Bookmakers peg the Chicago Cubs as the prohibitive favorite to win the World Series.
The Cubs, which entered the season and postseason as the favorites, do so again for the Fall Classic. Bettors lay down $190 to win $100 for the Windy City North Siders. The bookies pay out $170 on a winning bet of $100 on the Cleveland Indians.
Back in April, a $100 bet on Cleveland to win it all offered a $2,000 payout. A similar $100 bet on the Cubs offered $500.
The Cubs ranked fifth in payroll, which perhaps understates the value of the talent they field on account of the great number of young players not yet eligible for free agency, in 2016. Salaries of the Indians came in about $70 million less at $115 million, giving them the 22nd ranking in MLB. Whereas the Indians boast a manager with tons of postseason experience in Terry Francona, the Cubs possess a brilliant baseball imagination in Joe Maddon who lacks a ring as a manager. Crucially, the Indians own home-field advantage on account of the American League’s 4-2 victory at the All-Star Game.
The Cubs edged the Giants in five games in the NLDS and took six games to finish off the Dodgers. The Indians swept the Red Sox and the steamrolled over the Blue Jays in five games to win the American League pennant.
While bookies say the Cubs win the series, history suggests that both teams lose. The Indians last won the World Series in 1948 and the Cubs last took the crown four decades before that. The clubs combine for 168 years of failure. Chances are one club loses their loser mystique in winning.