Free Picks: Yankees, Red Sox open second half with Thursday slate all to themselves

Jordan Horrobin
Jordan Horrobin
MLB Free Picks – Best Bets of the Week
Yankees vs Red Sox Week 16
New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox Yankee Stadium

The New York Yankees (46-43) face the Boston Red Sox (55-36) for the first of four games on Thursday, serving as the only matchup on the leaguewide schedule coming out of the all-star break. All other teams begin their second halves on Friday, which means one of the game’s greatest rivalries gets a head start on the rest of the majors. The Yankees are eight games back of the Red Sox with 73 games left to play. Given that these teams play eight times in the next 11 days, this stretch is hugely important for the hopes of both squads.

Yankees begin critical second-half stretch as home favorites vs. Red Sox

Believe it or not, all three of these statements are true: First, the Red Sox have spent the past two-and-a-half weeks in first place in the American League East; second, the Red Sox have won all six matchups against the Yankees this season; third, the Yankees are favorites for Thursday’s matchup between the longtime rivals.

Yes, despite how strong the Red Sox have been this year, it’s the Yankees who are -125 money line favorites (10Bet) for the day’s MLB picks. The Red Sox, who haven’t lost in this matchup since Sept. 19, 2020, are +105 money line underdogs (10Bet).

This line probably doesn’t make sense to you, at least based on the information we’d laid out so far. Looking closer, we see that Boston’s projected starter, Eduardo Rodriguez (6-5, 5.52 ERA) is likely at the center of this. He’s had a truly up-and-down year, and he’s coming off a start against the Angels in which he allowed four runs and nine hits in five innings.

Against the Yankees this season, Rodriguez is 1-0 in two starts; but he’s allowed a rather pedestrian five runs on 10 hits in 11 1/3 innings. That’s really not very good, but it can get a pitcher by when he’s backed by Boston’s excellent offense.

The Red Sox feature three all-stars in their batting order: Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez. As a team, Boston owns a .761 OPS, which ranks fourth in the majors (New York is 13th with a .718 OPS). All year, their aim has been to get five-plus innings from their starters and take it from there with their bullpen and a bullish offense.

It doesn’t work all the time, of course, but it’s been effective enough to help them post a lead past the halfway point in the AL East. And it’s certainly been good enough to beat the Yankees six out of six times this season.

All that is to say we’re a bit perplexed by this line. To be fair, at the time this is being published the Yankees haven’t finalized their starter (though it’s expected to be Jordan Montgomery, who allowed three runs in six innings to Boston when he last faced them on June 26). We don’t think that should matter, because the underdog odds for the Red Sox are just too good to pass up.

Heck, Boston even has a solid road record (27-17). Don’t hesitate to take them on the money line, as we’re advising here in our BetPicks prediction.

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  • New York is 4-6 on the money line in its past 10
  • The OVER has cashed in six of the Yankees’ past 10 games
  • Boston is 5-5 on the money line in its past 10
  • The UNDER has cashed in five of the Red Sox’s past nine games

Jordan Horrobin is a freelance sports journalist based in Toronto, Ontario, who enjoys sports-related research and telling engaging stories. His work can also be found at Sportsnet, Forbes and elsewhere. Though he abandoned most of his team-specific fandoms in the interest of unbiased analysis, Jordan roots hard for his fantasy football/hockey teams (and he's a complete homer for all things Ohio University).