Cubs no longer sole favorite to win World Series according to odds

Big League Stew

The first repeat championship in Chicago since the late ’90s Chicago Bulls dynasty has been put on hold. After being favored to win the 2017 World Series all offseason, the Chicago Cubs now have some competition to bring home baseball’s ultimate prize.

That competition is going to come from the Boston Red Sox, according to the oddsmakers over at Bovada. The company released its latest World Series odds Monday, and for the first time all offseason, the Cubs are not the odds-on favorite.

The Cubs and Red Sox are favored to win the World Series. (Bovada.lv)
The Cubs and Red Sox are favored to win the World Series. (Bovada.lv)

The above picture from Bovada shows just how much the odds have changed throughout the offseason. Their last update came Dec. 7, just a day after the Red Sox added Chris Sale in a deal with the Chicago White Sox. That explains why Boston saw its odds take a step forward during that update.

The Cubs will have to share the spotlight with the Red Sox for now. (Getty Images/Scott Olson)
The Cubs will have to share the spotlight with the Red Sox for now. (Getty Images/Scott Olson)

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So, what has changed between Dec. 7 and Feb. 13 to pull the two teams even? Not a whole lot, actually. The Red Sox haven’t really done anything. They added Mitch Moreland and Tyler Thornburg, but both moves happened on Dec. 6, so they don’t really count here.

The Cubs have been more active, but haven’t lost talent. They dealt Jorge Soler to the Kansas City Royals for Wade Davis, and signed Brett Anderson and Koji Uehara. If anything, the Cubs got slightly better over this period. The Red Sox mostly stayed the same. Maybe the oddsmakers saw the latest PECOTA projections and panicked?

It’s possible that the new odds are just a reaction to the overall additions made by both teams all offseason. The Cubs didn’t really go out and make a huge move, opting to keep their core together and supplement it with useful, spare parts. The Red Sox, on the other hand, went all-in for Sale. Boston made the sexier move, and now their odds are rising. It also helps that Andrew Benintendi is getting a lot of love as baseball’s best prospect right now. That could play a role in the improved odds.

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A few other things of note: 

  • The Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals also saw their odds increase over the past two months.

  • The Colorado Rockies saw the biggest jump over that period. They were favored at 75/1 in December. That figure has jumped to 40/1 now. Maybe Bovada really liked the Ian Desmond signing?

  • The White Sox, Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves all saw their odds drop a significant amount. All of those figures make sense. The White Sox and Braves are clearly rebuilding. The Marlins haven’t done much recently.

  • Like long shots? There are six teams tied for the worst World Series odds right now. Those teams are: The Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies, Minnesota Twins, Oakland Athletics and San Diego Padres.

  • Oh, and those pesky Houston Astros … you know, the ones Sports Illustrated predicted would win the 2017 World Series, they saw their odds drop a little, but are still sitting pretty at 14/1.

Now that you’re equipped with all the relevant info, we leave you with this: If we gave you 100 gummy bears to put down on a team of your choice, which team are you leaning toward?

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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