2021 MLB Division Futures: Red Sox Pull Even With Rays in AL East

  • Bovada has the Rays (+145) and Red Sox (+150) in a dead heat to win the AL East
  • Tampa Bay’s staff ace Tyler Glasnow might be done for the season with an elbow injury
  • Chris Sale looks close to returning to Boston’s rotation after missing all of last year

After winning the World Series in 2018, Boston missed the playoffs the next year and became a laughing stock last season after trading Mookie Betts to the Dodgers.

But a lot can change in one year. The red-hot Red Sox won their seventh game in a row on Thursday, scoring their most runs in a game this season (15) and completing a four-game sweep of the Royals. With the Tampa Bay Rays heading in the exact opposite direction, Alex Cora’s club now leads the American League East by 3.5 games.

At the season’s midway point, let’s check out the latest divisional odds, and, as always, be sure to refer to our MLB 2021 betting guide for further wagering tips and advice.

Odds to win AL East

Tampa Bay Rays+145
Boston Red Sox+150
New York Yankees+400
Toronto Blue Jays+600
Baltimore Orioles+100000

Tampa Bay Rays falling apart

It has been a tough couple of weeks for Tampa Bay (+145), who were the clear favorite to win the AL East when we last checked in, just two weeks ago. The Rays are in the midst of a three-game losing streak after just enduring an ugly seven-game skid. Worst of all, they lost ace Tyler Glasnow to a partially torn UCL and a flexor tendon strain, an injury he blamed on Major League Baseball’s decision to crack down on the use of foreign substances.

Before going down, the 27-year-old boasted a 10-2 record over his past 21 starts and held the second-best odds of winning the AL Cy Young Award this year after starting the 2021 season with a 5-2 record with a 2.66 ERA this season.

The question now is if the Rays can endure Glasnow’s lengthy absence. Their pitching staff is deep and former first-round pick Shane McClanahan has been almost untouchable of late with opposing hitters batting .176 against him with a 46.0% strikeout rate.

However, if Tampa is going to win the division, they’re going to need Wander Franco to get his sea legs. The game’s top prospect has gone 4 for 26 in his first seven games, with just two hits since his MLB debut.

Tampa Bay Raysto win AL East
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Toronto Blue Jaysto win AL East
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Red Sox stacking wins

Heading into the 4th of July, Boston’s odds to win the AL East have shortened from +375 in mid-June to +150. The Red Sox begin a series with Oakland today after sweeping both the Royals and the Yankees, but they’re going to need better starting pitching in the second half to win the division crown.

The good news is, after undergoing Tommy John’s surgery in March of 2020, Chris Sale feels like he’s getting ready to return “sooner rather than later”. Boston’s bullpen has also been lights out and the team could also add to their rotation at the trade deadline.

Now 3.5 games ahead of the Rays and ten games clear of the Blue Jays (+600), we believe the Red Sox will hang on to win the division against a fading Tampa team that will badly miss Glasnow down the stretch.

Boston Red Soxto win NL West
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Steve Starr

Steve is one of the many Americans who spends Sunday watching football on the couch and gorging on delicious eats. He describes himself as a good father, great dog owner, and mediocre gambler and husband.

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