Check out more of Jacob's baseball betting coverage over at Vegas Watch.
Boston Red Sox (+105) vs. Los Angeles Angels (-115)
The Angels are only slight favorites in Game 1—they’ll be around -114—which is very telling. The Red Sox will almost certainly have a larger advantage in both Game 3 and Game 4 than Los Angeles has in either of the first two games. Even if it’s Wakefield instead of Beckett in game three—and it will probably be Beckett—the Red Sox should be favored by a significant margin at home against Joe Saunders. Despite his 17-7 record and 3.41 ERA, Saunders is no more than an average pitcher, with a strikeout rate of just 4.6 K/9. Against a Red Sox lineup which, even without Ramirez, Lowell, and Drew, is more potent than the Angels’, that presents a problem for LA.
It doesn’t get much better in the fourth game, as the extra off day allows for both teams to bring back their No. 1 starter on full rest. That means Lackey v. Lester again, except this time in Boston, where the Red Sox will likely be about a -140 favorite. The series would then, if necessary, head back to LA, where the Angels will again have the advantage; Santana will probably be a slight favorite against Matsuzaka at home in both games two and five. But the problem from LA’s standpoint is that Game 5 happens less than 40% of the time, so that advantage, which was small to begin with, is further minimized.
The Red Sox are generally very overvalued, but there’s potentially some value with them here because the Angels have been the public darling most of the season. Despite winning 100 games, Los Angeles’ run differential was only +68, more in line with an 88-win squad. Some of this discrepancy can be attributed to a strong bullpen, but the vast majority of it is something else entirely: luck. It’s true that the Angels got stronger as the season progressed, getting Lackey back from the DL and then acquiring Mark Teixeira from the Braves, but they definitely played over their heads this season. The Red Sox, on the other hand, had a +151 run differential, and against a much more difficult schedule. When you consider that that include Clay Buchholz, who allowed 63 runs in 76 innings and won’t even be on the playoff roster, that makes Boston’s season even more impressive.
The key to this series is really Boston’s sizeable advantage against the Angels in Game 3. If it looks like Beckett is going to be able to go by the time the series starts on Wednesday night, the