Orioles vs. Red Sox prediction: MLB Opening Day picks, odds Thursday

Orioles vs. Red Sox prediction: MLB Opening Day picks, odds Thursday
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We have an Orioles vs. Red Sox prediction as Major League Baseball begins in Boston and the American League East. 

The Orioles and Red Sox are the main divisional competitors for last place. 

The Yankees, Blue Jays, and Rays all have reasonable betting odds of winning the AL East, while Baltimore and Boston sit closer to 30-to-1. 

Two cast-off starting pitchers, Kyle Gibson and Corey Kluber, will share the mound, speaking to how low the expectations are for both squads in 2023. 

Then again, both teams should be fun watches this season. Baltimore and Boston combine poor pitching staffs with electric, high-upside lineups, so we should see high-scoring baseball games. 

But before we keep dragging the Orioles and Red Sox through the mud, let’s dive into the odds and my prediction and pick for the game. 

Orioles vs. Red Sox odds

Moneyline: Orioles (+110) vs. Red Sox (-130)

Spread: Orioles +1.5 (-184) vs. Red Sox -1.5 (+152)

Total: Over 9 (-115) | Under 9 (-105) 

Getty Images

Orioles vs. Red Sox prediction

(2:10 p.m. ET.)

Both lineups have a high upside, but the Red Sox and Orioles are trying to emphasize different strengths behind the plate. 

The Red Sox like to mash the ball. Behind Rafael Devers’ big swing, the 2022 Sox led the league in doubles while posting top-10 marks in Hard-Hit Rate and Average Exit Velocity, per Baseball Savant. 

Meanwhile, the Orioles are trying to push plate discipline. Catcher and upcoming superstar Adley Rutschmann is the model of that, with one of the lowest chase rates (23.6%) and swinging strike rates (7.3%) in MLB. 

Unfortunately, that doesn’t bode well for Red Sox starter Kluber. The aging Kluber doesn’t have a pitch that comes in over 90mph, instead opting for elite command, control, and placement to keep hitters off-balance. 

As a result, Kluber ranked in the 96th percentile in chase rate and 99th percentile in walk rate last season, per Baseball Savant.

The zone-savvy Orioles are a terrible matchup for Kluber. 

It also doesn’t help that Kluber relies on a cutter and curveball mix to achieve his desired results.

The Orioles were the second-best curveball-hitting team and the eighth-best cutter-hitting team in MLB last year, per FanGraphs’ weighted pitch values. 

Adley Rutschman #35 of the Baltimore Orioles
Adley Rutschman #35 of the Baltimore OriolesGetty Images

Betting on Baseball?

I’m not much higher on O’s starter Kyle Gibson, who is in Baltimore only to make 30 league-average starts.

However, he’s a sinker-heavy pitcher throwing against a Boston lineup that ranked second-to-last in weighted sinker runs created in 2022. 

Meanwhile, the Orioles will have a significant advantage defensively – Boston was a bottom-10 team by both Savant’s outs above average metric and Fielding Bible’s defensive runs saved metric – and likely in the bullpen. 

The Red Sox added some intriguing bullpen pieces in the offseason, namely Kenley Jansen, but I need to see on-field results before I start believing.

Especially in this matchup, given the O’s were a top-10 bullpen by most metrics last season and have four relievers projected to finish with an ERA under 4.00, per FanGraphs. 

I love the matchup for Baltimore on opening day, and I’m willing to bet the O’s win this game at least 50% of the time.

The sharps agree as The Action Network app has tracked sharp and smart money hitting the Orioles at the plus-money price. 

As a result, I see value in the Orioles ML (+110) at FanDuel Sportsbook and feel comfortable betting it down to even money. 

Orioles vs. Red Sox pick

Baltimore Orioles ML (+110) at FanDuel Sportsbook