The Cleveland Indians emerged from their 22-game winning streak as the favorites to win the World Series.
With two weeks left in the regular season, the Indians are World Series favorites at 9-4 at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas. The Los Angeles Dodgers are 5-2, followed by the Houston Astros (5-1), Washington Nationals (7-1) and Chicago Cubs (8-1).
Three weeks ago, the Indians were considered second-tier contenders. When their winning streak began on Aug. 24 with a 13-6 victory over the Boston Red Sox, their World Series odds were 7-1, behind the Dodgers and Astros. By the time the streak ended Friday with a 4-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals, they were consensus World Series favorites and attracting big bets.
Las Vegas sportsbook operator CG Technology took a series of large bets on the Indians to win the World Series over the last month; the largest was a $17,000 wager on Sept. 11, when Cleveland was 4-1. CG Technology also took $10,000 and $5,000 bets on the Indians in recent weeks.
Across Las Vegas, sportsbooks started seeing an increase in interest in the Indians from bettors when the streak hit double-digits. Day after day, books found themselves rooting against Cleveland.
"It was like a free winner on them every day," South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews told ESPN. "We had some monster prices, and guys were throwing them in parlays every day. It didn't murder us, but it wasn't good, I can tell you that."
If you bet $100 on the #Indians on Aug 24th and rolled over each game it would be worth $1,050,349. Hindsight is the best handicapper ever!— LVSuperBook (@LVSuperBook) September 13, 2017
The prices to bet the Indians grew significantly throughout the streak. They topped out as -420 favorites, with ace Corey Kluber on the mound against the Detroit Tigers on Sept. 12. It was the eighth time since 1999 that a team was listed as greater than a -400 favorite, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
Nine times during the streak, the Indians were listed as -230 favorites or greater.
"For the most part, they really beat us," CG Technology vice president of risk Jason Simbal said. "At the same time, the Dodgers couldn't win and we were getting killed. Everyone was betting on the Indians and against the Dodgers. It was not a good couple weeks for us in baseball.