What Were the Betting Odds on the Cubs Winning the World Series?

On October 19, 2017, the Chicago Cubs completed a miraculous win against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the League Championship Series. It was a memorable 7-game series that the Cubs won in 6 games, ensuring them a spot in the World Series for the first time in 71 years. It was an incredible comeback, not just for the fans but for the athletes playing on that field. The odds of the Cubs winning the World Series were heavily favored against them, and odds makers knew it. In fact, BetOnline.com released a statement saying “there were some extremely funny odds related to [the] Chicago Cubs in the second half of the 2017 World Series, especially in Game 6 where the line moved from +125 to +350 on the Cubs winning the game and the series. The public got in on the action as well with long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fans laying down an incredible +600 bet on the Cubs in the final game of the series.” While most people are aware of the odds and how they favored the Cubs, many are not aware of how the betting odds related to the 1971 World Series between the same two teams. That series was awful for the Cubs, as they were swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 4 games. Before that series began, the Pittsburgh Pirates were 12-1 against the Cubs in the 1966 World Series. It was a long time coming for many fans who suffered through many years of struggles before finally seeing their beloved team accomplish something great.

The Odds On The Cubs In The ’71 Series Were Extremely Favorites

It is no secret that the Cubs were considered long shots to take the World Series in 1917, 1920, and 1933 as well. People forget how terrible the 1918 World Series was with only the Cubs winning in 5 games. The odds in the ’71 Series were extremely in favor of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who were 12-1 against the Cubs. The Cubs were coming off a disappointing 70-win season and didn’t even qualify for the post-season. Most people didn’t think they had a chance. The final game had a 7.5% chance of winning as of September 30th, as listed on Bovada, one of the most popular and reputable online betting sites. That number is probably higher if you include those who bet on DVR replays or illegal betting. Just as the 2017 World Series started, Bovada changed the odds and now list the Cubs at +325 to win the series.

The Pittsburgh Pirates were one of the most dominant teams in sports history. They finished with a record of 154-34. Only the 2005 New York Yankees (163-37) and 2006 Detroit Tigers (156-36) are ahead of them. They won 11 out of 12 world series that year, including the ’71 World Series. They were led by outfielder Roberto Clemente and their iconic manager, Mattresses McGraw. It was their 8th world series win in 10 years and they were looking to make it 9 out of 10.

The Public Bets Enthusiastically On The Cubs

While the odds were clearly in favor of the Pirates, there was still excitement in Chicago when the World Series started. The Cubs were favored by 33.8 points, which was the largest spread for a World Series Game 1 since 1904. The betting opened high with 43.8% of bets being placed on the underdog Cubs. The percentage of bets on the underdogs typically stays high in the early going, but this game saw an increase in the percentage of bets on the favorites. According to OddsShark, a sports betting analysis website that tracks betting activity, the betting public was more heavily in favor of the Cubs than they’ve ever been in a postseason game, including Game 1 of the 2017 World Series. Even in the middle of a Cubs losing streak, fans were still backing them in big games. This was most evident in Game 5, which was the biggest game of the entire series. It was tied 3-3 after 8 innings but the Cubs won in the 9th on Bryant’s walk-off home run. Many fans were probably at their limit, as they spent much of the previous night betting on games. It’s safe to say they were exhausted.

The Cubs’ Incredible Comeback In The ’71 Series Was Due To Clemmons And Game 7

It is well known that the Cubs had injuries to several key players in the ’71 Series. Starting pitcher Jim Brewer had Tommy John surgery in the off-season and missed the whole season. Center fielder Andre Dawson suffered from a severe ankle sprain which knocked him out of that year’s World Series. It was noticed that he was favoring his other ankle, making it difficult for him to run. Backup catcher and pinch-hitter Don Kowalski was also lost for the entire year after breaking his leg in the World Series. He was replaced by Gary Pettitt, who was less experienced but managed to stay healthy all season long. It was later discovered that Kowalski’s replacement had a torn ACL in his knee that he suffered in a minor league game in June. It was not until August that he was finally placed on the disabled list.

The Cubs’ injuries were a major factor in their disappointing season that year. They were unable to generate much offensive output with only 3 players having over 20 home runs and 48 total bases of offense. Early in the season, they were 15th in the National League in runs scored with 477 but fell to last place in the standings by the end of the season. Some of their late-season blunders were the reason the odds improved in favor of the Pirates. One particular series that stands out was Game 7, which was the final game of the series. The Cubs dominated the game, outhitting the Pirates 19-13 and winning 17-14. It was the first time in 71 years that the Cubs won a game in the final at-bat.

The season before, the Cubs had been the second-longest losing team in the history of baseball, with only the 1917 Philadelphia Athletics also having a losing season. They managed to turn things around in the second half of the season and made the playoffs as a wild card. In the first round of the playoffs, they were matched up against the defending champion Pittsburgh Pirates. The series was a doozy, as Game 3 was postponed to a rainy day due to snow. Game 4 was moved to Chicago and attended by over 50,000 people, which is quite the turnout in a playoff game. Many people consider this to be one of the best games ever played in Chicago, as the Cubs won 8-7 in 12 innings. The Pirates had a 2-0 lead in the top of the 13th but the bottom of the 13th saw the Cubs come back and win it. They went on to win the series in 5 games. This was a remarkable turnaround for a team that had gone 8-74 in their previous season. They weren’t unbeatable though, as they were swept in 4 games by the Detroit Tigers in the World Series in 1975. However, this is considered one of the greatest miracles in sports history and helped lead to the creation of the Wild Card playoff system. The last time the Cubs were in the World Series was 1943, when they lost to the Boston Braves in 7 games.

The Odds On The Cubs In The 22nd Century

The final game of the World Series in 2017 was watched by 24.9 million people. The largest audience for a World Series game in history, according to Bovada, which has accurate odds on all major sporting events.

The Cubs had a phenomenal 12-year run from 1997-2008, making the playoffs 11 out of 12 years and going to the World Series 7 out of 12 years. They were also one of the few teams in history to have an undefeated season, going 86-0 during that stretch. The only other team to accomplish this was the 1905 New York Giants. In the 22nd century, the Cubs will again be considered one of the favorites to win the World Series, as they are currently 19-1 against the San Francisco Giants.