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May 28, 2015 (Posted at 7:00 PM ET)

Take Boston Red Sox (-121) on the Money Line against Texas Rangers risking 3% of bankroll.
(Rodriguez and Martinez must start for wager to have action)

Looking at the side by side statistics of this matchup and given the recent performances by both of these teams, it would be easy to assume that the Texas Rangers have the advantage. The Rangers are just coming off an impressive 7 game winning streak. They've scored 14 runs in their last 3 games and they have a pitcher on the mound tonight in Nick Martinez who is having the best season of his career. Martinez has a perfect 4-0 record with a miniscule 1.96 ERA. Meanwhile the Boston Red Sox have been struggling much more than expected this season. They come into this game having lost 6 of their last 8 games and they have a rookie pitcher on the mound tonight who will be making his Major League Debut. It's not surprising that the odds makers had opened the Rangers as the favorites in this contest, but what was more surprising was seeing the shift in odds throughout the day. The line has shifted more than 20 points from the open and has now listed the Red Sox as the favorites, despite all of the things that on the surface appear to be going against them. We find this extremely interesting. 

The more in depth we looked at the game, the more this movement actually made sense. As good as Martinez has been this season, he is certainly playing over his head. His career numbers are nowhere near where he is pitching at today and at some point we expect things to revert back to the mean. Martinez has a career record of 9-12 with a respectable but much inflated 3.82. What we found most interesting was the fact that Martinez is allowing opponents to bat .240 against him this season and 2.66 for his career. There is not much difference in those averages which means that he has simply been fortunate in his pitches thus far to not give up runs and we expect that to change at some point in the near future. Martinez has walked a total of 17 batters already this season which is an above average amount. Allowing a batter a free pass to first is extremely dangerous and he has so far been fortunate to not have a team capitalize on his mistakes. We don't believe that he can keep up this kind of pace and continue to catch lucky breaks each and every start. His luck will run out at some point and we believe it will likely happen tonight against a Red Sox batting order who has shown power at the plate and who will no doubt be desperate for a win. 

Another reason that we believe the Red Sox hold the edge in this contest are tonight's starting lineups. Delaying our release two hours allowed us to have a chance to view the batting lineups and see the potential edge that the Red Sox have. Boston may be starting a rookie pitcher this evening in Eduardo Rodriguez; however, he is a left handed hurler. Everyone knows that the lefty vs lefty combination almost always favors the pitcher. Given the fact that some of the Rangers most potent bats are lefties, such as Prince Fielder, Shin Soo-Choo, Josh Hamilton and Mitch Moreland essentially taking those players out of the Rangers batting order takes power away from this lineup and likely their ability to cause extensive damage at the plate so having a lefty on the mound will likely favor the Red Sox, even if he is a rookie. Rodriguez may also have an advantage since none of the Rangers hitters will have seen him before so they will be unfamiliar with his overall delivery. It usually takes a batter 2 or 3 times seeing a pitcher to be able to time their delivery right and by that time, Rodriguez may likely already be in the bullpen. If he can survive the first few innings and not allow nerves to get the best of him, this could allow the Red Sox to score a few runs early on to give their rookie pitcher some run support which will only help build his confidence. 

The Texas Rangers may have amassed an impressive 7 game winning streak prior to this series; however that streak ended last night. Not only did the Rangers end up losing, but they lost in blowout fashion as the Cleveland Indians completely had their way with them as the Rangers pitching staff gave up a total of 17 hits and 12 runs in that loss. That is a pretty confidence crushing loss and from what we have seen so far this season, the Rangers are a team that thrives on confidence. They struggled in the early part of the season and we saw things snowball from there. We wouldn't be surprised if last night's loss affects the Rangers and sends them into another mini losing streak. 

Also, despite the Rangers recent winning streak they were not necessarily playing fundamentally sound baseball as they've had 1 or more fielding errors 10 of their last 13 games! This will be the Rangers first game back in Texas after a long road trip. The first game back home is always tough with all of the travel involved and for players to finally be reunited with their families; it provides a lot of distractions which is why it often takes a team a game or two to re-adjust to their home turf. Speaking of distractions, this will also be Josh Hamilton's home coming to Texas tonight. He was re-united with his former team a few weeks ago and tonight will be his first game back in Arlington where it's important to remember that the Rangers are just 6-13 on the year. That could prove to be more of a distraction than a benefit. The fans also know what this team is capable of having just recently won 7 straight games and will no doubt have high expectations of them moving forward. This will likely put a lot of pressure on the players in order to perform and live up to the pressure that the fans will no doubt put on them tonight. 

Nearly 75% of the betting public is backing Texas and Martinez tonight. Despite the public money on the home time, the odds have shifted drastically the other way which no doubt indicates that the sharp money is on the Red Sox tonight. Given our reasons above, we feel that Rodriguez has a chance to impress in his Major League debut and the Red Sox have the strong chance of picking up the win tonight. This game will likely be close but we feel the Red Sox bats will likely make Martinez pay for one of his mistakes tonight as the come away with the much needed victory. 

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Red Sox are 3-1 after 3 or more consecutive losses.
  • Rangers are just 2-7 when the total is 9 or 9.5 runs this season!
  • Red Sox are 22-9 in road games after having lost 5 or 6 of their last 7 games over the last 3 seasons!

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