White Sox vs. Red Sox MLB Odds & Picks: Bet Boston’s Offense to Stay Hot (Saturday, April 17)
Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Verdugo.
- The Boston Red Sox will look to keep their hot start going when they take on the Chicago White Sox on Saturday afternoon.
- The Red Sox have been one of the biggest surprises in all of baseball to kick off the season, while the White Sox have fallen short of expectations.
- Tanner McGrath thinks Boston will keep rolling today, and he explains why below.
White Sox vs. Red Sox Odds
|White Sox Odds||+110|
|Red Sox Odds||-131|
|Time||4:05 p.m. ET|
The Red Sox and White Sox are heading in polar opposite directions entering this series. Chicago has been disappointing following high preseason expectations, and Boston has played exceptionally well after essentially being written off.
After yesterday’s game was rained out, the first of this four-game series will be played today. To adjust, the two will play a doubleheader on Sunday.
So, let’s see where the value lies in this Dallas Keuchel vs. Nick Pivetta matchup.
Chicago White Sox
After splitting series with both the Royals and Indians, the White Sox are now 6-7 to start the 2021 campaign.
Despite being under .500, they’ve continued to find success against southpaws. The White Sox are 3-1 against left-handed starters this season and have posted a 139 wRC+ against that side.
Unfortunately for them, they’re facing a right-handed starter today, where they haven’t been as successful. They’re just 3-6 against right-handed starters this season while posting just a .668 OPS against that side.
Although their record doesn’t reflect it, the White Sox pitching has been superb to start this season. The pitching staff paces the league in both FIP and wOBA, plus they’re third in batting average with a 3.12 ERA. Notably, Lance Lynn threw a complete game shutout last week, and Carlos Rodón followed that performance with a no-hitter earlier this week.
However, today’s starter has not been quite as dominant to begin 2021.
Starting Pitcher: Dallas Keuchel (LHP)
Keuchel has thrown three straight below-average starts.
So far, he has a 6.43 ERA, a 5.42 FIP and a 1.43 WHIP. However, the White Sox are 2-1 in those games behind considerable run support — 6.7 runs per game, to be exact.
Keuchel’s a southpaw sinkerballer who mixes in a changeup and a slider. However, Keuchel threw more cutters last year than he ever has, throwing almost as many as his sinker.
It worked well, as his wOBA on the cutter was just .241, and he posted a 1.99 ERA and 1.09 WHIP overall in the 2020 campaign.
Keuchel hasn’t pitched against Boston since 2018. So, we’ll see he performs today.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox are the biggest surprise of the 2021 season.
In fact, the Red Sox are the biggest storyline of the American League in the early going. After losing three straight games to begin the season, Boston won nine straight before narrowly dropping one to the Twins on Thursday. They now lead the AL East and have the best record in the American League.
The offense has been electric. However, following a 2020 season in which the Red Sox boasted a top-10 offense by most metrics, that isn’t overly surprising.
What is surprising, however, is Boston’s pitching performance so far. Over the past 10 games, the Red Sox starters have pitched 53 innings and have posted a 3.06 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP in those starts.
Plus, the bullpen’s been great. Closer Matt Barnes has been lights out, as he hasn’t allowed a single earned run this season. Meanwhile, Matt Andriese, Hirokazu Sawamura, Garrett Whitlock and Darwinzon Hernandez have all pitched better than expected.
The only arm in the Boston bullpen that hasn’t performed is former Yankee Adam Ottavino. His usually dominant slider has not been biting like it normally does, and Ottavino has a 9.82 ERA and a blown save to show for it. But if he starts pitching at his best again, there’ll be another dangerous arm in the Boston bullpen.
Starting Pitcher: Nick Pivetta (RHP)
Fun fact: By winning his last start, Pivetta became the first Red Sox starter to win his first four starts with the club since Tim Wakefield did so in 1995.
Pivetta has already recorded two wins this year despite a lackluster performance against Baltimore last Sunday. However, he was excellent against the Rays on April 5, tossing five scoreless innings and allowing only two hits.
He’s had control struggles in the early going, giving up seven walks over his first 11 innings. However, he only has a career walk rate of 8.8%, which should regress with more starts.
Pivetta is primarily a fastball pitcher who mixes in a curveball and a slider. His fastball velocity is up about two ticks in the early going this season, and it’s been effective as he’s posting the highest whiff rate of his career on the pitch.
The question is whether or not he can keep that up against the dangerous White Sox lineup.
White Sox-Red Sox Pick
There is no way I’m betting against the Red Sox offense right now.
Boston currently ranks fourth in slugging, wOBA and OPS. The Red Sox are also fourth in hard-hit percentage, third in average exit velocity and second in barrel percentage.
But the Red Sox aren’t even hitting up to their full potential. Boston ranks among the top two teams in xBA, xSLG, xwOBA and xwOBAcon. The perfect example of this is youngster Bobby Dalbec, who currently has just a .231 wOBA but owns a .380 xwOBA.
That’s the scary part about this Red Sox offense — they haven’t quite “clicked” yet. Despite leading the AL East by a decent margin, there’s more potential for this team.
Boston’s pitching performance should regress as the season goes on, but it features a legit bullpen, and I like Pivetta against the White Sox lineup. The White Sox haven’t performed well against righties and also are below league-average in weighted fastball runs created.
I played Boston at -115 on PointsBet and feel comfortable betting it to -125.
Pick: Red Sox -115 (Play to -125).