Two Major League Baseball teams that recently broke decades-long World Series droughts, the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox, will square off in the 2017 Fall Classic — at least according to Las Vegas oddsmakers who are greeting the opening of the MLB season this week by installing those two venerable teams as favorites to win the National and American League pennants.
If those picks prove accurate, the 2017 World Series would be played in baseball’s two oldest and most beloved parks — Wrigley Field in Chicago which opened in 1914, and the even older Fenway Park in Boston. The Red Sox home park opened its doors in 1912.
In 2004, the Red Sox brought a World Series title to Boston for the first time in 86 years. Boston had won its last World Series before 2004 in 1918. But if the oddsmakers are correct this season, the 2017 World Series will be a rematch, because the Red Sox’ opponent in the 1918 series was the Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs, of course, defeated the Cleveland Indians in last year’s World Series, finally ending a championship dry spell of a staggering 108 years. Before winning the 2016 championship, the Cubs last won a Word Series when they defeated the Detroit Tigers in 1908.
The odds favoring the Cubs and Red Sox come from the online Vegas sports book Bovada, which gives both the Red Sox and Cubs 9-2 odds to win the World Series. Those odds can also be expressed as a “money line” of +450, meaning that a wager of $100 would earn the winning bettor a profit of $450.
The Westgate Las Vegas Sports Book, however, sees things a little differently. Based on betting patterns as the 2017 MLB season opens on Sunday, Westgate gives the Cubs 7-2 odds, or +350, to return to the World Series. But in the American League, Westgate has installed last year’s AL World Series representative the Cleveland Indians as favorites to make a second straight trip to the Series, at 5-1 odds to win, or +500.
The Red Sox are the second favorites in the AL, according to the Westgate odds, at 7-1.
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One of the main reasons that the Red Sox, who won last year’s AL East Division pennant only to be swept 3-0 by the Indians in the Divison Series playoff round, are favored to get to the World Series by at least one leading Vegas sports book, is the team’s offseason acquisition of former White Sox ace Chris Sale.
The Red Sox sent five prospects, including infielder Yoan Moncada who had been the top prospect in their organization, to Chicago for Sale. Not surprisingly, the 28-year-old is now a 4-1 Vegas oddsmakers’ favorite to win the AL Cy Young Award in 2017. If that bet pays off, it will give the Red Sox their second consecutive Cy Young winner, after right Rick Porcello posted a 22-4 record to narrowly defeat his former Tigers teammate Justin Verlander for the honor.
But the Cubs have their own Vegas favorite for a major postseason award, as 25-year-old, third-year third baseman Kris Bryant has been installed as the NL Most Valuable Player favorite by Bovada at odds of 11-4, or +275.
At the same time, the Red Sox have an MVP candidate in the AL as well. According to Bovada, 24-year-old Boston centerfielder Mookie Betts is a 5-1 shot to win the award, second only to the Los Angeles Angels centerfielder Mike Trout who is favored to win what would be his third MVP award in four years.
[Featured Image By Jim Rogash/Getty Images]