Less than 24 hours after the Chicago Cubs won their first title in 108 years, there’s already talk of the team repeating next season. The champs are the early favorites to win the 2017 World Series.
The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook has given Chicago 3/1 betting odds to win the Fall Classic for a second straight year, per ESPN. No other team has odds that are particularly close, and the Cubs have the potential to be good for many years to come.
After getting swept in last year’s NLCS, the Cubs began the 2016 MLB season with the best title odds. Leading the league with 103 wins, they maintained their position as the favorites throughout the entirety of the regular season.
The Cubs have a young, talented team and most of their best players are signed for the foreseeable future. MVP candidates Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are both under the team’s control through the 2021 season. Ace Jon Lester is signed through 2021, as well, and Kyle Hendricks, who had the best ERA of any starter in baseball, won’t become a free agent until after the 2020 season. Jake Arrieta and John Lackey might both leave as free agents after the 2017 season, but they’ll continue to give Chicago MLB’s best rotation as they try to defend their title.
Once Theo Epstein helped the Boston Red Sox break their infamous “curse” in 2004, the franchise’s culture of losing changed and Boston went on to win three championships in a decade. Now the President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs, Epstein might deliver a similar sustained period of success to Chicago, which has a bright future with the potential to win multiple titles in a short period of time.
But no matter how talented the Cubs are, baseball is not conducive to producing repeat champions. MLB has fewer postseason spots than any other major sport, and short series allow for early-round upsets. The 2000 New York Yankees were the last team to win back-to-back titles.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals are considered to be the biggest threats to Chicago in the National League, though their odds of winning the 2017 Fall Classic are more than three times worse. The two teams that met in the NLDS have 10/1 championship odds.
Boston is the favorite in the American League with 10/1 odds, putting them ahead of the Cleveland Indians. The Indians swept the Red Sox in the ALDS before blowing a 3-1 World Series lead, and they are tied with the Houston Astros and New York Mets with 12/1 odds.
The Toronto Blue Jays (14/1), San Francisco Giants (16/1) and Texas Rangers (16/1) all have better than 20/1 championship odds. The Yankees are in the middle of the pack with 25/1 odds, and nine teams are tied as the biggest long shots with 100/1 odds.