Boston Beat: Red Sox - Metro US

Boston Beat: Red Sox

Michael Chavis Red Sox
Michael Chavis. Getty Images

Red Sox fans haven’t had much of a chance to see their favorite Major League Baseball team in person at Fenway Park in the 2019 season. A quirk in the schedule had the Sox playing 16 of their first 22 games on the road.

Conversely, fans of the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays got to see a lot of their favorite teams. The Yanks played 15 of their first 21 games in the Bronx, while the Rays will play 16 of their first 25 indoors down in Florida.

Sports bettors who aren’t paying attention to short term schedule dynamics can make the mistake of drawing false conclusions about team quality. In any sport, teams usually aren’t as good as they look after friendly home-heavy schedule, nor as vulnerable as might look in the standings after a long road stretch.

Your perceptions about the American League East hopes of the Red Sox, Yankees, and Rays may change after those schedules equalize. That’s in the process of happening right now.

*Boston’s current series with Detroit is part of a 10-game homestand that will put the Sox at 16 home games, 16 road games after the action on May 1.  

*New York’s current road series at the Los Angeles Angels launches a nine-game Western swing that will put the Yanks at 15 home games, 15 road games after May 1.

*Tampa Bay begins a 10-game road trip Friday at Fenway that will put the Rays at 19 home games, 19 road games after May 5.  

Fans and bettors will have a much clearer read on divisional dynamics in early May.

Note that schedule illusions are common in all betting sports. Sometimes it’s related to strength of schedule. That’s most dramatic in college betting sports football and basketball, where running up the score against cupcakes won’t say much about how a team will perform vs. quality. But, it’s also true in any pro sport with a clear dichotomy of haves and have nots.

Frankly, illusions from schedule strength could even be an important analytical factor in the upcoming Boston Celtics/Milwaukee Bucks series. The Bucks represent a huge step up in class from the easily vanquished Indiana Pacers. Will Boston’s defense be ready for that challenge? Will Milwaukee get caught flat-footed after mauling playoff pretender Detroit?

Sharps (pro bettors) focus on player and team skill sets, while trying to avoid illusions caused by schedule dynamics. Important to remember whenever handicapping games involving your favorite teams.

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