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Bob Duff | Mon 03/04/2017 - 15:31 EDT

World Series Expert Picks

World Series Expert Picks
You know how in baseball when a hitter is in a slump, they say that once he gets one, he will break out and get on a roll? Well, it took them 108 years to break their slump but now that they have, watch the Chicago Cubs roll.

MLB 2017 World Series Predictions

By Bob Duff

Imagine this - the Chicago Cubs versus the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. The two teams that not so long ago were viewed as the most cursed franchises in pro sports battling for Major League Baseball supremacy.

Well, if the oddsmakers are right, you don't have to envision this showdown in some sort of dreamscape. It's going to happen. Bovada.lv has the Cubs and Red Sox as co-World Series favorites at +450 in their World Series future book. 

mlb

And it might happen. But will it? Well, there's a few other teams out there willing to dispute this notion.

Chicago Cubs (+450)

Cubs

Winning their first World Series since 1908, there's a sense that the Cubs are merely on the precipice of something spectacular, and that they could put together a run to rival the three straight World Series won by the New York Yankees from 1998-2000, the last time any team repeated as World Series champions.

There's solid logic behind this train of thought. The Cubs are loaded with young players just coming into their own, led by reigning National League MVP Kris Bryant. What's not to like about the Cubs, especially with Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Ben Zobrist in the lineup?

Well, for starters, there's their starting rotation. It isn't exactly young, and they logged a lot of innings in 2016. John Lackey, Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester are all in their 30s. Will they hold up under that workload in two successive seasons?

If they do, the Cubs should repeat. 

Boston Red Sox (+450)

sox

The Red Sox went out and make the biggest noise at the winter meetings, dealing for Chris Sale and adding him to a starting rotation that already included 2016 American League Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello and David Price.

They also acquired Tyler Thornburg to beef up their bullpen but the question is whether they can replace the bat of retired DH David Ortiz in baseball's most productive offense. Hanley Ramirez will move to DH, Mitch Moreland takes over at first base and Pablo Sandoval will be asked to rediscover his old form to help pick up the slack.

Los Angeles Dodgers (+900)

la

The Dodgers return basically the entire core of the team that came close to unseating the Cubs in the NLCS. They should again rule over the NL West, and if strikeout artist Clayton Kershaw, baseball's best pitcher, stays healthy, they are always in with a shot to go all the way.

But the Dodgers' outfield looks like it's been hit with a California earthquake and if they can't clean up that mess, their World Series hopes will be negated completely.

Cleveland Indians (+900)

tribe

Blowing a 3-1 World Series lead to the Cubs, the Indians, who haven't won the Fall Classic since 1948, now wear the curse of baseball's longest championship drought. 

The Indians will again dominate the weak AL Central, so the playoffs are a given. And they believe that the addition of the best free agent bat - 42-homer, 127-RBI man Edwin Encarnacion from Toronto - will be the difference maker to end their curse.

Their rotation is deep, their bullpen often unhittable. It's hard to count out the Tribe. Can they do like Kansas City in 2014-15 and win the World Series the year after losing it?

New York Mets (+1400)

mets

The Mets have been on the cusp of greatness for a couple of years, losing in the World Series in 2015, and if they can unseat the Washington Nationals and win the NL East, they will be right there in the hunt again.

Led by Noah Syndergaard, the pitching is deep but it's a group that's struggled to remain healthy. The outfield of the Mets will hit a lot of home runs but is also a defensive liability.

Houston Astros (+1400)

astros

Expect a bounceback season from the Astros, a solid sleeper bet to go all the way to the big dance. Jose Altuve could be the AL MVP, the leader of a core of oustanding young talent. The addition of Carlos Betran and Brian McCann provides veteran savvy to the group.

If they add another arm to go with 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel, the Astros will be dangerous.

World Series Pick: Chicago Cubs (+450) over Houston Astros (+1400)

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