The Chicago Cubs (53-35) may have lost 15 of 21 heading into the MLB All-Star break, but that has not stopped oddsmakers from keeping them as the favorites to win the National League pennant this season.
The Cubs are listed as +170 favorites (bet $100 to win $170) to win their first pennant since 1945 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, with four other teams also in the mix as top contenders in the NL.
Chicago’s slump should not be a big concern, but the team’s starting rotation could be if the pitchers do not turn things around early in the second half.
Those opponents viewed as the main competition for the NL Central-leading Cubs all have at least two solid starters, including the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants (57-33), NL East-leading Washington Nationals (54-36), New York Mets (47-41) and Los Angeles Dodgers (51-40).
The Giants are the +275 second choice to win the pennant for the fourth time in seven years followed by the Nationals (+400), Mets (+800) and Dodgers (+850).
The American League race for the pennant is a bit tighter, as six teams are listed below +1000, led by the Texas Rangers (54-36) at +250.
The AL West-leading Rangers have the league’s best record even though they have dropped nine of 12. They will get a chance to show they are among baseball’s elite teams when they open the second half with a three-game interleague series at Chicago to kick off a nine-game road trip.
The AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians (52-36) are the only team in their division with a positive run differential, and they look to be for real as one of the leading favorites at +375 to win the pennant.
The Detroit Tigers (46-43), defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals (45-43) and Chicago White Sox (45-43) are also in the mix but have worse odds at +1600, +1400, and +2000 to win the pennant, respectively.
However, the best divisional race of all might be in the AL East, where there are three strong contenders to win the league championship. The Toronto Blue Jays (51-40) have the worst record of the three but are +550 to win the pennant followed by the division-leading Baltimore Orioles (51-36) and Boston Red Sox (49-38), both at +700.