Cubs top World Series futures, but early favorites seldom win

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Neither their price nor recent history makes the Chicago Cubs an enticing play on the latest 2017 World Series champion futures board.

As teams begin spring training in Arizona and Florida, the defending champion Cubs are the +450 favorite on the odds to win the World Series this fall, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Boston Red Sox are close behind at +500, which is also on the low side compared to the prices for other recent World Series-winning champions in mid-February.

It is true that the 2016 Cubs, with their 20-something core led by 3B Kris Bryant, 1B Anthony Rizzo and SS Addison Russell, practically went wire-to-wire as the favorite. The only time they were not at the time was when they were a loss from elimination against the Cleveland Indians in the World Series.

The Cubs, however, were listed at +750 at the outset of spring training last season, and a price in that range would make the current version a much more worthwhile play.

All of the prior six champions had a price ranging from +1600 (the 2015 Kansas City Royals) to +3000 (2013 Boston Red Sox) in the middle of winter. The Cubs’ price is the lowest seen at this point since 2010, when the New York Yankees were at +300. Those Yankees lost in the ALCS to the Texas Rangers, who in turn were defeated by the San Francisco Giants — a one-time +2500 preseason underdog.

If that is any rule of thumb, then the value is in the middle of the board. Considering that they each pushed the Cubs during the playoffs, the San Francisco Giants (+1200) and Los Angeles Dodgers (+1400) are both underrated at this point.

A fast start from the Giants and their starting pitching trio of LHP Madison Bumgarner, RHP Johnny Cueto and RHP Jeff Samardzija would cause their odds to move due to their status as a three-time World Series-winning team. The Dodgers also stack up well, considering that they won 91 games last season even though franchise LHP Clayton Kershaw missed about 10 starts.

With their trade for LHP Chris Sale and the Killer B’s on the field — RF Mookie Betts, SS Xander Bogaerts and CF Jackie Bradley Jr. — the Red Sox deserve the preseason hype. Cleveland (+800) is the third AL champion in a row, after the 2014-15 Kansas City Royals, to win a pennant on pitching and situational hitting, and that can have a shelf life.

One AL team that profiles similarly is the Houston Astros (+1400), who have spent years amassing young talent. With an excellent infield of 2B Jose Altuve, 3B Alex Bregman and SS Carlos Correa, the Astros’ have a fairly wide window to become the first Texas team to win it all.

No team has won back-to-back World Series since the 1998-2000 New York Yankees three-peated. The MLB regular season begins on April 2.

MLB games today: Schedule, start times, matchups, Peacock live stream info for today’s baseball games

Philadelphia Phillies v Pittsburgh Pirates
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The Toronto Blue Jays take on the Pittsburgh Pirates today at 12:00 PM ET on Peacock. See below for additional information on how to watch today’s Blue Jays vs Pirates matchup and the full Sunday schedule of games.

RELATED: MLB schedule 2022: Every Sunday morning baseball game on Peacock, matchups, what to know

What MLB games are on today?

(All times are listed as ET)

Blue Jays @ Pirates – 12:05 PM

Athletics @ Orioles – 1:35 PM

Rangers @ Red Sox – 1:35 PM

Marlins @ Braves – 1:35 PM

Rockies @ Reds – 1:40 PM

Royals @ Tigers – 1:40 PM

Nationals @ Mets – 1:40 PM

Yankees @ Rays – 1:40 PM

Twins @ White Sox – 2:10 PM

Cubs @ Cardinals – 2:15 PM

Mariners @ Guardians – 2:40 PM

Phillies @ Giants – 4:05 PM

Astros @ Angels – 4:07 PM

Brewers @ Diamondbacks – 4:10 PM

Padres @ Dodgers – 7:08 PM


How to watch Toronto Blue Jays vs Pittsburgh Pirates:

  • When: Sunday, September 4
  • Where: PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA
  • Time: 12:00 p.m ET (live coverage begins at 11:30)
  • Live Stream: Watch live on Peacock

How to watch the MLB on Peacock:                           

Baseball is back and for the first time ever MLB games are coming to Peacock this May, featuring a total of 18 Sunday match ups. Click here to sign up for Peacock and watch MLB games live on Sunday mornings!

In addition to MLB games, Peacock will also feature a new MLB hub which will include access to highlight packages and award-winning documentaries from the MLB Film & Video Archive.

Toronto Blue Jays vs Pittsburgh Pirates live on Peacock: How to watch, stream, start time, TV channel for MLB Sunday Leadoff game

It's the Toronto Blue Jays vs Pittsburgh Pirates this Sunday on Peacock! Find out how to watch/live stream the game!
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It’s the Toronto Blue Jays vs Pittsburgh Pirates this Sunday, September 4 at 12:00 PM ET on Peacock. 18 MLB games will be featured on the streaming service this season. Live coverage begins at 11:30 a.m ET. See below for additional information on how to watch the game.

RELATED: MLB teams to play all 29 opponents under ’23 balanced sked

Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays currently sit third in the AL East which puts them in the third and final Wild Card spot if playoffs were to start today. The team has had to overcome a lot of challenges this season so far, including adjusting to interim manager John Schneider, after Toronto parted ways with manager Charlie Montoyo on July 13, but starting pitcher Ross Stripling says that the team has learned to bounce back in spite of adversity.

“I think the word that’s going to follow the 2022 Blue Jays for years to come is ‘streaky,’” Stripling told reporters at MLB.com. “We’ve had more highs and lows this year than any team I’ve been a part of. You won’t see us get too down, because after lows, we’ve had a lot of highs. I think we’re ready to start playing good baseball again.”

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates sit last in NL Central and have the third worst record in Major League Baseball. The team’s bullpen and rotation have struggled all season long and having a young roster has made it difficult for the Pirates to find their identity. Team General Manager Ben Cherington has made it clear that the Pirates will work to find long-term solutions to these struggles in the offseason.

“We understand going into this offseason that one of the ways going forward is to identify areas of the team where we have maybe what you’d call a black hole, where we’re just not getting enough production from this spot or these spots,” Cherington told reporters at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “That’s on us in baseball operations to find a way to solve that going into next year.”

RELATED: MLB schedule 2022: Every Sunday morning baseball game on Peacock, matchups, what to know


How to watch Toronto Blue Jays vs Pittsburgh Pirates:

  • When: Sunday, September 4
  • Where: PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA
  • Time: 12:00 p.m ET (live coverage begins at 11:30)
  • Live Stream: Watch live on Peacock

How to watch the MLB on Peacock:                           

Baseball is back and for the first time ever MLB games are coming to Peacock this May, featuring a total of 18 Sunday match ups. Click here to sign up for Peacock and watch MLB games live on Sunday mornings!

In addition to MLB games, Peacock will also feature a new MLB hub which will include access to highlight packages and award-winning documentaries from the MLB Film & Video Archive.