Boston and Chicago enter the 2017 season as the teams to beat, according to sportsbooks around the country monitored by OddsShark.
Twenty years ago, you probably could have gotten incredible odds on a World Series matchup between the Cubs and Red Sox, as both teams finished under .500 back then and were amid the longest championship droughts in MLB history.
But what a difference two decades can make: For 2017, Chicago and Boston are listed as the co-favorites on the odds to win the World Series at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Cubs are coming off their first championship since 1908 thanks to a remarkable campaign that saw the team rally back from deficits in both the National League Championship Series and World Series. Boasting more or less the same roster that won 103 games and a championship, the Cubs are +450 (bet $100 to win $450) favorites to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since the Yankees did so in 1999 and 2000.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, are the betting favorite on the odds to win the AL East and have put themselves in position to win their fourth title in 14 years thanks to the addition of starting pitcher Chris Sale to a rotation that already has two Cy Young winners in it in David Price and Rick Porcello. Despite the retirement of David Ortiz, Boston's powerful offense and bolstered rotation make the Sox (+450) the favorite to emerge from the American League.
Standing in the way of the Cubs in the National League will again be the Dodgers and the Nationals, who are each at +1000 odds to win the World Series. Los Angeles beat Washington in last year’s NL Division Series before falling to Chicago, and both teams hope they can get better starting pitching and stay healthy when it matters the most.
In the AL, the Indians (+800) should continue to be the toughest competition for the Red Sox after knocking them out in the Division Series en route to the World Series last year. Cleveland, the heavy favorite to win the AL Central, added slugger Edwin Encarnacion from the Blue Jays in the off-season to provide more offense, and the team’s starting pitching could rival Boston’s if it can stay healthy.