160718-rondon-ross-cubs
Getty Images

Cubs leading, Giants gaining on the updated World Series odds

Leave a comment

Where once 29 other teams were looking up, way up, at the Chicago Cubs on the 2016 World Series champion betting lines, surges by several other contenders have led to some revisions by the oddsmakers at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Cubs retain top odds at +375 at the sportsbooks in spite of a recent stretch when they dropped 15 out of 22 games to fall into a three-way race with the San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals for the National League’s best record.

Chicago, which has been coping while leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler spends a spell on the disabled list, has two of the game’s finest young hitters in the corner-infield combo of 3B Kris Bryant and 1B Anthony Rizzo. All five starting pitchers have been durable.

Now might be a good time to place a bet on the outcome in October, since the board will change again once the dust settles after the July 31 trade deadline.

San Francisco, which has built a cushion against the hated Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL West lead, has seen their odds improve to +550 after being listed at +900 in late May.

San Francisco’s front-end starters, LHP Madison Bumgarner and RHP Johnny Cueto, are as good of a 1-2 combo as any other in Major League Baseball. San Francisco, under manager Bruce Bochy, also has their playoff pedigree established during World Series triumphs in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

In terms of being a riser on the World Series odds, the Giants have nothing on either the Texas Rangers at +700 or Cleveland Indians at +750. Texas’ odds have dropped by half since May, as the Rangers have taken the AL West lead on the strength of a balanced lineup and a deep bullpen that eases the burden on LHP Cole Hamels and the starting rotation.

Cleveland’s odds were three times higher in May. The Indians have a solid starting and relief corps with the likes of RHP Corey Kluber and closer Cody Allen. Terry Francona, a former World Series-winning manager, is also getting better than league-average hitting from most of his everyday players, including the solid up-the-middle combo of 2B Jason Kipnis and SS Francisco Lindor.

The Washington Nationals’ odds have fallen to +900. The Nationals’ record and their numbers have been somewhat goosed by being in the thin NL East, but a team with reigning MVP Bryce Harper and RHP Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg could be dangerous in October.

The AL East has a legit three-team race, and the Toronto Blue Jays have the top odds within the division at +1000, with the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox at +1400. Of the three, Toronto has the most motivation to trade for short-term gain with DH Edwin Encarnacion and RF Jose Bautista both in their walk years.

Superstar LHP Clayton Kershaw’s stint on the disabled list has led to the Dodgers’ odds rising to +2000. The New York Yankees have also dropped out of sight to +6600, since the game’s richest franchise is set to be a seller during the next two weeks.

Cubs overwhelming favorite for 2017 World Series futures

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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.

parade_csnchicago

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.