The Boston Red Sox are set to host the Cleveland Guardians Monday in the first matchup of a four-game series at Fenway Park. With that said, it’s a good time to check out our MLB odds series, which includes our Guardians-Red Sox prediction and pick we have laid out below.

This will mark the second series between the two teams this season, with the first one going completely in the Red Sox’s favor. Boston took all three games in Cleveland last month, outscoring its opponent 18-8. However, the Red Sox have hit a skid right out of the All-Star break — getting pummeled by the Toronto Blue Jays at home in a sweep that included in embarrassing 28-5 defeat. Cleveland is coming off back-to-back losses to the Chicago White Sox, but prior to that had won five consecutive games.

Boston is currently in fourth place in the American League East with a 48-48 record, while the Guardians are three games out of first place in the AL Central at 48-46

Here are the Guardians-Red Sox MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel. 

MLB Odds: Guardians-Red Sox Odds

Cleveland Guardians: -1.5 (+146) ML: -102

Boston Red Sox: +1.5 (-176) ML: -116

Over: 9 (-120)

Under: 9 (-102)

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Why The Guardians Could Cover The Spread

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Opposing pitching is one factor that could work in Cleveland’s favor, especially given recent results. Boston right-hander Nick Pivetta is 8-7 with a 4.50 ERA this season, but things have taken a turn for the worst as of late. He has a 5.66 ERA over his last seven starts, with July in particular having been a disaster. In three starts this month, Pivetta has given up 20 earned runs in 13 1/3 innings, while allowing opponents to post a .390 batting average against him.

Right-hander Zach Plesac will get the start on the mound for Cleveland. He has had a rocky month of July and has experienced inconsistency for much of the year. June was a bright spot, however, as he posted a 2.10 ERA with opponents batting just .207 against him. Plesac has simply been the better of the two starting pitchers, and especially over the last two months.

Both teams have experienced success hitting against right-handed pitching, but the Guardians have been slightly better throughout the course of the season. They rank fourth in the American League in OPS and RBI against righties, and second in batting average. Few players have been as dangerous against right-handed pitching as Cleveland third baseman Jose Ramirez. He leads MLB with 26 doubles and 65 RBI off right-handers, while ranking in the top five in OPS and slugging percentage.

One area that could be a deciding factor is pitching in the late innings. Cleveland holds a slight edge in this department, with its 3.69 ERA sitting 58 points below that of the Red Sox.

Why The Red Sox Could Cover The Spread

Perhaps a good place to start is the fact that things can’t get much worse for the Red Sox, who were outscored 40-10 over the weekend. Pivetta’s track record against the Guardians is also promising, giving up just two earned runs in seven innings in a 6-3 win last month. Pivetta has been stuck in a massive rut all month long, but like his counterpart on the other side, his June performance is a source of positivity. He went 4-1 during the month while posting a 2.25 ERA, which followed a 2.11 ERA for the month on May. And while Plesac has been more productive in July, eight earned runs allowed over his last 14 2/3 innings isn’t exactly something to write home about.

Despite their recent struggles, the Red Sox have held a significant advantage when playing in front of the fans at Fenway Park this year. In terms of home games, they rank fifth in MLB in OPS and slugging percentage, with their .266 batting average being the third-best mark in baseball. Boston has also been the superior team at the plate over the course of the season, ranking well ahead of the Guardians in OPS, slugging percentage and runs scored.

Star third baseman Rafael Devers could be in for a big performance with Plesac on the mound. His 1.031 OPS is the third-best in baseball against right-handers, and he also ranks in the top five in doubles, batting average and slugging percentage. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts is another player to keep an eye on, with 18 doubles, 29 RBI and a .293/.360/.417 slash line against righties in 2022.

Final Guardians-Red Sox Prediction & Pick

It’s tough to justify picking the Guardians covering -1.5 with only +146 on the juice. Likewise, Boston at +1.5 (-176) isn’t enough payoff to trust a team that has lost five straight. With a more productive bullpen and slightly better starting pitching as of late, Cleveland on the moneyline seems to be the play here.

Final Guardians-Red Sox Prediction & Pick: Guardians ML (-102)