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.