2017 MLB Futures: Cubs Tabbed to Win Again

kyle-hendricks-cubsThe Chicago Cubs completed a dramatic comeback from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 World Series. That said, it’s little surprise why they have the best odds in our 2017 MLB futures.

The Cubs currently sit at +320 odds of winning. Last season, Chicago notched a 103-58 record — eight more than any other team. Given that they haven’t lost any talent from last year’s squad, they’re favored to repeat again.

If anything, Chicago is an even better team after trading Jorge Soler for Kansas City Royals pitcher Wade Davis, and signing Brett Anderson and Koji Yehara in the offseason.

The AL team with the best odds of winning is not runner-up Cleveland, but rather the Boston Red Sox. One year after winning the AL East with a 93-69 mark, Boston’s odds sit at +475.

Some Vegas sportsbooks have the Red Sox with even better odds since they added pitcher Chris Sale (3.34 ERA) through a trade with the Chicago White Sox. Other things going in Boston’s favor include rising outfielder prospect Andrew Benintendi, and adding Mitch Moreland and Tyler Thornburg. While Sale is the big move, these factors also play into the idea that the Red Sox is on the rise.

corey-kluber-indiansThe Cleveland Indians are next up at +700 odds after winning the AL Central (94-67) and coming within a game of winning a World Series title. The Indians arose from a muddled AL to make the World Series, and GTBets oddsmakers think that they have a chance to return.

Other teams that have strong odds include the Los Angeles Dodgers (+850) and Washington Nationals (+900). The Nationals won the NL East with a 95-67 mark, while the Dodgers took the AL West with a 91-71 record. Both teams boast a lot of pitching talent and will look to dethrone the defending champion Cubs.

Below you can see a full list of the 2017 MLB futures that GTBets is currently offering:

Arizona Diamondbacks +10000
Atlanta Braves +12500
Baltimore Orioles +4000
Boston Red Sox +475
Chicago Cubs +320
Chicago White Sox +10000
Cincinnati Reds +20000
Cleveland Indians +700
Colorado Rockies +4000
Detroit Tigers +4000
Houston Astros +1500
Kansas City Royals +4000
Los Angeles Angels +7500
Los Angeles Dodgers +850
Miami Marlins +6000
Milwaukee Brewers +20000
Minnesota Twins +15000
New York Mets +1600
New York Yankees +2000
Oakland Athletics +11000
Philadelphia Phillies +12500
Pittsburgh Pirates +4500
San Diego Padres +20000
San Francisco Giants +1500
Seattle Mariners +3000
St Louis Cardinals +2200
Tampa Bay Rays +11000
Texas Rangers +2200
Toronto Blue Jays +2500
Washington Nationals +900

World Series Betting: Indians vs Cubs Game 7

addison-russell-world-seriesThe Chicago Cubs demolished the Cleveland Indians 9-3 to extend the 2016 World Series to a seventh-and-deciding game.

Chicago struck in the first inning on a solo homer by Kris Bryant and a two-out double by Addison Russell – putting them up 3-0. The double was excruciating because Cleveland outfielders Tyler Naquin and Lonnie Chisenhall both misplayed it.

Josh Tomlin got into major trouble in the third inning, loading the bases before being pulled in favor of Dan Otero. The latter gave up a grand slam to Russell, making the score 7-0.

The Indians would threaten in the bottom of the fourth, with Mike Napoli producing an RBI single and the team loading the bases. However, starter Jake Arrieta got himself out the jam and ended the Cleveland threat.

Arrieta would leave in the sixth inning with two outs and a 7-2 lead. Aroldis Chapman pitched the rest of the way, giving up one run in the ninth.

The stage is set for an exciting Game 7 between the Cubs and Indians. Let’s take a closer look at what to expect, including the game line and analysis on both teams.

GTBets Line for Indians vs Cubs Game 7 (8pm EST, Nov 2)
Chicago Cubs -1.5 (+145), moneyline -118
Cleveland Indians +1.5 (-165), moneyline +108

World Series Game 7 Betting Analysis

Cubs Analysis

If there’s one thing that the Cubs have done well during these playoffs, it’s been coming back from playoff deficits.

They were down 3 runs to the San Francisco Giants in the ninth inning, before an offensive explosion saved their postseason and helped them move to the NLCS.

In the NLCS, they got down 2 games to 1 to the LA Dodgers, before finding their offense again and beating a strong lineup of Dodgers pitchers.

Now, they’ll try to complete yet another comeback after facing a 3-1 deficit against Cleveland.

“It wasn’t no cakewalk for us facing the three-time champions in the first round, and the Dodgers with Kershaw and the way they’ve figured out ways to win all year,” said Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

kyle-hendricks-cubsChicago will put Kyle Hendricks (16-8, 2.13 ERA) on the mound for Game 7. As good as Hendricks was during the regular season, he’s been even better in the postseason with a 1.31 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 20 innings.

Even in the Game 3 loss that he pitched, Hendricks gave up zero runs in 4.1 innings. In fact, he hasn’t given up any runs since facing the San Francisco Giants. So it would be hard to find a better pitcher for this Game 7 effort.

The Cubs’ bats finally woke up last night too, with Russell, Bryant, and Rizzo having outstanding games. They form a dangerous bottom of the order and one that Cleveland must work around to win this game.

Indians Analysis

This is the absolute last position that Cleveland wanted to be in when they raced out to a 3-1 series lead. All manager Terry Francona can do in this situation is lighten the mood as he goes for his third World Series title.

“I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s a really important game,” Francona told Cleveland.com. He also joked about how “I just might wear my uniform home” due to his excitement.

corey-kluberIn reality, this is no joking matter for Cleveland. Game 6 was a disaster from the start after the fly ball botching, to Tomlin loading the bases and Otero giving up the grand slam.

The Indians can still claim the series, though, and they’ll have staff ace Corey Kluber (18-9, 3.14 ERA) trying to make it happen.

The 30-year-old has been worked hard this postseason, starting 5 games and pitching 30.1 innings. He’s 4-1 in those five starts with a marvelous 0.89 ERA.

In his Game 1 and 4 starts against Chicago, he gave up one run in 12 innings. If he can win, Kluber will become just the second pitcher (Bob Gibson, 1967) to win three games in the World Series.

Backing Kluber up will be the outstanding bullpen combo of Andrew Miller (0.53 ERA in playoffs) and Cody Allen (6 saves). From top to bottom, this Cleveland pitching staff is built to win a big game.

History in the Making

This is perhaps the biggest game in World Series history when you consider that the Cubs haven’t won in 107 yards and Cleveland hasn’t won in 67 years. Here’s an excerpt from ESPN that points out how rare this is:

“Obviously, there has never been a World Series Game 7 involving two teams that hadn’t won a championship in a combined 176 years. But what’s amazing is, we’ve seen nothing even close. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the combined droughts of these two teams are nearly double the previous record for any Game 7 — which is the 90 title-free seasons of the 1975 Red Sox and Reds, who also played a seven-game World Series for the history books.”

The pressure is on for both teams to end their win-less streaks. Cleveland has the home field, which will help. But this should come down to a staff-vs-staff pitching duel.

Final Prediction: Indians Win 3-2

How much does Kluber have left? If it’s enough to get Cleveland to the sixth inning with a lead, we see Miller and Allen shutting down the Cubs in a close game. The Indians bats were average last night, but they should provide just enough to give Cleveland their first World Series win since 1948.

World Series Betting: Indians vs Cubs Game 6

jake-arrieta-vs-indiansHaving lost two straight games at home and on the brink of elimination, the Chicago Cubs needed a big win to extend the World Series. And they did this on Sunday, beating the Cleveland Indians 3-2, narrowing the series gap to 3-2 as action heads back to Progressive Field.

The Cubs used a 3-run barrage in the fourth inning to take a 3-1 lead. They would never relinquish the lead as Jon Lester pitched 6-plus solid innings, and closer Aroldis Chapman got the final eight outs to end the game.

“A lot of people in Chicago have not seen a World Series game win,” said first baseman Anthony Rizzo, referencing how the Cubs hadn’t won a home World Series game since 1945. “I’m sure it’s emotional for everyone. It’s emotional for us.”

Chicago manager Joe Maddon was caught up in the emotion too, admitting it to the Washington Post after the game.

“Please be nervous,” said Maddon. “Absolutely. You should be nervous. We have to win tonight, so go ahead and be nervous. It’s up to us to get you beyond that moment and get back to Cleveland.”

While this victory is definitely nice for the Cubs, the challenge now is finding a way to win two straight games in Cleveland. That said, let’s go over the line for Game 6 and offer some betting analysis.

GTBets Line for World Series Game 6 (8:05pm EST at Nov 1)
Chicago Cubs -1.5 (+110), moneyline -145 (J. Arrietta)
Cleveland Indians +1.5 (+135), moneyline +135 (J. Tomlin)

Analysis on World Series Game 6

On paper, it appears that Chicago will have the pitching advantage with Jake Arrieta taking the mound. The 2015 Cy Young winner had very good stats this year, going 18-8 and maintaining a 3.10 ERA.

However, Arrieta has struggled in the postseason, losing his first two starts against LA and San Francisco and producing a 5.55 ERA. He managed to right the ship against Cleveland in Game 2, allowing just 1 run in 5.3 innings during Chicago’s win. But he also threw 98 pitches and walked three batters.

More concern for Arrieta is that just 40 percent of his pitches went in the strike zone in Game 2 – his lowest rate all year. But that was a cold-weather game, while tonight will be a warmer affair. Plus, Arrietta has one of the best sliders in baseball, holding opponents to 5-for-25 against this pitch in the postseason.

josh-tomlin-vs-cubsTomlin didn’t have as impressive of regular season numbers, going 13-9 and tallying a 4.40 ERA. But he’s reached a new level in the playoffs, allowing just 3 runs in 15.3 innings. The 32-year-old is undefeated in the 2016 postseason, and he’ll look to keep that record going and close out the series.

The big problem, though, is that this is just the second time in Tomlin’s career that he’s pitched on three days’ rest. During the season, he had a 3.47 ERA with five days or more rest, versus a 5.42 ERA with four days’ rest. That could play a factor tonight as he faces a tough Cubs lineup.

The good news for Tomlin: he had the lowest walk rate among starters and has only given up one homer in his last seven starts. He’s not going to beat himself, and Chicago will need to get their bats going to win.

If Tomlin can pitch well enough into the sixth inning, the Indians’ bullpen – which has been stellar – will have a great chance to close out the game.

World Series Game 6 Betting Prediction: Cleveland Wins 4-3

Both Arrieta and Tomlin pitched excellent in their last outings. We don’t expect as great of pitching tonight, but both players will give their teams a chance to win. The big difference-maker, though, will be Cleveland’s bullpen combo of Andrew Miller and Cody Allen shutting Chicago out in the late innings.

The Tribe should be celebrating their first World Series win along with LeBron James, while Chicago will extend their drought to 109 years without a World Series victory.

 

World Series Betting: Indians vs Cubs Game 5

What looked like a competitive World Series on paper is shaping up to be a blowout as the Cleveland Indians won 7-2 last night to take a 3-1 series lead.

Chicago grabbed an early 1-0 lead on an Anthony Rizzo single. But it was all downhill from here for the Cubs, as Cleveland scored the next seven runs to walk away with the game.

First baseman Carlos Santana opened the scoring with a second-inning homer. Pitcher Corey Kluber put Cleveland in the lead for good with a single that sent Lonnie Chrisenhall home.

Second baseman Jason Kipnis put the game away when he hit a line-drive, 3-run homer that gave Cleveland a six-run lead. Chicago’s Dexter Fowler would hit a home run in the eighth inning to stop the bleeding, but it was too little too late.

Aside from providing offense for his own cause, Kluber pitched an excellent game, allowing just 1 run in 6 innings. The bullpen did the rest as Cleveland wrapped up their second straight game in Chicago.

Let’s continue discussing the series by looking at tonight’s Game 5 line, along with some analysis on what to expect.

GTBets Game 5 Line on Indians vs Cubs (8:05pm EST on Oct. 30)
Cleveland Indians +1.5 (-115), moneyline +200 (T. Bauer)
Chicago Cubs -1.5 (-105), moneyline -230 (J. Lester)

World Series Game 5 Preview

corey-kluber-world-seriesFor the Indians, tonight’s game is a matter of doing the same things that they’ve been doing. And this means that Cleveland manager Terry Francona will use normal game preparation that doesn’t include any big speeches.

“No, it might make them nervous,” said Francona. “They’re OK. They know how to play the game. In our game, you can’t meet every night. It’s not like football. If they don’t understand by now, they’re probably not going to. And I think they’re doing just fine.”

Kluber, who was the big winner yesterday, echoed this sentiment by saying that Game 5 will be “business as usual.”

Kipnis is taking a different approach, focusing on the importance of this game and how tough it will be to defeat Chicago three straight times at home.

“It’s not an ending yet,” Kipnis told the Chicago Tribune. “We’ve got one more to get. It’s probably going to be the hardest victory of the year. This is a special night for me and the team to take the first two here. Now we have a couple of tries to win one more. But we’re ready to get it. This is the fun one.”

Trevor Bauer will take the mound for Cleveland tonight. He’s the only pitcher to lose to the Cubs in the World Series. But Santana definitely isn’t worried about how Bauer will perform tonight.

“We’re confident, especially how we won in this very tough game,” said Santana. “Lester, he’s throwing very good baseball. He has experience in the World Series. But we’re fine. We’ll worry about tomorrow and try to win the game.”

The Cubs will trot out lefty Jon Lester, who’s hoping to end Chicago’s two-game slide and extend the World Series. Lester’s start in Game 1 was okay – 3 runs on six hits in 5.2 innings – but it still resulted in a 6-0 loss for Chicago.

This was markedly different from his first three postseason starts against San Francisco and LA, where he allowed just 2 runs in 21 innings while recording 14 strikeouts. There’s certainly reason to think that Lester can regain his touch in tonight’s matchup.

jon-lester-vs-indians“Jon is going to give us a good game,” said Chicago third baseman Kris Bryant. “He’s our ace for a reason.”

Another thing that Chicago needs to do better is get runs early in the game, before they fall behind and lose momentum. This is especially important when considering how well Cleveland’s bullpen has performed.

“We’ve just got to grab a lead,” said Chicago manager Joe Maddon. “We’ve got to grab a lead [before] the latter part of the game and avoid those [bullpen] guys with either being tied or them having a lead. That’s what we have to do.”

Chicago has only managed three runs, four walks, and a .292 on-based percentage through the first four innings of the World Series. The fifth inning and beyond has been even worse, with a .259 on-base percentage, so early runs are crucial.

One Team Will Make History

The Cubs haven’t won a World Series in 108 years, while Cleveland hasn’t won in 68 years. For the Indians, they have the added history of trying to bring both a baseball and basketball championship home in the same year.

One of these teams is going to break their winless streak and make history. Before this series, most thought it would be Chicago, given that they won 103 games – 9 more than Cleveland.

But down 3-1 in the series, the Cubs would need a Cleveland Cavaliers-type turnaround to come back and win. Only five of 44 MLB teams have pulled off this feat. Can Chicago become the sixth?

Prediction on World Series Game 5: Cubs Win 4-2

We see Cleveland closing this series out eventually, but it’s hard to see Chicago losing three straight at home, especially with their ace pitching tonight.

Indians Beat Blue Jays 2-1 – Take 2-0 Series Lead

josh-tomlin-vs-blue-jaysThe Cleveland Indians had little trouble getting past the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS. But few gave them a chance against a rising Toronto Blue Jays team after injuries hit their starting pitching staff. Nevertheless, Cleveland now finds themselves up 2-0 in the ALCS.

For the second straight day, Cleveland shut down Toronto’s hitters en route to a 2-1 victory in Game 2. Starter Josh Tomlin turned in an inspired effort, allowing just 1 run and three hits over 5-plus innings. Middle reliever Andrew Miller struck out five of the six batters he threw against, and closer Cody Allen finished the Blue Jays in the ninth.

For the second consecutive game, the Indians could only muster two runs. But again, it was enough to beat a struggling Toronto lineup.

Shortstop Francisco Lindor supplied the offense when he hit a two-out RBI single in the third inning. Lindor was also the hero of Game 1, hitting a two-run homer in the Indian’s 2-0 Game 1 victory.

Action switches back to Toronto tomorrow night, where the Blue Jays hope that Rogers Centre is more kind to them than Progressive Field. Before we continue discussing this ALCS series, let’s look at the GTBets line for Game 3:

Game 3 of ALCS: Oct 17 at 8:05pm
Cleveland  +1.5 (-120); moneyline +168
Toronto  -1.5 (+100); moneyline -188

Breaking the Curse

Cleveland has had some strong teams over the past two decades, but they’ve failed to win a World Series title since 1948. So normally, fans would fear the worst, even with their Indians only 2 wins away from a World Series trip.

However, there’s reason for optimism, thanks to the Cleveland Cavaliers breaking the city’s title curse this year.

“Bringing that first championship to this city, we rallied around that,” said second baseman Jason Kipnis. “That’s going to be hard to beat, to break the curse. That being said – and it’s not just my opinion, it’s what I’ve gotten from people around Cleveland – the first Tribe or Browns championship has a little different ring to it.”

cleveland-toronto-blue-jaysAside from being fueled by the Cavs’ NBA championship, the Indians have provided reasons of their own to believe. Despite facing vaunted Boston and Toronto hitting lineups, Cleveland’s pitching has made them look silly in five postseason games.

The first result was a 3-0 sweep against Boston, and the Indians are currently on pace to sweep the Blue Jays.

A Review of Tomlin’s Performance

Game 2’s one-run pitching effort almost seems improbable.

Tomlin, who only started because Trevor Bauer sliced his pinkie open while fixing a drone, looked like a mere band-aid against Toronto. Topping out at only 89 mph with his fastball, Tomlin, as Kipnis put it, “had to work all 89 miles on that fastball.”

Rather than throwing a mediocre fastball into the teeth of the Blue Jays’ bats, Tomlin and catcher Roberto Perez came up with a plan to use curveballs over and over. This seemed like an effective strategy because the pitcher only threw 15 curveballs on 85 pitches the last time out against Toronto.

Tomlin used the strategy to perfection, keeping his curveballs low in the strike zone, leaving the Toronto batters reaching for many of them.

“The game kind of dictates what you do,” said Tomlin. “It’s going to be tough for me to sit there and throw 87, 88 all game long and be successful.”

Perez also called a good game, and Tomlin trusted him and drew motivation from his catcher’s words. One example was a big at-bat by Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion.

“Encarnacion is not going to beat us right here,” Perez told Tomlin during the game. “We’ve got to make pitches right now. Just follow me. Keep the ball down. And give me your best pitches.”

In 85 pitches, Tomlin produced 17 outs, with 10 coming on groundballs, six strikeouts, and one fly ball – an interesting ratio for a pitcher who has less than a 45% groundball rate. Tomlin was able to change his tendencies by throwing expert curveballs against a team that’s poor at hitting them.

Looking Ahead to Game 3

One of the best things for Cleveland is that they get an off-day for their overworked pitchers. Allen and Miller have pitched four times in the Indians’ five postseason games.

The results have been outstanding, with both combining to strike out 25 of the 38 batters they’ve faced. But both players also need a rest if they’re to keep up this strong pace.

“One of the things I’m most excited about tomorrow is Andrew Miller doesn’t have to throw any pitches,” said Kipnis. “Same with Cody Allen.”

Allen and Miller aren’t the only ones who could use the rest since there are other Cleveland heroes who’ve earned a break too. This includes Lindor, who, in addition to the offense, also saved a hit with a jump throw to first.

It seems like Toronto, who dispatched the Texas Rangers in three games, are due for a win now that they’re heading home. But with the way that Cleveland is playing, it’s tough to say whether home-field advantage will be enough for the Blue Jays.

David Ortiz Assesses Red Sox’s Desperate 0-2 ALDS Deficit

david-ortiz-vs-indiansThe final week of the regular season was cause for celebration for the Boston Red Sox. As we discussed before, the Red Sox won an improbable AL East title after finishing last place the year before.

But now that the postseason is here, Boston has no reason to celebrate since they’re down 0-2 to the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS.

The last outing was especially disparaging because Boston failed to score a single run in a 6-0 drubbing.

After a 93-win season and a division title, the Red Sox’s impressive season can be erased with one more loss. This also means the end of David Ortiz’s career, who, at age 40, turned back the clock to have a great season.

But like the rest of Boston’s lineup, Ortiz didn’t do anything on Friday night, going 0-4 with three runners left on base in his at-bats.

Now 1-for-8 in the playoffs, Ortiz got angry when a reporter asked about his visible frustration on the field.

“Should I be happy? We’re getting our asses beat. It’s nothing to celebrate.” said Ortiz.

He was also asked if the 5-4 and 6-0 losses that Boston has suffered has surprised him.

“Why should I be?” Ortiz told reporters. “They’re playing better than what we are.”

The numbers back up Ortiz’s words because Boston has went just 13-for-65 (.200) at the plate with 22 strikeouts. Their pitching hasn’t been much better, with starters Rick Procello and David Price combining for 10 runs in only 7 2/3 innings (13.0 ERA).

The Indians, on the other hand, have little to fear after blowing Boston out in Game 2 and getting clutch plays to win in Game 1.

david-ortizCorey Kluber was the hero in Game 2, pitching seven innings and only allowing three hits and three walks. He got more than enough offense too, with Lonnie Chisenhall’s 3-run homer and three other players producing run-scoring singles.

So what can Boston do to turn their performance around and win three straight games?

“Gotta do better and pitch better,” said Ortiz while doing an excellent job of hiding his emotions.

“We’ve got no choice,” he added. “Gotta go home now and play better. It’s part of the game, man. But I know we’re better than that. Just gotta come and play better.”

The Red Sox and Indians meet tomorrow, Oct. 9, at 4:08pm EST. The action moves to Fenway Park, where Boston hopes that homefield advantage will work in their favor.

Cleveland pitcher Josh Tomlin (4.40 ERA) will face off against Boston’s Clay Buchholz (4.78 ERA). Below you can see our GTBets.eu line on the game:

Cleveland  +1.5 (-170), moneyline +127
Boston  -1.5 (+150), moneyline -137