The Chicago Cubs are the clear-cut favorites to win the World Series, a feat that would end their 108-year championship drought and take a bite out of some, but not all, Las Vegas sportsbooks.
The Cubs are 9-5 to win the World Series at the Westgate SuperBook, followed by the Boston Red Sox at 9-2, the Texas Rangers at 5-1 and the Los Angeles Dodgers at 7-1. The Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals are each 8-1, with the San Francisco Giants and Cleveland Indians each listed at 12-1.
Chicago is the worst-case scenario for the Wynn race and sportsbook, which, for the past two years, had offered a proposition wager on whether the Cubs would win the World Series in either 2016 or 2017. In March, the prop's odds were "Yes" +250 and "No" -300. Bettors sided heavily with "Yes."
Overall, three times as much money has been bet on the Cubs to win the World Series as any other team at the Wynn, including a handful of futures bets that would pay out six figures on a Chicago championship.
"The Cubs are a pretty substantial loss for us, not just for that prop but also for the [World Series] futures," Wynn executive director Johnny Avello said. "But I'm working on it. I've got about three weeks to play around and see what I can do." The Wynn is offering the Cubs at 2-1 against the playoff field, a -240 favorite. The wiser money, Avello said, has been on the field. But the betting public is overwhelmingly on the Cubs, per usual.
Station Casinos said it has taken twice as many bets on the Cubs to win the World Series as any other team. But not all of them are expected to be cashed, even if the Cubs win it all for the first time since 1908.
"If they win, I bet several [bets] won't get cashed in and will be saved as mementos on the walls of many North Side Chicago homes and Cubs fans everywhere," Jason McCormick, sportsbook director for Station Casinos, said.
Betting on the Cubs to win the World Series has been a tradition in Las Vegas for decades. They are almost always among the most popular picks by the betting public. Bookmakers even joke about how many casinos have been built off of the Cubs World Series bets.
"This might be the year they catch up to us," Avello added.
Don't worry, though, Las Vegas is expected to be able to withstand a Cubs championship.
"The Cubs are our worst liability by far," said Bob Scucci, director of race and sports for Boyd Gaming, who works out of The Orleans casino, "but because they opened up with such short odds, it is not nearly as bad as it could have been. In prior years it would have been four or five times as bad. "
Caesars Palace said it would come out ahead if the Cubs win the World Series. The Giants are the worst-case scenario at both Caesars and Station Casinos.
William Hill's Nevada sportsbook said it's also in "good shape" on the Cubs. The Giants are the book's worst-case scenario, which would turn the futures pool into a break-even wash.
The Rangers attracted two significant futures bets at William Hill. On Dec. 7, a bettor placed a $25,000 on Texas winning the World Series at 15-1. The bet would net $375,000. And, on Aug. 8, the book took a $20,500 bet on the Rangers at +600. The bet would net $123,000.