Cubs Clear Favorite on Odds to Win World Series as MLB Playoffs Begin

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The way the end of the Major League Baseball regular season played out has caused some shuffling on the 2016 World Series champion futures board.

The Chicago Cubs retain the +225 top odds that they possessed entering the last week of the season, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Cubs, who led all of baseball with 103 wins, have had weeks to set up their rotation for a NLDS matchup between the  winner of Wednesday’s wild card game between the New York Mets (+1600) and San Francisco Giants (+2000).

Chicago also has a 27.6 percent chance of winning the World Series, tops in the league, entering the playoffs according to the simulations run by website PredictionMachine.com.

The Texas Rangers, who have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, are the second favorite at +500. The Rangers are an astounding 36-11 in one-run games, which could be their hole card in the postseason. Texas awaits the wild card game winner, either the Baltimore Orioles (+2000) or Toronto Blue Jays (+1200).

The Boston Red Sox are listed at +600 while the Cleveland Indians are at +800 in spite of having a potential extra home game in their ALDS showdown. The Red Sox went 19-10 after August 31 to win the AL East, while Cleveland went 16-13 in that span.

The set NLDS foes, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals, are also listed at +600. Two aces, Washington’s Max Scherzer and Los Angeles’ Clayton Kershaw, will likely go head-to-head in Game 1 and in a potential Game 5.

The Blue Jays are a -150 favorite against the +135 underdog Orioles in the AL wild card game on Tuesday. The total is 8.5. Toronto is 12-7 at home against Baltimore over the last two seasons. The total went over in 11 of those 19 games.

The Blue Jays are starting RHP Marcus Stroman, even though he has a 7.04 ERA in four starts this season vs. Baltimore, with a .344 opponents’ batting average. Toronto has LHP Nelson Liriano and RHP Marco Estrada available. Baltimore is throwing RHP Chris Tillman, who had a 3.63 ERA and .250 opponents’ average in four starts vs. Toronto.

The Orioles also have a near-untouchable closer with LHP Zach Britton.

The NL wild card game is a toss-up befitting a pitching showdown between LHP Madison Bumgarner and RHP Noah Syndergaard. Bumgarner’s San Francisco Giants are listed at -103, with Syndergaard’s New York Mets a razor-thin -107 favorite. The total is 6.0.

The Giants are 6-4 on the road against the Mets at Citi Field since 2014. The Giants are 5-1 against the Mets in Bumgarner starts. The lefty has handcuffed the Mets to the count of a 1.80 ERA and .189 batting average in those six starts. Syndergaard is 1-2 with a 3.66 ERA and .243 opponents’ average in three career starts against the Giants.