Chicago Cubs enter spring training as heavy World Series favorites in Las Vegas

The Chicago Cubs, who haven't made it to the World Series since 1945, are presently listed in Las Vegas as the favorite to win it all this season.
By Doug G. Ware   |   Updated Feb. 23, 2016 at 3:42 AM
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LAS VEGAS, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Less than four months after the Kansas City Royals hoisted the World Series trophy for their first championship in 30 years, Las Vegas is now eyeing the end of an even longer MLB title drought.

Odds-makers at the Westgate SuperBook have listed the Chicago Cubs as the heavy favorite this upcoming season.

The Westgate lists the North Side Cubbies as a 4-to-1 favorite to win it all, which is far better than any other Major League club was listed.

The Cubs, who haven't been to a World Series since 1945 -- or won one since 1908 -- made the playoffs last season and advanced all the way to the National League Championship Series -- a far greater run than just about anyone expected from the team.

In the NLCS, though, Chicago's Cinderella run came to an end when they were beaten in a four game sweep by the New York Mets, who went on to lose to Kansas City in five games.

Posting losing seasons between 2010 and 2014, Chicago was expected to compete in 2016 -- but their securing the third best record in baseball last season surprised most experts. The Cubs beat Pittsburgh in the Wild Card Game and St. Louis in the Divisional Series before falling to the Mets.

No other Major League club has odds in the single digits. The organization tweeted enthusiasm for the upcoming season Monday.

"Do we really have to wait until March to play baseball?" the tweet said.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros have next best odds, at 10-to-1 -- followed by the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox at 12-to-1.

The defending champion Royals are listed as an 18-to-1 favorite.

Chicago Cubs fans celebrate outside of Wrigley Field after beating the St. Louis Cardinals in game 4 of the National League Division Series in Chicago, October 13, 2015. The Chicago Cubs won the series 3-1 and advanced to the National League Championship Series, where they were defeated by the New York Mets in four games. Photo by Matt Marton/UPI

Like Chicago, Houston has been rebuilding in recent years and posted losing records between 2009 and 2014 before making the playoffs last year -- surprising the New York Yankees in the Wild Card Game before losing in five games to Kansas City in the Divisional round.

ESPN reported that the Cubs' odds are attracting a lot of bettors. The team started as a 10-to-1 favorite but dropped to 4-to-1 after taking so many bets.

"It's amazing to see how many people are betting the Cubs," Jeff Stoneback, an assistant manager at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, told ESPN. "Every year, there are always a lot of tickets. Now that they're good, you can basically double that.

"You get the people that are betting them just because they're the Cubs and the people who are betting them because they actually think they're going to win. That's increased the ticket amount."

The Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals are other top favorites on the futures lists.

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