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.

Value in 2018 MLB Pennant Odds Ranges Beyond Astros, Yankees, Dodgers

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Only three teams have won consecutive pennants in the last 16 Major League Baseball seasons, which should be a nudge to look beyond the teams about to unfurl flags celebrating 2017 success.

Three weeks out from Opening Day, the defending World Series champion Houston Astros and the New York Yankees are +275 co-favorites on the odds to win the 2018 American League pennant  and the Los Angeles Dodgers have the National League’s top prop at +225, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Astros have a strong chance to repeat as AL champions thanks to the prospect of having a full season of both Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander in the starting rotation, which should upgrade a pitching staff that had just the 11th-best earned-run average in MLB in 2017. The hype over the Aaron Judge-Giancarlo Stanton show has pushed the Yankees’ price below 3-to-1, but a wait-and-see approach should be taken with New York, since both sluggers could regress.

The Cleveland Indians (+325) and Boston Red Sox (+600) round out the top of the AL board. The Minnesota Twins (+1800), who have quietly improved and play in a shallow AL Central division, could be a surprise.

Over in the National League, the Dodgers still look scary at bat and on the mound and could benefit from getting a push in the NL West, where the San Francisco Giants (+1000), Arizona Diamondbacks (+1200) and Colorado Rockies (+1800) have no time for tanking. Iron sharpens iron, after all.

The Washington Nationals (+350) and Chicago Cubs (+375) likely won’t face such a deep group of challengers in their respective divisions, the NL East and NL Central. Since the Nationals are in a now-or-never situation with one-time MVP Bryce Harper due to become a free agent, there is some appeal in putting a bet down just to tap into that urgency in Washington. The Cubs should field a playoff-calibre team, but whether they ever re-capture their 2016 postseason magic remains to be seen.

It’s probably best to fade the St. Louis Cardinals (+900) and the aforementioned Giants, whose prices on the 2018 National League pennant odds owe more to history or recent success than the outlook on the field in 2018. Bettors seeking a sleeper have a far greater return by taking, say, Colorado, which has an exciting lineup built around third baseman Nolan Arenado and made the 2017 playoffs with the second-youngest pitching staff in all of MLB.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Dodgers head into spring training as World Series betting favorite

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While trading for Giancarlo Stanton gives the New York Yankees a pair of 50-home run hitters in their lineup, the sharps still believe pitching and depth are the name of the game in World Series futures.

Coming off a seven-game loss in the 2017 Fall Classic, the Los Angeles Dodgers are +500 favorites on the 2018 World Series odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. As spring training gets underway in Arizona and Florida, there’s a big three at the top of the board, with the aforementioned Yankees (+550) and the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros (+550) offering a just slightly higher price than the Dodgers.

Major League Baseball has gone 17 consecutive seasons without a repeat champion and only three teams (2008-09 Philadelphia Phillies, 2010-11 Texas Rangers and 2014-15 Kansas City Royals) have made back-to-back World Series appearances. It’s possible the game is overdue for a change.

Both Houston and Los Angeles had more than 100 regular-season wins in 2017 despite the fact the best pitchers on either staff, the Astros’ Justin Verlander (late August trade) and the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (injury), weren’t around for the full season. However, both teams still have a young core.

Adding Stanton as a big bat to go with Aaron Judge means the Yankees’ price has dropped by half from an opening +1100, days after the World Series. However, with TV analyst-turned-skipper Aaron Boone as a rookie manager, the Yankees will be trying to become only the fifth team to win the World Series with a first-year manager. Only one of the previous four – the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks – has come since the wild-card era began.

The Washington Nationals (+800), Cleveland Indians (+850), Boston Red Sox (+1000) and Chicago Cubs (+1000) are the only other teams at 10/1 or less. Considering its success over the last two seasons, Cleveland could be undervalued. Wariness about Washington stemming from its failure to advance past the NLDS is understandable, but the Nationals are in a do-or-done scenario with superstar rightfielder Bryce Harper in his contract year.

Adding Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani, a pitcher-outfielder, has brought the Los Angeles Angels’ price down to +2800, from an opening +5000. Expecting one player to have that much impact in his first season stateside seems like a tall order.

The deep sleeper might be the Colorado Rockies (+5000), who have one of MLB’s most productive infields with third baseman Nolan Arenado, second baseman DJ LeMahieu and shortstop Trevor Story. Colorado’s prospects are contingent on either wrestling the NL West title from the Dodgers or winning the “best of one” wild-card series.

For more odds info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.