No team in baseball has more wins than the Chicago Cubs right now, which is one of the main reasons why sportsbooks have continued to drop their odds to win the 2016 World Series.
A late swoon seems unlikely for the Cubs, as a National League Central title is within reach with a double-digit lead over the St. Louis Cardinals. Chicago is a strong +290 favorite (bet $100 to win $290) to win its first championship since 1908 at online sportsbook Bovada, and there do not appear to be many other top contenders.
The Washington Nationals are the +575 second choice to win the World Series behind the Cubs, but they just put ace Stephen Strasburg on the disabled list due to soreness in his right elbow. Strasburg has a history of injuries and will be needed if the Nationals are going to keep Chicago from winning the National League pennant.
Strasburg had lost three straight starts after beginning the season with an outstanding 15-1 mark, making him the favorite to win the NL Cy Young Award. Now, that may go to somebody else.
The Cubs are led by NL MVP favorite Kris Bryant and have had stronger pitching overall this year outside of ace and 2015 NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta. Jon Lester has bounced back from a disappointing campaign in the Windy City to become the pitcher the team hoped he would be when signing him to a massive $155 million deal over six years in December of 2014.
The main concern in Chicago is what will happen in October with a history of postseason failure for more than a century.
The San Francisco Giants are the only other real threat in the NL at +1000 odds to win the World Series after taking home the championship the last three even-numbered years. San Francisco was the league’s team to beat heading into the MLB All-Star break, but both Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto have cooled off considerably, and the team is now battling the Los Angeles Dodgers (+1000) for the NL West title.
The Dodgers are hoping to see ace Clayton Kershaw return from a back injury for the playoffs and could also be a tough team from a matchup perspective if he’s healthy.
In the American League, the Texas Rangers (+700), Toronto Blue Jays (+850), Cleveland Indians (+900) and Boston Red Sox (+1000) are all in the mix to win the pennant along with the Baltimore Orioles (+1600). The Rangers have been the best team in the league for most of the season and could challenge the Cubs if Yu Darvish and Colby Lewis can join Cole Hamels in the postseason rotation.
The AL East race remains the most intriguing to watch in the final month of the regular season because the Blue Jays, Red Sox and Orioles all have weaknesses. Toronto is probably the most well-rounded of the three between hitting and pitching, making the team the best bet to not only win the division but also advance the furthest in the postseason.