still a bargain price of 14/1 to win the World Series. More than double the odds of the Dodgers, Yankees and Astros (6/1). For a team that, in spite of the issues mentioned above, still made the ALDS two years running, it seems very good value. Incidentally, those odds are provided by William Hill and you can compare the odds with other sportsbooks and find free bets for baseball with the Best Sportsbooks in Canada.

It, of course, does not mean the Red Sox should be favourite for the Fall Classic. But, they should arguably be closer in the odds to the Cubs (9/1), Nationals (10/1) or even the Indians (8/1). The young team has another year of experience under their belt, the pitching looks terrific and the players look reinvigorated under Cora. If things keep going the way they are, those odds of 14/1 will drop dramatically. As it stands, the Red Sox look like the value bet for the World Series.  

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