The 2016 World Series is an epic matchup of historical longshots. Starting tomorrow, the Cubs and Indians – two franchises marked by futility – will square off for all the marbles.
The Cleveland Indians won 93 games and cruised to the AL Central championship. The Tribe have taken their excellence to another level in the postseason by winning seven of eight against the mighty Red Sox and powerful Blue Jays. However, two of the team’s top starting pitchers are inactive for the postseason and another (Trevor Bauer) is now sidelined with an injury to the pinky finger on his throwing hand. A lack of quality starting pitching didn’t catch up with the team in the AL playoffs but is a huge concern against Chicago’s high-quality lineup.
Chicago was the best regular season team from wire to wire. The Cubbies won 103 games while outscoring opponents by a whopping 252 runs. NL MVP candidates Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo lead a lineup which scored the third-most most runs in baseball (trailing just Boston and Colorado). The Cubs haven’t slowed down in the postseason, either. They outclassed the Giants (3-1) and outlasted the Dodgers (4-2) en route to claiming their first National League Pennant since 1945. Now the World Series drought is set to come to an end for either the Cubs (1908) or the Indians (1948).
Who’s the favorite heading into Game 1? Will we see any historically good performances? Is a fan going to interfere with play at Wrigley and become the new goat? (No, not that type of goat.)
Let’s take a look at all the odds for this classic showdown … and I do mean all of the odds.
2016 World Series Props
*All props are limited to the 2016 World Series unless otherwise indicated
Odds to win the World Series
Chicago Cubs: 2/3
Cleveland Indians: 3/2
Most sportsbooks list the Cubs as even bigger favorite but don’t count the Tribe out. Cleveland has an offense which manufactures runs and has the superior bullpen. If a game is tied after five innings, look for Cleveland to come out on top. On the other hand, Chicago is capable of scoring runs in bunches and is likely to take advantage of Cleveland’s depleted starting pitching.
Odds to win MVP
Corey Kluber (Cleveland): 4/1
Kris Bryant (Chicago): 11/2
Anthony Rizzo: (Chicago): 7/1
Jon Lester: (Chicago): 8/1
Francisco Lindor: (Cleveland): 8/1
Andrew Miller (Cleveland): 10/1
Javier Baez (Chicago): 14/1
Kyle Hendricks (Chicago): 14/1
Jose Ramirez (Cleveland): 20/1
Dexter Fowler (Chicago): 25/1
Kluber gets top billing because he could potentially start three games for the Tribe. With three top pitchers potentially out, Cleveland will need its ace to come up huge. If he falters, look for one of the Chicago sluggers to win the award.
Odds the World Series is won …
at home: 6/7
by Cleveland in Cleveland: 13/5
by Chicago in Chicago: 20/7
Odds the World Series is won …
in a sweep: 7/1
in a sweep by Chicago: 10/1
in a sweep by Cleveland: 25/1
Odds a team comes back from 0-3 to win the World Series: 60/1
History says the odds are even longer. Only one team (2004 Red Sox) has ever recovered from a three-game deficit to win a postseason series. The toughest part of this formula is getting one team to win the first three games.
Odds a pitcher throws a no-hitter: 75/1
If it comes from the Cleveland side, it could very well be a combined no-no. This Tribe team will go to the pen early and often. Cubs’ starters typically work deeper into games.
Odds a pitcher throws a perfect game: 800/1
Only 23 perfect games have been thrown in the history of the MLB. It probably doesn’t happen here.
Odds someone ties/breaks the record for most home runs: 30/1
Chase Utley and Reggie Jackson have both blasted five homers in a single series. These odds include the possibility of a player tying the all-time record. The leading candidate to achieve the feat is the Cubs’ Kris Bryant.
Odds to hit the first grand slam:
Kris Bryant (Chicago): 5/1
Anthony Rizzo (Chicago): 11/2
Mike Napoli (Cleveland): 6/1
Carlos Santana (Cleveland): 6/1
Javier Baez (Chicago): 12/1
Jason Kipnis (Cleveland): 15/1
Francisco Lindor (Cleveland): 15/1
Addison Russell (Chicago): 18/1
Assuming a grand slam will be hit, we find the usual suspects here, i.e. the four biggest sluggers in the series. Bryant, who blasted 39 homers in the regular season, is the most likely to launch a game changing bomb, even though he’s only gone deep once in the postseason.
Odds a manager gets ejected: 12/1
You probably won’t see either manager get upset enough over a missed call to get tossed. However, if a team gets down big, a skipper may get desperate to inspire his team, taking his frustration out on an umpire in effort to light a fire.
Odds a player gets ejected: 8/1
Players don’t want to exit these games and they’ll be on their best behavior for the most part. However, if a game is out of reach, frustration could easily boil over. Arguing balls and strikes is the easiest way to get thrown out.
Odds a play is overturned by replay: 1/10
It would be quite surprising if this doesn’t happen. The replay is used almost every game and there are plenty of reversals. Hopefully the system is exposed as clumsy and inefficient on the game’s biggest stage. A more effective system should be a priority of the offseason.
Odds on the first player to aggressively flip his bat after a home run
Javier Baez (Chicago): 6/1
Carlos Santana (Cleveland): 10/1
Mike Napoli (Cleveland): 12/1
Baez is the most likely guy here. The emerging star has come into his own during this postseason run. He has unlimited talent and a natural flair for the game. A walk-off blast and a flip of the bat would be par for the course.
Odds on the first player to commit an aggressive take-out slide
Javier Baez (Chicago): 7/1
Francisco Lindor (Cleveland): 12/1
Tyler Naquin (Cleveland): 12/1
Dexter Fowler (Chicago): 14/1
Anthony Rizzo (Chicago): 20/1
You will no longer see the Chase Utley-type take-out slide at second base. The rules have changed and the players know a double play will be called. Still, the aggressive nature of the above players may result in a good old fashion hard slide.
Over/under longest running time for a game: 3 Hours 51 Minutes
Over/under longest running time of the national anthem: 2 Minutes 7 Seconds
Odds a national anthem singer forgets words: 20/1
Odds national anthem singers suffers a “wardrobe malfunction”: 100/1
Odds there is a bench clearing brawl: 9/1
The benches clearing without punches thrown qualifies here. That’s how 90-percent of baseball “fights” work.
Odds a fight breaks out in the stands: 10/1
It’s the Cubs and Indians! For the love of God, can’t we all get along? There are no losers here.
Odds a fan interferes with a play: 2/3
Although it’s highly unlikely to be of Steve Bartman proportions, it’s a favorite to happen at some point in the series. Watch for the ground rule double down the line or the pop-up near the first row.
Odds a fan parachutes into a stadium: 15/1
Most likely chance is a military tribute during the national anthem. If only crazed fans are included it’s closer to 100/1
Odds a fan runs onto the field: 4/1
There’s been a recent resurgence of this phenomenon. It happened during the ALCS and it could happen again. If it does, let’s hope some drunk in Wrigley jumps out of the bleachers and catches his trousers on the basket.
Odds all players wear goggles during the winning celebration: 1/3
It’s tough to make “all players” a significant favorite but these guys are experienced with celebrations by this point. It’s the trendy and safe move.
Odds the midges affect play in Cleveland: 8/1
Hey, of all the things that could potentially delay play, this might be best case scenario. Bring on the bugs.
Odds it snows during a game: 12/1
Our depleted ozone layer has advantages. We now get 85-degree October days in Cleveland. Now please don’t disturb us with photos of polar bears drowning in the arctic while we’re watching the Fall Classic.
Cleveland/Chicago City Props:
Odds on which other team from Chicago/Cleveland wins the next championship
Odds on whether a Chicago or Cleveland team will the next championship after the 2016 World Series (in any major sport)
Odds the Cleveland Browns finish 0-16 in the 2016 NFL season: 10/1
Odds Rod Blagojevich goes back to jail after he’s released: 50/1
Odds Dan Gilbert (Cavaliers owner) writes a nasty open letter: 300/1
He’s done it before, torching LeBron when he departed for Miami. But what would inspire this now? Jealousy that the Indians are stealing the headlines? Rage when LeBron tears his rotator cuff while throwing out the ceremonial first pitch?
Odds on which stadium sells more hotdogs during the World Series
Progressive Field: 3/1
Odds on which team sees higher jersey sales during the World Series
Win or lose, it’s the Cubs. There are a lot of folks on that bandwagon and they’re still piling in.
Odds to be fired first
John Maddon: 3/1
Odds Terry Francona makes the National Baseball Hall of Fame: 1/1
Odds Joe Maddon makes the National Baseball Hall of Fame: 3/1
Odds on an increase in babies named “Tito” next year: 1/10
Yes, of course. Why wouldn’t there be? It’s catchy and there are not nearly enough Titos as is. Tita even works for a girl … ahh no nevermind, that’s no good.
Odds on which team Theo Epstein will take to the World Series next (as GM)
Tokyo Giants: 500/1
Las Vegas: 500/1
Odds Steve Bartman throws out the first pitch at Wrigley during the World Series: 15/1
Highly unlikely. Bartman has never embraced any publicity since that infamous night in October of 2003. If he attended a World Series game at Wrigley Field, chances are we’d never know it.
Odds LeBron James throws out a first pitch in Cleveland: 1/4
The King has already attended Indians playoff games and is the number one guy to fire up the city. Even Drew Carey has to admit it’s LeBron’s town now.
Odds Bill Murray throws out a first pitch: 2/5
Odds Bill Murray sings a national anthem: 100/1
He’s unquestionably a phenomenal talent but this is flirting with disaster. This could come off as part Roseanne Barr and part Colin Kaepernick … just bad timing. Singing the national anthem at Wrigley Field is the job of Wayne Messmer.
Odds Bill Murray is ever elected as mayor of Chicago: 250/1
Odds Bill Murray is elected president: 999/1
Odds Bill Murray gets into the National Baseball Hall of Fame: 1,000/1
Over/Under number of times Bill Murray is on camera during the World Series: 14
Over/Under number of World Series games Bill Murray attends: 3.5
Odds Alice Cooper sings the national anthem during the World Series: 30/1
Odds Alice Cooper opens another restaurant: 3/2
Featured photo credit: BPL [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.