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Red Sox favored in Game 1 of the World Series vs the Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers pay a visit to Fenway Park for Game 1 of the World Series against the Boston Red Sox. For the first time since 2012, Clayton Kershaw opens as an underdog as the Dodgers are a +132 underdog for Game 1, with the Red Sox coming back at -152. Chris Sale opposes Kershaw on the mound with the total opening at 7.5 runs.

Shark Bites
  • The total has gone OVER in eight of the Red Sox’ last nine games at home (avg. combined score: 12.78).
  • The Dodgers are 3-7 SU in their last 10 games vs the Red Sox.
  • The total has gone OVER in five of Boston’s last seven games when Chris Sale is the starter.

Dodgers vs Red Sox Game Center

Kershaw struggles on the road in the playoffs

Clayton Kershaw (9-5, 2.73 ERA) makes his fourth start of the postseason and his numbers have been quite good. Overall, the lefty has an impressive 2.37 ERA over three starts and one relief appearance in Game 7 of the NLCS, with the Dodgers going 2-1 SU in his starts and winning the game in which he came out of the bullpen. However, in Kershaw’s lone road start in Game 1 of the NLCS, the Brewers roughed him up for four earned runs on six hits over just three innings in a 6-5 LA loss.

This is the first career appearance for Kershaw against the Red Sox and he does so at Fenway Park in front of a raucous crowd. Los Angeles is 5-6 SU with the Texas native holding a 4.45 ERA through his 11 career road playoff starts. Kershaw made an away start vs Houston in Game 5 of last year’s World Series and was shelled for six earned runs on four hits, lasting 4.2 innings in a 13-12 loss. This is the first time Kershaw has been an underdog since July 24, 2012, a game Los Angeles lost 8-2 to St. Louis.

Alarming signs coming from Sale

Chris Sale (12-4, 2.11 ERA) toes the rubber for the fourth time in the postseason and for the third time at Fenway Park, where he holds a 3.86 ERA through the first two appearances. Boston split those first two games, winning the first match vs the Yankees 5-4 while losing the second start 7-2 to Houston. The Florida native made one career start vs the Dodgers in 2012 when he was with the White Sox – Kershaw opposed him, the total closed at 5.5 and Los Angeles won the game 7-6.

Sale only pitched once in the ALCS, in Game 1, and there was a startling trend that reared its head in that game. The lefty’s fastball velocity has fallen off drastically as the season has worn on: in June, July and August, he had an average velocity of 97.38 mph, while in his four starts in September, he had an average velocity of 93.56 mph. In Game 1 of the ALCS vs Houston, his fastball averaged 92 mph and topped out at 96 mph.

Is the OVER the bet to make in Game 1?

Runs have been easy to come by at Fenway Park recently, as the total has gone OVER in eight of the last nine games there with an average combined score of 12.78. Bovada has tonight’s total opening at 7.5 runs. Additionally, the total has gone OVER 7.5 runs in five of Sale’s last seven trips to the mound, with the two games that went UNDER both having a combined score of seven runs. Meanwhile, the total has gone OVER in each of Kershaw’s last three road playoff starts with an average combined score of 16. Lastly, Boston is hitting LHP well in the postseason, holding a .284 batting average. I think the OVER is the bet to make.

My take on Los Angeles vs Boston

I like the OVER 7.5 runs for Game 1 of the World Series. There’s just too much volatility surrounding both starting pitchers, as Kershaw has struggled immensely on the road in the postseason and now he has to make his first career start vs the Red Sox at loud Fenway Park. Meanwhile, Sale’s velocity has continued to trend downward, indicating there could be issues with his shoulder, and he has a 5.85 career playoff ERA. Lastly, Fenway Park has been an OVER machine with eight of the last nine games there going OVER with an average combined score of 12.78.