As the one-month mark of the Major League Baseball season approaches, the Chicago Cubs’ price in World Series futures offers more payoff for bettors.
The Cubs are now listed at +400 on the 2017 World Series odds according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. That is higher than the +280 odds at which the Northsiders opened, as they have had a good if not dominant start as they try to become the first team to repeat since the 1998-2000 Yankees.
The Cleveland Indians, who of course were one run from winning it all last season, have come down to +650 from an opening +800. The reality with Cleveland is that while top starting pitchers Corey Kluber and Danny Salazar have been hit hard in early season starts, they are well-constructed for the playoffs with the 1-2 punch of Andrew Miller and Cody Allen out in the bullpen.
Other teams whose prices have been pared downward include the Houston Astros (+800). Houston has a well-balanced everyday lineup and could stay under the radar for some time to come since righty starter Collin McHugh is expected to miss six weeks due to an impingement in his right elbow.
The Boston Red Sox (+800) and Washington Nationals (+900) have stayed at roughly the same spot in the hierarchy of contenders. Each team has excellent potential.
Anyone inclined to believe this is the year when Boston’s rebuild pays off might want to see how their current spate of injuries – 2B Dustin Pedroia, 3B Pablo Sandoval, LHP David Price and super-utility player Brock Holt are each nursing various aches and pains – pans out. It’s not just about players missing games, but how long their timing and top form is affected.
The Baltimore Orioles (+2000) have only nudged the needle slightly with oddsmakers – they opened at +2200 – in spite of having one of the strongest Aprils across MLB. The Orioles have a reputation for living and dying by the home run but are actually in the middle of the American League in deep flies and have received strong pitching.
A team with relief ace Zach Britton could also be well-equipped to follow the Cleveland model in October – ride the bullpen and take advantage of the chill that fall weather puts into opponents’ power bats.
The three biggest fallers on the MLB futures are in the American League, with the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays (all +3300) taking it on the chin for slow starts. While it’s tempting to buy low, it’s better to wait and see some signs of progress.