Expectations were high for the Boston Red Sox coming into the 2019 MLB Season. With the roster mostly intact from last season’s World Series Championship team, there was no reason to think they couldn’t win it all this season as well.
Most oddsmakers agreed and had them installed as one of the favorites, if not the favorite, when the 2019 season began back in late March. At Bovada.lv, the Red Sox opened at +700, the same as the Houston Astros and just a little better than the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees (+800).
But then the season got off to a horrible start. They were 2-8 after their first ten games and just 7-13 after 20. They had one of the better pitching staffs in baseball last season with a 3.75 ERA (8th), but this season, after 35 games their ERA is almost a point higher (4.66; 20th).
They are not doing any better on the offensive end. Last year’s team finished with the highest batting average in baseball (.268) and the most runs scored (876). So far, this season, they are hitting .252 (12th) and have scored 175 runs (6th).
As a result of their early season struggles, their World Series odds have taken a dive. They have gone from leading the pack down at +700 to something a little less special, +1500. It is still a lot better than most, but they are no longer viewed as one of the primary contenders—which is why you should take the Red Sox to win the World Series right now.
Boston has definitely struggled which is something that is not unusual for a defending champion in any sport to do. But one of the great things about baseball is that the number of games gives teams a chance to work their way out of a slump.
So, if you struggle for the first 20, 25, or 35 games—that’s okay. That is, as long as you work our way out of it, and it looks like the Red Sox may be doing just that.
Heading into Monday’s night game against the Orioles, the Red Sox are riding a three-game winning streak and have won seven of their last ten. From April 12-May 4, Boston’s starting pitchers are 7-6 with an ERA of 3.09 (the best in the AL over the previous 21 games).
Their entire starting rotation struggled early on; some still are. But with the guys they have, it is probably safe to assume they will work out of it. Chris Sale and Rick Porcello are better than their 5.0+ ERAs would indicate.
Of course, if you wait until it is clear they have worked their way out of the weeds, the odds will be much shorter than they currently are– +1500.
Last season, the Dodgers started the season with similar odds (+640), but then struggled and saw them rise as high as +1615 (June 1). They didn’t end up winning, but they still made the World Series and had a shot.
Maybe the Red Sox will, too.