As the frigid temperatures start to thaw a little bit, we can start to look forward to Opening Day 2019.
Helping us get into the mood for spring and baseball season is that BetAmerica Sportsbook have posted some regular season win totals. Two of the numbers stand out from the crowd: the New York Yankees are projected to win two more games than their rival, the World Series champion Boston Red Sox.
On top of that, the Yankees are now favored to win the Fall Classic while the defending champs have dropped to second in line. Is it warranted or should the World Series champs have the upper hand?
2019 Regular Season Win Totals
- New York Yankees O/U 96.5
- Boston Red Sox O/U 94.5
Yankees Have Improved
The first thing to remember is that the Yankees won 100 games last season and are in position to sustain that success.
To start off, the team had an average age of 27.6 last season, which made them the seventh-youngest team in the league. On top of that, remember that a number of their players dealt with injuries, including Aaron Judge, who only played in 112 games, and Gary Sanchez, who played in 89.
The team also made some quality upgrades to the roster, including the addition of starting pitcher James Paxton. When healthy, he’s a legitimate ace. The team also added Troy Tulowitzki, who is not the All-Star he once was, but will add depth while Didi Gregorius (Tommy John) returns around the All-Star break.
The Yankees were 83-47 on August 26th last season before finishing the year just 17-15. Their young roster should be in much better shape to finish the season strong, get over this regular season win total and win the American League East.
Red Sox Had A Quiet Offseason
While the Yankees bolstered their lineup in the offseason, the World Series champs probably took a small step back. They’re still very talented in most facets but they do have to be concerned about their bullpen. They lost Joe Kelly to free agency and while it’s not official yet, it looks like All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel is also a goner.
It’s not become the clear-cut team weakness as we don’t know who will take the reigns in the later stages of the game. It looks like Matt Barnes will be the closer but he’s had control issues.
Outside of that, this team is still very well put together but it was definitely a quiet offseason for the Red Sox with no big signings or acquisitions.
History Suggests Red Sox Take A Step Back
One reason why the Red Sox are posted with a lower win total than the Yankees is that they don’t often get above this number. Consider that the Red Sox have won 96 games just once in their last five seasons and twice in their last 11. Regardless of how good this team looks, that’s a factor here.
Beyond that, you also have to add to the equation that the Red Sox have now won the World Series four times since 2004 and they’ve won less regular season games the following year each of the first three times. It’s usually just a small drop-off – a few games – but in 2014, they did fall off by 26 games.
That’s not just a Red Sox-problem as that tends to be a league-wide trend. Of the last eight World Series champions, only once has the team winning the ring won more regular season games the following year (Houston Astros in 2018). The other seven times, the team declined the following regular season.
Yankees Leapfrog Red Sox As World Series Favorite
Just a few weeks ago, the Yankees, Red Sox and Houston Astros were all posted on the board at +600 at 888Sport but the odds have shifted slightly. Now the Yankees are the favorite, sitting solo at +600, while the Red Sox and Astros have dropped to +650.
The Los Angeles Dodgers were at +700 and have dropped to +750 but they could be on the move if they in fact sign Bryce Harper, as some recent reports have suggested.