A Boston Red Sox team that is eight games over .500 should be looking at a series with the New York Yankees as a crucial one in the AL East race.
It's not, at least not yet. The Red Sox could sweep the series and still be 10 games behind New York for first place in the division.
The Yankees are having a ridiculous season and come into a four-game set with Boston holding a 14-game lead in the AL East. Sure, massive collapses can happen and there's a lot of baseball to go, but the Red Sox are looking at the wild-card race at this point.
The Yankees' dominance this season is shown in the odds for the first game of the series. New York is a big -160 road favorite at BetMGM against Boston on Thursday night.
The number is boosted a bit by the pitching matchup. The Yankees have Gerrit Cole on the mound. Cole is a Cy Young candidate again. He's one of the best pitchers in baseball, and it doesn't hurt to be backed up by one of the best teams in baseball. The Red Sox counter with rookie Josh Winckowski, who has been pretty good (3.46 ERA), but he's not Cole.
The Red Sox have rallied after a 12-20 start to the season, though they have lost six of their last nine. Boston is a good team and you always have to look at a good home underdog at +135 odds. But you probably won't make much money betting against the Yankees this season. Especially when Cole is pitching.
Here's the first look at the sports betting slate for Thursday:
It's Thursday, so there's golf
We have one more week before the British Open, and the Scottish Open has brought out some big names for this week's PGA Tour stop. Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay are among the big names in the field. They tournament has started, but there's always live betting on BetMGM.
A 13-game MLB schedule
There is a fairly full baseball schedule for Thursday. Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros play in the afternoon, and they're a massive -350 favorite over the Kansas City Royals. The Astros have been one of the best teams in baseball this season and Verlander is having a great season.
On the West Coast, the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants start a series, with Cy Young hopeful Joe Musgrove of the Padres on the mound. The Padres are a reasonable -135 favorite.
What's the best bet?
I'll go with the Padres. Musgrove was on the COVID-19 list last month and struggled in his first start back, but last start he had 10 strikeouts against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants have been up and down this season and Musgrove has been a pretty solid bet.