The Chicago Cubs ended the longest drought in professional sports history last year when they claimed their first World Series title since 1908 in dramatic fashion over the Cleveland Indians, rallying back from a 3-1 deficit to win it on their opponent’s home field.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
The National League’s Cubs are now +450 co-favorites to repeat as MLB champions, with the American League’s Boston Red Sox also at +450.
Chicago won the NL pennant for the first time since 1945 last year over the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are +1000 to win the 2017 World Series, tied with the Washington Nationals as the fourth choice behind the Cubs, Red Sox and Indians (+800).
The Dodgers knocked out the Nationals in the NL Division Series last year, overcoming a 2-1 deficit to win 3-2. The Cubs also trailed Los Angeles 2-1 before winning three straight to take the pennant.
Cleveland is expected to be much-improved from last year even though the team came within one win of earning its first World Series title since 1948. The Indians still won their sixth pennant but will also face much stiffer competition for their seventh this year due to a significant offseason improvement made by Boston.
While the Tribe will have a much healthier starting rotation this season and added free-agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion from the Toronto Blue Jays (+2000), the Red Sox made arguably the biggest move by picking up ace Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox (+7500) via trade after signing David Price the previous offseason.
The combination of Sale, Price and 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello gives Boston the top rotation in the league and certainly rivals those of Washington and Chicago in the NL.
Other contenders to watch who could win the 2017 World Series include the San Francisco Giants (+1200), Houston Astros (+1400) and New York Mets (+1400).
The Giants blanked the Mets 1-0 in last year’s Wild Card game before falling to the Cubs 3-1 in the NLDS. Starting pitching is strong for both San Francisco and New York, as they combined to win the NL pennant in four of the previous six years before Chicago.
The St. Louis Cardinals (+2200) won the pennant the other two years (2011 and 2013), but they will be hard-pressed to capture it this season in a stacked Central Division featuring the Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates (+4000).
Meanwhile, the Astros have benefited from their move to the AL’s West Division four years ago and hope to get back to the World Series for the first time since 2005, the only time they won a pennant.