Updated 2016 MLB World Series Betting Odds
We are less than two full months into the 2016 Major League Baseball season. But June 1 is often a good time to take stock of where teams are and if they are legitimate World Series contenders. The current favorite on the MLB betting lines to win the Fall Classic is the team that has the longest title drought in baseball but also the best record: the Chicago Cubs. They are +250 favorites.
A Closer Look at the Updated 2016 MLB World Series Betting Odds
— #VoteCubs (@Cubs) June 2, 2016
Barring a major injury, and the Cubs already lost outfielder/catcher/DH Kyle Schwarber early this season to a blown-out knee that will keep him out until 2017, then the Cubs are going to win the NL Central Division as they have the biggest lead in baseball. Simply put, the Cubs have the deepest team in baseball. They could also have at least half of the starting NL All-Star team.
MLB gave its first All-Star voting update of the season on Wednesday, and Cubs players are leading at all infield positions: first baseman Anthony Rizzo, second baseman Ben Zobrist, shortstop Addison Russell and third baseman Kris Bryant. Add center fielder Dexter Fowler, who is among the three NL outfield vote leaders, and it’s a Cubs quintet. That that doesn’t even include star pitcher Jake Arrieta, who could be a sixth starting Cub if things continue to go his way on the mound. Fans don’t pick pitchers for the All-Star teams, the managers do. The NL manager is the Mets’ Terry Collins.
I somewhat doubt that Russell holds onto his spot and he really shouldn’t, but the other four probably will. They all deserve to go, as would Arrieta. Zobrist has never been an All-Star starter. Rizzo was the NL’s starting designated hitter last year in Cincinnati, his second straight All-Star selection, Bryant was a rookie All-Star reserve last year. Fowler has never been an All-Star.
So how much does it matter that the Cubs lead the NL Central as of June 1? Since 1996, the first full season with at least one wild card, 69 of 120 division champions held that division lead on June 1 (58 percent). The 69 teams have been almost evenly split between the American League (34) and the National League (35).
However, in the last nine seasons, no NL team with a division lead on June 1 has gone on to win the World Series. Three AL teams — the 2013 Red Sox, 2009 Yankees and 2007 Red Sox — have done so.
The San Francisco Giants are +650 second-favorites to win the World Series and of course it’s an even-numbered year so it’s their time. They won the Fall Classic in 2010, ’12 and ’14 despite not being favored to do so in any of those postseasons. The Giants probably have a better overall pitching staff than the Cubs and they have a proven playoff performer in Madison Bumgarner, who had a historic playoffs in 2014.
He was that year’s NLCS and World Series MVP. In the Fall Classic seven-game win over Kansas City, Bumgarner became is the first player to record two wins, a shutout and a save in a single World Series. He finished the series allowing just one run over 21 innings, good for a 0.43 ERA that’s the lowest in a single World Series (minimum 15 innings) since Los Angeles Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax posted a 0.38 mark over 24 innings against the Minnesota Twins in the 1965 World Series. Bumgarner owns a 0.25 career ERA through 36 innings in the World Series, making him the all-time leader among all pitchers who have thrown 25 or more innings.
The top American League team on betting lines is AL East leader Boston at +1000 — the Red Sox don’t have the pitching to match the Cubs or Giants but have the highest-scoring offense in the majors.