The World Series between the Chicago Clubs and Cleveland Indians throws its first pitch tonight at Progressive Field just steps from where LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will tipoff their season as NBA defending champs.
Together, it’s been 174 seasons of baseball since the Cubs or Indians have won a World Series. Chicago’s last title came in 1908, making Cleveland’s win in 1948 seem like just yesterday.
Baseball fans, and sports followers in general, are enthusiastic for the matchup between the two storied yet troubled franchises. And in Nevada, sportsbooks are readying for the intense action.
William Hill Director Nick Bogdanovich believes the 2016 Fall Classic has the potential to attract more bets than any other World Series in history.
“It has a chance,” Bogdanovich told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Because the sports betting handle is at an all-time high and the Cubs are involved.”
Reverse the Curse
It’s rare today in the high-spending professional sports world that two such drought-stricken teams are vying against one another for a Big Four sports title. That’s why oddsmakers in Las Vegas think the handle could be record-breaking.
While Chicago is statistically the better team, Cleveland finally doused its title drought in June when the Cavs won the NBA Finals and gave the city its first championship in 52 years.
But the Cubbies had the best record in baseball in 2016, and enter the World Series with one of the most dominant starting rotations the game has ever seen. Led by Jon Lester (19-5, 2.44 ERA), the Cubs have four starters who won at least 15 games during the regular season.
Cleveland’s rotation was nearly as good, but two late-season injuries to Carlos Carrasco (11-8, 3.32 ERA) and Danny Salazar (11-6, 3.87 ERA) forced its bullpen to shine in the postseason. And boy has it shined.
Led by reliever Andrew Miller, the AL Championship Series MVP, the Indians’ pen has been nearly perfect. The challenge in the World Series for the Tribe will be getting their starters deep enough into games before handing the ball over to their stellar relievers.
Both offenses are capable of scoring runs in bunches, but according to the experts in Vegas, the Cubs’ pitching will be too much.
“Somebody new is going to win it, and that’s the good part,” Wynn Las Vegas sports book manager John Avello told the Review-Journal.
If you’re one of the thousands expected to place a wager on the 2016 World Series, here are the offerings:
- The Westgate SuperBook has the Cubs favored at -210, and the Indians the underdog at +180 to win the Series.
- Online site Bovada is offering slightly better odds for Cubs fans, but worse for the Cleveland faithful. Bovada has Chicago at -185 and Cleveland at +165.
- Indians fans will find their best odds at Wynn’s sportsbook. The casino has Chicago at -220 and Cleveland at +190.
Individual game lines are also being offered at Nevada sportsbooks, and they too favor Chicago in tonight’s game one. Lester takes on Cleveland’s ace Corey Kluber (18-9, 3.14 ERA).