Manny Machado not going to the Brewers is a good thing for the Cubs in the immediate future, but it could prove deleterious to their odds come October. And with all due respect for the necessary caution of counting chickens too early and all that, we’ve gotten to the point where we should expect the Cubs to make the playoffs.
Same goes for the Dodgers, whose massive payroll and glut of young talent has made them perennial contenders as well. The Cubs and Dodgers have squared off in the NLCS each of the last two seasons and it’s not unreasonable to think they could make it three straight this year.
As of Tuesday night, Bovada had the Cubs at +650 to win the World Series after opening the season at +1000. Most other books ranged from +800 to +950, which is more or less in line with the Dodgers, the co-favorite in the NL at this point. Bovada had LA at +800, longer odds than their +550 to open the season.
Those numbers came via Odds Shark, a site that aggregates betting lines from Vegas sports books and other gambling sites. Oh, in case you’re not into the whole money line thing when it comes to gambling, that’s basically an expression of how much you’d win by putting down $100. So if you laid a Benjamin on the Dodgers at +800, you’d win $800.
As for non-gambling odds, FanGraphs had the Cubs a 97.3 percent chance to make the playoffs and a 10.8 percent shot to capture their second World Series title in three years. The Dodgers, while only boasting a 92.3 percent shot at the playoffs, still had the best World Series odds in the league at 14.2 percent.
Of course, that was all before Machado had been traded to LA.
With the blockbuster deal all but complete, odds are shifting in the Dodgers’ favor. Bovada has now dropped them down to +650, much closer to where they opened the season with a fully healthy squad. Conversely, the Cubs have moved to +700, slightly longer odds than they’d been given only 12 hours before.
Things actually moved in the opposite direction for the Dodgers over at FanGraphs, though, which is certainly interesting. The Cubs’ overall playoff percentage remains largely unchanged at 97.4 percent, and their WS odds only dropped to 10.4 percent. LA, however, dropped to 90.8 percent for the playoffs and 13.4 percent for the whole ball of wax.
The resulting differences were basically shifted to the AL, where the Astros (24.7) are running away with the percentages. Both the Red Sox (13.0) and Yankees (12.9) are in the mix, but their odds are right there with the Cubs and Dodgers. Some of that might simply be that the already hapless Orioles now present that much less resistance to the top teams in the East.
Vegas doesn’t see much of a difference in the AL teams, with Bovada putting the Astros (+400) just a little ahead of the Sox and Yanks (+450). The Dodgers, then, are right in line behind Machado’s former division rivals.
This should all be taken with a grain of salt because it’s based on projections and Machado has yet to play a game in Dodger blue. But as I’ve said here and elsewhere many times before, they wouldn’t build billion-dollar monuments to excess unless the casinos were smarter than the bettors. We’re sure to see these odds shift further as both money and experience dictate, so maybe I’ll check back in the near future.