After bolstering their young roster with the free agent signings of outfielder Jason Heyward, infielder Ben Zobrist, and pitcher John Lackey, the Chicago Cubs open spring training as the strong 4/1 betting favorite to claim their first World Series title in over a century at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Cubs look to improve on a 97-win campaign, which equaled their highest win total since they last reached the World Series in 1945, but still have much to prove after being swept by the surprising New York Mets in last year’s NLCS.
New York kicks off spring training alongside the San Francisco Giants at 8/1 on the World Series odds. The Mets saw their MLB futures tumble to 14/1 in early January, but the re-signing of star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has helped buoy the odds of the defending National League champions.
New York proved to be one of the surprises of the 2015 MLB season, opening the campaign at a distant 30/1 in World Series betting before claiming the NL East title with their first winning season since 2008, and reaching the World Series for the first time since 2000.
The Giants won a disappointing 84 games in 2015, to finish eight games back of the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers and out of postseason contention. However, San Francisco made a splash in the offseason, inking free agent starters Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto, moves which have steadily improved futures which trailed at 16/1 in mid-November.
Rounding out the front of the pack are the Dodgers along with the AL East rival Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox, all at 12/1 odds to win the 2016 World Series.
Los Angeles was an early World Series betting favorite a year ago, but struggled at times during the second half before making an early postseason exit for a third straight year.
Conversely, the Blue Jays struggled early on to stay above .500 in 2015 before embarking on a prolific 40-17 run in the final two months of the season to claim their first division title since 1993, followed by a playoff run that ended with a six-game loss to Kansas City in the ALCS.
The Red Sox join the favorites this year after adding pitcher David Price to their rotation.
The Royals follow at 16/1 as they look to repeat as World Series champs in 2016, joined by the Washington Nationals, followed by the Houston Astros at 18/1, and the St. Louis Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Detroit Tigers at 20/1.