The Second City’s two baseball teams are trending in opposite directions as the second half of the MLB season nears.
On one hand, we have the White Sox, who are 54-35 and own the best winning percentage in the American League despite a rash of injuries.
On the other, we have the Cubs, who have lost 13 of their last 15 games after a surprisingly good start.
The White Sox figure to be buyers at the July 30 MLB trade deadline, while the Cubs will likely be sellers.
For a while, it looked like a White Sox vs. Cubs World Series was a long shot, but within the realm of possibilities. Now, it’s hard to imagine that scenario at all.
Let’s take a look at some World Series and divisional odds for both clubs.
Chicago baseball World Series odds at Illinois sportsbooks
Here are the first 10 listings of the 2021 World Series odds for Chicago baseball teams at legal online sportsbooks in Illinois (Story continues below):
Sox in a buyers market
The White Sox are in the upper tier of MLB teams to win it all.
Chicago has the best record in the American League and has been missing Eloy Jimenez all season. Jimenez, who posted an .891 OPS as a 23-year-old, should return by the end of July and provide a needed boost to an offense lacking in elite power.
The Sox have also been without star centerfielder Luis Robert for the majority of the season. Robert is on track to return a few weeks after Jimenez, and his two-way ability gives Chicago an added dimension of talent that it simply doesn’t have right now. Yasmani Grandal should return around the same time.
The Southsiders will likely add at the trade deadline, too.
Second base is an obvious hole with Nick Madrigal out for the season. Relief pitching should also be a priority, as 2020 revelations such as Codi Heuer and Matt Foster have struggled mightily.
The Sox benefit by playing in the lowly AL Central — the Indians are the only other team above .500, and they are a modest 45-42 with significant injuries of their own.
With that in mind, here are the AL Central odds at FanDuel Sportsbook in Illinois:
- White Sox: -3,000
- Indians: +1,200
- Twins: +8,000
- Tigers: +20,000
- Royals: +39,000
Based on those odds, the White Sox could run away with the division. The playoffs are when the games should really start to matter.
One area of concern for Chicago, however, is its record against good teams. The Sox are just 16-24 against squads greater than .500, an ominous sign for October.
With that said, it’s fair to wait and see how they perform against the league’s best with their full roster intact.
The Cubs will likely sell at the deadline
Cubs top baseball executive Jed Hoyer confirmed that the team is open to selling off some players at the trade deadline after a recent nosedive. The NL Central odds reflect as such.
At FanDuel, here are the divisional lines with the Cubs currently eight games back of the Brewers:
- Brewers: -410
- Reds: +400
- Cubs: +1,600
- Cardinals: +1,800
- Pirates: +50,000
The Cubs are also 7.5 games back in the Wild Card race.
Hoyer may deal some big names this month that could affect the Pennant race. Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez could all be available, fixtures on the 2016 World Series team.
You’ve likely heard Bryant’s name the most in trade talks. His contract is up at the end of this year, and he has the ability to play anywhere besides catcher and shortstop. Bryant is attractive to contenders because he can plug so many holes.
Rizzo will also be a free agent, though he doesn’t offer as much versatility as Bryant.
The market for Bryant will be fascinating, as he’s a rental who is coming off of a June in which he posted a .445 OPS. However, that mark has rebounded to .932 in July.
It’s going to be a fun second half of the season for one of these two teams. For the other, it could be the start of a rebuild.