February 14th is a very special date for the passionate ones, for passionate sports fans and bettors we mean. Chicago’s pitchers and catchers report to spring training on Feb. 14. Teams are heading to Spring Training with great anticipation. Betting lines are being led by The World Champion Chicago Cubs which means Opening Day is drawing near and the excitement is in the air.
It’ll be hard for the Chicago Cubs to improve on a 2016 season in which the team ended a 108-year World Series drought, but Joe Maddon’s club appears to be in good shape for another strong run.
The beginning of their title defense is set for April 2 in St. Louis against the Cardinals at 8:35 p.m.
Most transactions are complete at this point, and this leads casinos and sports betting establishments to release their projects for the 2017 season.
The Chicago Cubs are set to be competitive for years with their nucleus of 20-somethings, but at this juncture their price tag on the 2017 World Series champion futures board is far too low.
While no team has repeated as champs since the three-peat by the New York Yankees from 1998 to 2000, the Cubs top the board at +450 at online sportsbooks. The Boston Red Sox, who added LHP Chris Sale to their rotation and also have a strong lineup, are the second favorite at +500.
The Cubs, who are led off the field by president Theo Epstein, a three-time World Series-winning executive, also have a young core with 3B Kris Bryant, 1B Anthony Rizzo and SS Addison Russell. But +450, or 9/2 odds, are little bang for the buck. The same might be said of the aforementioned Red Sox at +500, or 5/1.
The off-season moves, or lack thereof, from the Cleveland Indians (+800) and Washington Nationals (+900) are also concerning, at this time. Cleveland added right-handed power by getting a bargain price on DH-1B Edwin Encarnacion, but a team built around pitching and defense has a big question mark in centerfield, where backup Tyler Naquin is first up to try to win the job.
What makes the Cubs the favorite? Simply depth. The versatility of players like Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Ben Zobrist, and talented back-ups providing much-needed help in case of injury. Also, the makeup of the bullpen is improved with Wade Davis and Koji Uehara signing this offseason. Add this to the top defense and pitching staff, and the Cubs look great on paper.
Odds are just odds, and it is rare that they are exact come season’s end. However, they’re often a good indicator of standings within the divisions. For example, last year, the same sports book picked the Cubs to be the top team in the NL Central with 89 wins. This was followed by the Cardinals at 87.5 wins, the Pittsburg Pirates with 87, and the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds with 71.5 and 71 wins, respectively. While the win totals were off, most were close. What was correct was the finishing order. The Spring training is a good spot to start monitoring betting lines, get in the action at HeritageSports.eu.