For the first time in over a century, the Chicago Cubs are the World Series favorites this year. Somewhere, a billy goat just baaed.
Let that sink in for a moment. A team that hasn’t won the Fall Classic since 1908 – and hasn’t even been to the World Series since 1945 – is favored at the start of the year to win the World Series. It’s the first time the Cubbies have been the favorite in World Series futures in more than six decades.
Of course, it’s easy to buy into the hype surrounding the Cubs. They won 97 games last season and ended up eight wins away from that coveted title.
Most believe they have the best young lineup in baseball with Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber anchoring the bats, and Jake Arrieta is coming off of a 22-win season in which he had three shutouts. Bringing in Ben Zobrist as a utility man and Jason Heyward to cover one of the corner outfield spots only makes this lineup stronger.
Imagine the Cubs as World Series Winners
The stories around the Cubs winning the World Series would be amazing. Joe Maddon, the manager who willed the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays to the World Series would immediately be sent to the Hall of Fame, while Theo Epstein, the man who was the architect behind the Boston Red Sox finally winning the World Series after 86 years would become known as the man strong enough to break both the Curse of the Billy Goat and the Curse of the Bambino.
World Series Odds: Not Just the Cubs
The Cubs might be the +670 favorites to win it all, but they’ve got company this year in World Series futures betting. The NL Central alone is going to be a war, as the St. Louis Cardinals (+1608) and Pittsburgh Pirates (+2024) aren’t any worse for the wear following the offseason and should again be threats to win 90+ games.
Over in the NL West, the Los Angeles Dodgers (+1062) again have one of the highest payrolls in baseball and are always threats to go out and make trades at the deadline to bring in high-profile players, while the San Francisco Giants (+1006) have restocked their pitching staff by putting together a trio of Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, giving them the most feared starting rotation in baseball.
We also haven’t mentioned the Washington Nationals, who were the favorites in World Series predictions last year and are +1235 to win it all in 2016. There’s also the New York Mets, who have the best young pitching staff in the game and are coming off of a trip to the World Series last year. New York is +1109 to capture the title.
Of course, we also shouldn’t forget about Epstein’s former employers, who also made a massive splash in the offseason. Not only did the BoSox’ signing of David Price immediately give them the ace they’ve coveted for the last few years, but it also took away the ace of the Toronto Blue Jays. These teams were separated by 15 games last year in the standings in the AL East, but now, they’re basically right next to each other at 12 to 1 and 13 to 1, respectively, to win the Fall Classic.
The Tough Choices in Baseball Betting This Season
What makes the AL so tough this year is that there are so many middling teams. You could make a case for the New York Yankees and their bullpen, with Aroldis Chapman set to be a seventh inning pitcher in front of Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, winning it all at +2301 just as easily as you could see the splurging Chicago White Sox, who went out and picked up Brett Lawrie, Todd Frazier and Mat Latos, making a run at +3572.
Out west, both the Seattle Mariners (+3300) and the Texas Rangers (+1954) are considered sharp plays, and we haven’t even mentioned the perennial challengers, the Los Angeles Angels (+2662), or the team that went on the magical run last year, the Houston Astros (+1445).
And then there are the champs. The Kansas City Royals (+1582) aren’t as good this year as they were a season ago. They no longer have Zobrist or Cueto, and they don’t have nearly as many assets to go and make a trade as they did at the deadline last year. However, Ned Yost has learned to push all the right buttons, and it’s really hard to say that a team that has made trips to the World Series each of the last two years can’t do it again.
Odds to Win the World Series at BookMaker.eu:
Arizona Diamondbacks +2500
Atlanta Braves +13000
Baltimore Orioles +5058
Boston Red Sox +1348
Chicago Cubs +670
Chicago White Sox +3572
Cincinnati Reds +11990
Cleveland Indians +2181
Colorado Rockies +16500
Detroit Tigers +2514
Houston Astros +1445
Kansas City Royals +1582
Los Angeles Angels +2662
Los Angeles Dodgers +1062
Miami Marlins +4376
Milwaukee Brewers +15000
Minnesota Twins +5500
New York Mets +1109
New York Yankees +2301
Oakland Athletics +7964
Philadelphia Phillies +25000
Pittsburgh Pirates +2024
San Diego Padres +11500
Seattle Mariners +3300
San Francisco Giants +1006
St. Louis Cardinals +1608
Tampa Bay Rays +4909
Texas Rangers +1954
Toronto Blue Jays +1200
Washington Nationals +1235
Picking your favorites, but not sure where to start with pre-season predictions? Check out Futures Betting in Sports: An Introduction
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