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Cubs, Red Sox separate from pack on odds to win 2016 World Series

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The Chicago Cubs’ year-long dominance and the Boston Red Sox’s indomitable second half has indirectly created value on the 2016 World Series champion board at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

With Major League Baseball entering the final weekend of the regular season, the Cubs rate +225 odds of being the champion – less than half of what their odds were at the end of April. Chicago has racked up more than 100 wins and clinched home-field advantage through the NLCS.

Of course, since the Wild Card era began, only four of 26 teams who had the most (or tied for the most) wins have also won the World Series.

The Red Sox, led by a MVP-worthy season by RF Mookie Betts and ace pitching efforts from LHP David Price, have also had their odds come down to +500 from +1000 at the start of September. The Red Sox and Cleveland Indians are only a half-game apart for the American League’s second-best record, so home-field advantage for their ALDS matchup is up for grabs.

Cleveland is listed at +800, but the loss of RHP Danny Salazar will hurt their chances of winning a best-of-seven series.

The Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals are all listed at +650. The Rangers are close to clinching the AL’s best record and earning home-field advantage through the World Series. The Rangers’ strengths in relief pitching and situational hitting will make them a tough out.

Washington has lost C Wilson Ramos to a torn ACL, and ace RHP Stephen Strasburg’s status for the NLDS is up in the air. Two other all-stars, 2B Daniel Murphy (glute) and RF Bryce Harper (thumb), are trying to get healthy.

Toronto has been one of MLB’s poorest hitting teams in September, and has yet to clinch a wild card berth.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who surged to the NL West title largely without LHP Clayton Kershaw, are a value pick at +800. The Baltimore Orioles, at +2800, will be a threat due to their powerhouse lineup and untouchable closer, Zach Britton. Baltimore and Toronto are dead even for the AL wild cards.

The Detroit Tigers and New York Mets are each listed at +2200 on those baseball betting lines. Of those two, Detroit has a tougher road to get into the postseason. New York is in the driver’s seat to host the NL wild card game on Wednesday against either the San Francisco Giants (+2500) or St. Louis Cardinals (+4000). The survivor will have the task of facing the well-rested Cubs.

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.