Red Sox looking like odds team out

What a difference a week makes. Last week, the Westgate in Las Vegas had lowered the then red-hot Boston Red Sox to 20/1 to win the World Series. After an eight-game losing streak, including a four-game sweep by the Yankees, the Sox are virtually out of the discussion at 60/1.

It was a disastrous finish to Boston's 14-game gauntlet vs. the Rays and Yankees. A 5-2 first week was followed by an 0-7 disaster. 

Here are the new American League wildcard standings (top two qualify):

Cleveland 66-45

Tampa Bay 65-48

Oakland 64-48

Boston 59-55 (6.5 games out of a playoff spot)

That 60/1 means a 1.6% win probability (1 divided by 61 is .016). But sportsbooks build a universe larger than 100% to create a house edge. The Red Sox basically have a 1-in-a-hundred chance of winning the World Series after collapsing through the second half of a two-week Rays/Yankees gauntlet. 

Among the reasons…

  • Boston will have trouble chasing down a wild-card spot from slightly above the .500 mark unless at least two teams from the Cleveland, Oakland, and Tampa Bay trio fall apart. And, all three of those teams have more games against bad teams left on the schedule than the Sox. 
  • Boston re-established that it can’t consistently beat winning teams. Even if the Sox reach the postseason, how are they going to string together wins against the likes of New York or Houston? Could you even be confident they’d win the wildcard play-in game?
  • Boston ace Chris Sale re-established that he’s having trouble keeping these new aerodynamically friendly baseballs in the park. Sale has now allowed 22 home runs in 23 starts, and nine in his last six starts. If that doesn’t change, the Sox rotation doesn’t have many auto-wins left on the slate.
  • Boston didn’t bring in any impact talent before the trade deadline. Houston acquired Zack Greinke. Boston would have been a playoff series underdog in a hypothetical matchup with Houston even before that development. The Astros’ improvement is part of why the Sox became a longer shot. 

That Greinke blockbuster also influenced the Yankees’ odds. New York dropped back to 6/1 at the Westgate after being virtual co-favorites with Houston for several weeks. 

Here are the latest Westgate odds to win the World Series for top contenders: Houston 2/1, Los Angeles Dodgers 5/2, New York Yankees 6/1, Atlanta 9/1, Chicago Cubs 14/1, Minnesota 16/1, Cleveland 20/1, St. Louis 20/1, Tampa Bay 25/1.

If you’re new to betting odds, a $100 bet on Houston would win $200 (the sports book would return your $100 stake, then pay you a profit of $200). Payoffs apply to anything in that ratio…a $10 bet would win $20, a $500 bet would win $1K, and so on. 

A $100 bet on Boston would win $6K. Any takers?

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