My how things have changed. It used to be that the thought of a World Series between the Cubs and Red Sox was laughable, but MLB futures odds say that's what we're going to get.
It's the beauty of spring, when all 30 MLB teams and their fans are full of hope that this year is going to be when they win the World Series. For all we know, the San Diego Padres and Minnesota Twins will meet in the Fall Classic. MLB futures odds suggest such a battle would be one of the all-time long shot payoffs; both are 60/1 picks to win their respective leagues and on the end of the list at 100/1 to take the World Series.
So what if the matchup we eventually get is the two teams favored to win the AL and NL titles? Though not as far-fetched as a Padres-Twins matchup, it's also goes against the odds for the two thickest preseason chalk lines in any sport to ultimately reach the championship.
Chalk Cubs, BoSox Have Scary Offensive Potential
Brother and sisters, I'm here to tell you if it does happen in 2017, it's going to be a spectacle to behold. The Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox are the teams at the top of the betting boards, and while neither is considered a loser any longer a clash between the two would still be epic.
I'm seeing Chicago priced anywhere from +375 to +425 at SBR's top sportsbooks to win the Series, with Boston the top team in the AL at +500 to +575. Both are the favorites in their leagues, Chicago +175 in the NL for a ballpark figure and the Red Sox about the same in the AL.
Both teams are stacked with young budding stars in their lineups and have the luxury of deep rosters in the event one of the sticks/gloves goes down for a lengthy period. How sick is it that Boston loses a stud like David Ortiz but could be even better than last year when the Red Sox led the AL in scoring (5.42) thanks to the emergence of Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts? Chicago has reigning NL MVP Kris Bryant, who formed a dynamic duo with Anthony Rizzo in its World Series run last year, and both of them could ultimately take a backseat to Kyle Schwarber, who returns from a knee injury.
Cy Young Candidates Abound On Both Staffs
The two rotations are also deep with Cy Young candidates. On the Chicago side, we find Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks and former Boston star Jon Lester. The Red Sox have reigning AL Cy Young Rick Porcello, plus David Price and Chris Sale, the latter being one of the biggest offseason free agent buys. The whole angle of Lester returning to Fenway for a World Series game would be worth 8-10 points in TV ratings alone.
The bullpens might not be officially settled just yet, though I have faith in both managers -- Boston's John Farrell and the Cubs' Joe Maddon -- working that out. The two skippers have also proven they can keep their clubhouses clicking despite the pressure of routinely being expected to win with -180, -200 and higher MLB odds.
Chicago's win total is the loftiest of all at 96½; even though the Cubs won 103 last season, betting the 'under' this time is my free baseball pick. Boston checks in at 92½, in part for playing in the AL East that is always tough.
If it does happen, a clash between the Cubs and Red Sox would have my full attention. It's just a shame it didn't occur in 2003 when we all thought it might. Most of the baseball world still blames Aaron Boone and Steve Bartman for jinxing it when each team was still a long time and loveable loser.