CHICAGO — The champagne still hasn’t warmed on the Boston Red Sox’s 2018 World Series victory, and the opening Las Vegas betting lines are already set for who will win the 2019 title. Oddsmakers also are speculating which teams are most likely to sign coveted free agent slugger Bryce Harper, a player many Chicago Cubs fans hope ends up playing on the North Side.
The Cubs are among the top six teams to win next year’s World Series. Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook gives Chicago 10-1 odds to win it all in 2019 — tied with the Cleveland Indians — and 5-1 odds to win the National League pennant.
This year’s champs, the Red Sox, and theirAmerican League Championship Series opponents, the Houston Astros, are the favorites to win the 2019 World Series, both with 6-1 odds, according to the sports book. The New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers — those squads lost to Boston in the AL Division Series and World Series, respectively — have 7-1 odds.
Boston defeated Los Angeles, 5-1, on Sunday to become 2018 MLB champs, beating the Dodgers in the series, 4-1. The Red Sox had run away with the regular season with a franchise-best 108 wins, which led the league. The championship is the fourth for Boston since breaking an 86-year World Series drought in 2004.
Westgate’s World Series odds are based on Harper leaving the Washington Nationals in the offseason to sign with either the Cubs, Dodgers, Yankees or Philadelphia Phillies, Ed Salmons, a manager for the sportsbook, told ESPN. Although his stats were down in this past season, the star outfielder is seen as a boosting the Cubs’ offense and get the team back to the World Series, where it hasn’t been since winning in 2016.
But the Cubs aren’t the only MLB team in Chicago. Westgate gave the White Sox 60-1 odds to win the 2019 World Series, the same odds as the Toronto Blue Jays, Arizona Diamondbacks and Minnesota Twins. The South Siders — in the midst of a rebuilding process and have only made the playoffs once since winning the World Series in 2005 — were given 30-1 odds to win the AL pennant by the sportsbook.
Just how reliable are these opening odds at determining a World Series winner? Around this time last year, Westgate gave the Dodgers, who lost to Houston in the 2017 series, 5-1 odds to become world champs in 2018. Five teams also had better opening odds to win the 2018 World Series than the Red Sox, including the Nationals, who didn’t even make the playoffs this season.
The Chicago Cubs show off their 2016 World Series rings during their first game at Wrigley Field in 2017. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel | Getty Images)