Red Sox Slight Favorite to Beat Dodgers in World Series

Red Sox Dodgers World Series Odds

The Dodgers and Red Sox last faced each other in the World Series 101 years ago.

The Boston Red Sox are a slight favorite (-135) to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2018 World Series. The Red Sox finished the MLB regular season with 108 wins, which is the 7th-best regular season record in Major League Baseball history.

Behind timely hitting and an excellent bullpen, the Red Sox defeated the New York Yankees and the defending World Champion Houston Astros in the AL Playoffs. The Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Playoffs. The LA Dodgers have (+115) odds of winning the World Series. Those odds mean you would have to bet $100 to win $115 on the Dodgers. To win $100 on the Red Sox, you would have to wager $135.

Los Angeles had a 92-71 regular season record, including a win in a one-game play-in game against the Colorado Rockies. The Dodgers’ experience and ability to win in pressure situations are one reason the odds are so close.

Perhaps the fact the Dodgers have been better over a number of seasons also contributes to the evenness of the odds. The fact is, the Red Sox were 17 games better in the regular season and are on a historical run in 2018.

Odds are a reflection of a sportsbooks’ assumptions on the betting activity — not their idea of who will win. But if one looks at the 2018 numbers, the Red Sox odds should be higher.

2018 Los Angeles Dodgers

Besides their victory in the wild card game against the Rockies, the Dodgers come off a Game 7 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. The 2018 Los Angeles Dodgers also have the experience of a 7-game World Series last year, when they were the favorite to beat the Houston Astros.

The 2017 World Series was a back-and-forth affair, with the Dodgers facing do-or-die situations several times. Though they lost to the Astros in seven games, the experience could steel them for the coming test over the next two weeks.

Red Sox vs. Dodgers

Of course, the series has to be competitive before intangibles like experience and mental toughness come into play. Also, experience in the previous World Series can be a double-edges sword, because doubts inspired by last year’s close loss can creep in.

The series the Red Sox played against the Yankees and Astros each had their turning point moments. Both at the same seemed tougher, but both ended with a decisive Boston victory (3-1, 4-1). The Dodgers are going to have to play much better than the Astros and Yankees did to keep the World Series close.

Los Angeles Dodgers Star Players

Los Angeles has the star power. The Dodgers’ lineup includes plenty of bats, with Justin Turner, Yasiel Puig, Cody Bellinger, Matt Kemp, and Manny Machado among their star players. Starting pitchers Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Walker Buehler, and Rich Hill is a steller rotation, giving the Dodgers a chance in any series.

But that rotation has yet to face anything like the 2018 Boston Red Sox this year.

Boston Red Sox Personnel

The Boston Red Sox have a well-balanced squad, top to bottom. Chris Sale leads the starting pitchers and is picked to start in Game 1. David Price, the regular season guru who’s turned into postseason goat in past seasons, ended a 10-game postseason drought with winning starts in the ALCS (one team win, one personal win). Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Nathan Eovaldi round out a solid set of starters.

Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, and Xander Bogaerts led a starting linuep full of pop. Betts and Benintendi each had key plays in the ALCS that let the Red Sox dethrone the Astros. Had Benintendi not caught a 2-out liner with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th in Game 4, the Red Sox/Astros series might have turned out very differently.

It is Boston’s bullpen which separates the Red Sox from so many teams. If Boston has a lead entering the 7th inning, their odds of winning are extremely high. Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, and closer Craig Kimbrel lead a team that locks down the last third of the ballgame.

World Series Notes

The last time the Boston Red Sox were in the World Series was 2007. That was during a stretch when the Red Sox won 2 out of 4 world titles, after an 86-year drought. Before the Dodgers appearance in the World Series last year, their franchise had not been to the AL/NL matchup since 1988, when they upset the Oakland A’s behind Orel Herschiser’s brilliant pitching and Kirk Gibson’s late-game heroics.

While Boston and L.A. are known as bitter rivals in the NBA, they don’t have much of a history in Major League Baseball. The two teams played in the 1917 World Series, but the Dodgers were in Brooklyn at the time. Fenway Park was 4 years old, but games were played at Braves Field (in Boston) that year. Since interleague play began, the two teams have played 15 times, with the Red Sox holding an 8-7 advantage. The Dodgers have only won once in Boston. Clayton Kershaw has never pitched in Fenway Park.

The Red Sox and Dodgers represent two of the storied franchises in Major League Baseball history. Throughout much of their history, both teams have been known for their rivalries with the New York Yankees. From 1941 to 1963, the Dodgers met the Yankees in the World Series a whopping 8 times, but went 2-6 in those showdowns (with wins in ’56 and ’63). From 1977 to 1981, the Dodgers and Yankees met three more times in the World Series, with the Yankees winning in 1977 and 1978 and the Dodgers prevailing in 1981.

Rare Meeting between Yankees’ Chief Rivals

The Boston/New York rivalry, of course, is legend. The Red Sox won four World Series in the 1910s behind Babe Ruth’s play, then traded the legendary ballplayer to the Yankees (in MLB legend for a Broadway screenplay). Ruth’s trade to led the Curse of the Bambino, in which the Red Sox did not win a World Series for 86 years. It also led to the the rise of the Yankees, as they began an unprecedented run in which New York won 20 World Series (in 29 appearances). During that time, the team had at least one of a list of all-time greats including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle.

But the Yankees are vanquished for 2018. Their two greatest rivals play in the World Series to see who’s best in 2018. Given the strenght of its roster and the season it has had, the Red Sox are amazingly small favorites. That would appear to be the best bet for the 2018 World Series.