Teams are heading to Spring Training with great anticipation. The World Champion Chicago Cubs are leading the way in Nevada now.
The excitement is in the air and people are heading to stores to purchase gifts, celebrating their love. No, I do not mean Valentine’s day. It’s Spring Traning time for the Chicago Cubs. That means Opening Day is drawing near.
Most transactions are complete at this point, and this leads casinos and sports betting establishments to release their projects for the 2017 season. While I am not a betting man, and I am not encouraging anyone else to gamble, the information breeds hope – or supports the overwhelming dread – for Chicago Cubs Fans.
The Atlantis Casino in Reno, Nevada, released their MLB season win totals for 2017. They are the first to do so annually. Several items are considered for each team including performance the previous year, transactions made during offseason, starting rotation, and potential line-up. Given these factors, the Cubs are projected to win the most games in 2017.
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After crunching all the numbers, sports book director at Atlantis Casino, Steve Mikkelson, projects the Chicago Cubs to win 95.5 games. He’s slated the ALCS Champion Cleveland Indians at 92.5 wins, best in the American League. Other top contenders for the NL Divisions are Los Angeles Dodgers (91.5) and Washington Nationals (90.5). Following these teams are the New York Mets (89.5), and the St. Louis Cardinals and San Fransisco Giants (87.5).
What makes the Cubs the favorite? Simply depth. The versatility of players like Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Ben Zobrist, and talented back-ups providing much-needed help in case of injury. We witnessed that last year. Also, the makeup of the bullpen is improved with Wade Davis and Koji Uehara signing this offseason. Add this to the top defense and pitching staff, and the Cubs look great on paper.
Odds are just odds, and it is rare that they are exact come season’s end. However, they’re often a good indicator of standings within the divisions. For example, last year, the same sports book picked the Cubs to be the top team in the NL Central with 89 wins. This was followed by the Cardinals at 87.5 wins, the Pittsburg Pirates with 87, and the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds with 71.5 and 71 wins, respectively. While the win totals were off, most were close. What was correct was the finishing order.
Furthermore, these odds will change over the season. Last year, there were points in which the Cubs were projected to win 107 games, or 98.5 games. As the season continues, the numbers will bear out who best predicted teams.
Will the Chicago Cubs win 96 games? Maybe. Can they win 103 again? Doubtful. The last two teams to win 100 games failed to get close the following season. The St. Louis fell from 100 wins in 2015 to 86 in 2016. The Philadelphia Phillies only won 81 games in 2012 after posting 102 wins in 2011.
But this is 2017, and these are the World Champion Cubs. They are young, talented, and, now, experienced. Buckle up, fans. This is going to be fun.