With an improved pitching staff and Alex Cora back at manager, the Red Sox are projected to make a jump this year. But that's relative to how bad they were in 2020.
Our friends at PointsBet posted their MLB futures and player props in advance of the season opener. The takeaway: The 2021 Red Sox will win more games but they're a long way from being considered a contender.
Let's start at the very top -- odds provided by our partner, PointsBet Sportsbook.
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2021 World Series odds
The Red Sox open the season at +5000, tied with the Brewers for the 19th-best odds in baseball. That means a $20 wager on Alex Cora's team would clear $1,000. As for the more realistic options, the Dodgers top the list at +350 to repeat and the Yankees check in right behind them at +550.
2021 American League odds
Those rival Yankees, as you'd expect, are the favorites to win the American League pennant at +235. Right behind them are the Sox - as in the White Sox - at +425. You have to scroll down to 10th on this list to find the Red Sox, who check in at +2200.
2021 AL East odds
The most glaring reality check lies in the list of odds to win the AL East. With Tampa Bay coming off a World Series appearance and Toronto making key additions headlined by the signing of George Springer, Boston finds itself as a distant fourth in the division.
But with that lack of respect comes value. A $20 bet nets $400 if the Red Sox can claim the AL East for the fourth time in the last six years.
2021 win total and postseason odds
Those long-shots aside, the most measurable conversations revolve around how many games the 2021 Red Sox will win and whether or not they'll make the playoffs.
PointsBet has set their win total at 79.5 and also has the option of betting on their win percentage (over/under 49.7%). For context, the 2020 Red Sox won just 40% of their games. Over a 162-game schedule, that would have come out to roughly 65 wins.
The oddsmakers essentially have the Sox making a 15-win jump, which they've actually done three times in the last decade (2013, 2016, 2018).
It's also worth noting that a 15-win jump would leave the Red Sox around 80-82, leaving them under .500 and almost certainly out of the playoffs. That shouldn't be much of a surprise, as Boston's odds to make the postseason are +250 and the odds that they miss the playoffs for a third straight year are -400.
In this case, it doesn't help that MLB went back to the 2019 playoff format of three division winners and two Wild Card teams after opening things up to eight teams in each league in 2020.
As you'd guess, the Red Sox aren't expected to pick up much in terms of regular season awards. But here's where they check-in ahead of the 2021 season.
American League MVP
American League Cy Young
American League Rookie of the Year