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Cubs Pulling Away from Pack on Odds to Win World Series

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As the 2016 baseball season enters its second month the Chicago Cubs continue to dominate on the odds to win the World Series at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, riding the best record in baseball to improved +375 odds of claiming their first title in 108 years.

Chicago, which opened the season as the +500 favorite, is tops in multiple team stats going into a weekend series with Pittsburgh, leading the way in both runs scored and team ERA.

While the Cubs continue to pull away from their rivals in both the standings and at the sportsbooks, things have tightened up behind them on the World Series odds.

The Washington Nationals represent the Cubs’ closest competition, at +1000 on the World Series odds board. After powering to a 14-4 start the Nationals have struggled of late, but remain in a dogfight for top spot in the NL East with the defending division champion New York Mets, whom they face six times over the next two weeks.

The Mets currently own baseball’s best defense, holding opponents to 94 total runs through their first 32 contests while lifting their World Series odds slightly to +1100, where they are joined by the biggest surprise of the season, the Chicago White Sox.

The White Sox opened at +3300 but have quickly climbed the odds on the strength of an AL-best 23-12 record. However, they have lost two of their past three series and are just 7-6 over their past 13 games, according to the OddsShark MLB Database.

The Boston Red Sox have silenced the naysayers in the first five weeks of the season with the American League’s top offense, and remain in a battle with the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the AL East, giving their odds a small boost to +1200.

Baltimore has exceeded expectations with their surge to the top of the division standings but have yet to fully convince oddsmakers, who currently peg them well back of the pack at +2500, after opening the season at +4000.

Last season’s offensive leaders, the Toronto Blue Jays, are off to a quieter start this season, averaging just over four runs per game while posting a losing home record through their first 35 games, dropping them to +1400 after opening the campaign at +1000.

The Blue Jays are joined at +1400 by the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, ahead of the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals at +1600, while the surging Seattle Mariners have climbed from +4000 to a solid +1800.

Cubs overwhelming favorite for 2017 World Series futures

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No team has won back-to-back World Series since the turn of the millennium, but the Chicago Cubs are favored to do so after ending their 108-year drought earlier this month.

The Cubs opened 2016 at the top of the board and delivered by winning three elimination games in a row to defeat the Cleveland Indians. The Cubs will return almost all of their nucleus except for free-agent closer Aroldis Chapman, so it is no surprise that Chicago is at the top of the 2017 World Series odds at +350 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

With utilityman Javier Baez, 3B Kris Bryant, 1B Anthony Rizzo, SS Addison Russell and LF Kyle Schwarber all in their peak years, Chicago is well set up to be postseason regulars for years on end.

Only the 1998-2000 New York Yankees have gone back-to-back during the 22-season postseason history of the wild-card era. The afterglow of the Cubs winning has probably inflated the prices for other contenders. The Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers are each listed at +900.

The Red Sox will have five everyday players who will age 28 or younger next season and are rumored to be the landing spot for free-agent DH Edwin Encarnacion, who has turned down a qualifying offer from the rival Toronto Blue Jays.

The Dodgers won the NL West last season even though ace LHP Clayton Kershaw missed a third of the season, so clearly their ceiling could be even higher than last season’s 91 wins.

The Washington Nationals are listed at +1200, on the presumption that they might eventually have a bullpen to buttress the star power of RF Bryce Harper and RHP Max Scherzer.

Washington’s prospectus will change if they go against their emphasis on starting pitching and get in on the bidding war for one of the four prized free-agent closers – Chapman, Greg Holland, Kenley Jansen or Mark Melancon.

Despite coming within one run of winning the World Series, Cleveland is listed at +1400 along with Toronto, the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants.

It seems strange to see the New York Yankees well down the board at +2500, but the Yankees are still in belt-tightening mode and are unlikely to add more payroll.

Best moments from the Chicago Cubs World Series parade

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It’s time.

Chicago Cubs fans waited for more than 100 years to celebrate bringing a title back to Wrigley Field and they wasted no time securing a spot to watch the parade.

Don’t get mad Blackhawks fans, but this was the biggest parade that the city of Chicago has seen since Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

And it lived up to expectations.

Even Grant Park, where the Cubs will be ending their parade, was packed before the parade started.

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Other Cubs fans took to the great outdoors to conduct their parade.

Chicago’s well known for dying its river green on St. Patrick’s Day, but today, it’s blue.

In an incredible twist of irony, Chicago Public schools were scheduled to be closed on Nov. 4th anyway for a school improvement day, but some schools in the Chicagoland area were still given the opportunity to participate in the festivities thanks to a really cool principal.

On the buses, Anthony Rizzo was amped, while team grandpa David Ross discovered how to take a pretty well done selfie.

(Update: Kris Bryant is still wearing the belt.)

Travis Wood just got a little too excited.

Veteran pitcher Jon Lester has been through enough World Series parades to know that when they tell you to sit, there’s probably a good reason.

Walter Payton’s son, Jarrett, found a warm (and rather spacious) spot to watch the parade.

The intro of the day goes to play-by-play man Pat Hughes, who summed up exactly what all Cubs fans are thinking.

“Did anybody go to work today? Did anybody go to school today? Your teachers and bosses are all here, too.”

Theo Epstein reflected on the Cubs’ season and what this World Series meant to the team in an emotional speech at Grant Park. He mentioned that the rain delay during Game 7 was a big deal for the squad, and after introducing Joe Maddon, he relayed that he’s going to continue on his bender.

The Cubs manager also wore a “We Did Not Suck” shirt.

Miguel Montero and Jon Lester kept it short and sweet. Montero just said, “We Are Good!” and Lester called for more cheers for David Ross.

MVP Ben Zobrist spoke a bit longer, giving credit to Anthony Rizzo for playing Rocky movies all week long and David Ross for inspiring the team when the Cubs were down 3-1.

Anthony Rizzo gave credit to nearly every person associated with the Cubs, even giving the final out to owner Tom Ricketts. The most touching moment of the speeches was when the first baseman got emotional when introducing catcher David Ross.

Grandpa Ross revved up the crowd with a major CHICAGO, thanked his family, and then did the most millennial thing of all time.

He took a selfie with the crowd.

We made it through nearly the entire parade before we found the Cubs’ J.R. Smith: Travis Wood, who lost his shirt as Brett Eldredge closed out the event with a rousing rendition of “Go Cubs Go”.

For a celebration 108 years in the making, a turnout of 5 million people is tremendous.

Enjoy it, Chicago.