CAN the Cubs do it?
Can they build on their loss in the National League final last year and exorcise the curse of the Billy Goat?
They haven’t won a World Series since 1908 and they haven’t played in one since 1945, when Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis put the famous curse on the club because he was asked to leave, due to the stench coming from his pet goat Murphy.
But our friends at Bovada.lv clearly think the Cubs’ sublime season will help it break Murphy’s law.
Chicago is the red hot +350 favourite with the bookmaker to claim baseball’s greatest prize.
With a brilliant record of 66-41, putting them top of the National League, it would be fool hardy to bet against them at this juncture.
And you only have to listen to their players to understand this club means business.
“I came here to win a World Series,” right hander John Lackey said.
“I didn’t come here to get a haircut.”
Second baseman Ben Zobrist was equally bullish on his side’s hopes.
“I don’t think anybody would be satisfied with anything less,” Zobrist said.
“I don’t think the Chicago Cub fans would be satisfied with anything less either.
“So we know the end goal, and we are still a long way from there.
“We just need to keep playing good baseball and put ourselves in a good position.”
The club does have a pair of challengers in the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers breathing down its neck at +650.
The Giants have made a habit of winning the World Series every second year since 2010, claiming it in 2012 and 2014.
The superstitious punter would think they are due to do it again and, while they have put together yet another great season, but recent poor results have made their odds wind out ever so slightly.
The Rangers are an intriguing prospect.
They went big at the trade deadline, securing outfielder Carlos Beltran, catcher Jonathan Lucroy and closer Jeremy Jeffress.
They want to win and they want to win now.
As far as the respective Most Valuable player races are concern, Bovada has just about given the
National League award to the Cubs star Kris Bryant. Bryant has had a brilliant season and would be a deserved winner, but he will have to fight off strong campaigns from the likes of Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy (+250) and his three-time all star team mate Anthony Rizzo.
“We never talk about it,” Bryant said when asked about the friendly rivalry between he and Rizzo.
“It could be something that’s brought up after the season, but, during the ear, you’re so consumed with just what we have going on.
“Honestly, we don’t even focus on other guys either, because there are others who are very deserving, too.
“So we don’t talk about it at all, which is good.
“But I love being competitive with him.
“I’m always giving him a hard time, having a friendly competition, not just with him, but with the other guys.
“It brings out the best in every body.
“It’s important to have that and it makes for more wins.”
It’s been 18 years since the Cubs had a Most Valuable Player in Major League Baseball. On that occasion, way back in 1998, it was the legendary Sammy Sosa who took the crown for the the Cubs.
Rizzo said he and Bryant “have fun with it” when asked about their rivalry over the MVP.
“We pace each other. He goes ahead, I go ahead. He goes ahead, I go ahead.
“As long as we stay close together and finish the race together, it is good.
“We just want to keep pushing.”
Stars pushing each other is the way to the title.
The American League award is also just about in the bag for Jose Altuve, the tiny Houston Astros second baseman rated just a +150 chance. But never discount gun Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout at +300. This kid has the world at his feet and, at +300, is definitely worth a look.
Altuve’s Astros team mate Colby Rasmus says Major League Baseball’s smallest man has a huge heart and the skills to match it. He would not be surprised if Altuve managed to take his former team mate Josh Donaldson, of the Blue Jays, crown (+500).
2015-16 World Series odds
Chicago Cubs +350
San Francisco Giants +650
Texas Rangers +650
Washington Nationals +750
Cleveland Indians +750
Toronto Blue Jays +900
Boston Red Sox +1200
Baltimore Orioles +1600
Los Angeles Dodgers +1600
Houston Astros +1800
Detroit Tigers +2000
New York Mets +2800
St. Louis Cardinals +3300
Miami Marlins +3300
Seattle Mariners +5000
Pittsburgh Pirates +6600
Kansas City Royals +7500
Chicago White Sox +7500
New York Yankees +7500
Colorado Rockies +10000
Los Angeles Angels +50000
Philadelphia Phillies +50000
Oakland Athletics +50000
Milwaukee Brewers +50000
San Diego Padres +100000
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
2015-16 Major League Most Valuable Player markets
AL MVP Winner:
Jose Altuve +150
Mike Trout +300
Josh Donaldson +500
Manny Machado +900
Mookie Betts +1000
Robinson Cano +1200
David Ortiz +1200
Xander Bogaerts +1200
NL MVP Winner:
Kris Bryant +120
Daniel Murphy +250
Anthony Rizzo +450
Corey Seager +900
Nolan Arenado +1000
Bryce Harper +1200
Odds provided by Bovada.lv