Cleveland Indians Offer Most Betting Value Going Into World Series

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The Cleveland Indians come into a historic World Series matchup as the underdog, but the shifting odds might underrate how Terry Francona has re-invented pitcher usage.

With the series opening at Progressive Field on Tuesday, Cleveland is listed at +170 in series prices whereas the Cubs are the -190 favorite, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Chicago has gone nearly wire to wire at the top of the World Series futures board all season, and their odds during the postseason have never been lower than +250. At the outset of October, Cleveland had the longest odds of any division champion at +900 before going 7-1 to win the pennant.

Generally, the Cubs have been credited with the edge in starting pitching and defense, while the Indians possess the more diverse offense and the scarier bullpen.

For Game 1, the Cubs are the slight -112 favorite at the sportsbooks and the Indians have a -102 payout. The total is listed at 6.5 runs. Cleveland RHP Corey Kluber will start against Chicago LHP Jon Lester.

Kluber has pinpoint control, which suggests he won’t come unraveled against the Cubs’ teamwide plate discipline. The righty has faced the Cubs’ regulars only once this season, working three scoreless innings during  a spring training game in March.

The five-day respite since bouncing the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS presumably helps the bullpen of LHP Andrew Miller and RHP Cody Allen brace for more big workloads. The specter of having Miller, who’s been unhittable in the playoffs, come in as early in the sixth inning could have an effect on Cubs’ batters.

Cleveland’s lineup, whose power comes from 1B Mike Napoli, DH Carlos Santana and 2B Jason Kipnis, scored only 16 runs during the five-game ALCS against the Blue Jays. That might not suffice against the Cubs, who have almost a seven in 10 chance of winning the World Series according to website PredictionMachine.com.

Lester, who has spent most of his career in the American League, has a 3.72 ERA but a tidy opponents’ slash line of .225/.301/.329 (batting, on-base, slugging) in eight starts in Cleveland.

The Cubs scored 23 runs and had 33 hits in the last three wins of their NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The shorter break might assist 1B Anthony Rizzo, 3B Kris Bryant and SS Addison Russell with carrying over their NLCS success. Kyle Schwarber, who has not played since tearing an ACL in April, is expected to be the Cubs’ DH.

Francona and Cubs manager Joe Maddon have been opposing managers 133 times. Maddon has the slight 69-64 edge, including 5-3 in playoff games.

Cleveland is 14-6 over its last 20 home games against NL teams, and the total has gone over 12 times, according to the OddsShark MLB Database. Chicago is 13-7 over its last 20 road games against AL teams, and the total has gone over eight times.

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.