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Tuley's Take on NLCS: Cubs, Cubs, Cubs

Dave Tuley
VSiN.com senior reporter

LAS VEGAS – First of all, an apology: I promised in Thursday’s ALCS betting preview that we would have the NLCS betting preview on Friday. Of course, anyone who follows these things knows the Cubs didn’t announced their Game 1 starter all day Friday and the sports books here in Vegas and offshore didn’t post Game 1 or series prices until Saturday morning.

In the meantime, the Houston Astros beat the New York Yankees 2-1 Friday night to take a 1-0 lead in the ALCS and will play their Game 2 on Saturday afternoon before the NLCS gets started. That also means that our promised World Series odds update also takes into account the Astros being up 1-0:

World Series futures
Courtesy: Westgate

Dodgers 8-5
Astros     8-5
Cubs       4-1
Yankees 11-2

Note: all other odds are from VSiN’s home at the South Point as of Saturday morning:

Series Price: Los Angeles Dodgers minus-185/Chicago Cubs plus-165

Game 1: Cubs (o/u 7 under -125) at Dodgers (-200), 8:05 p.m. ET Saturday

Tuley’s Take: As you can see, the Dodgers are the same odds to win the World Series at the Westgate as the Astros, who are already up 1-0 in their series. That’s a lot of respect. They’re also favored by more over the Cubs in Game 1 of the NLSC than they are for the series, and that’s because Clayton Kershaw in on the mound. Besides Kershaw, a lot of things point to the Dodgers being such heavy favorites: they seem to have overcome their late-season slump and are coming off a sweep of the Diamondbacks, well-rested and with their starting rotation all set while the Cubs are coming off a really tough five-game series against the Nationals and are scrambling to get their rotation in order. The Dodgers also swept the Cubs at Chavez Ravine back in May and won the season series 4-2; however, this is where we flip the Hollywood script. Don’t forget that the Cubs won two of three at Wrigley Field back in April and, of course, beat the Dodgers 4-2 last year in this NLCS. Disclaimer: I was born and raised a die-hard Cubs fans and it took 50 years to get over my personal affliction with their World Series win last year. But I think I can still be objective and say that the Cubs are betting value in this series with their (and this is weird saying) much more successful playoff experience. I know Kershaw has mostly overcome his postseason demons (which we’ve had a lot of success fading him over the years), however, we faded him last year in Game 6 of the NLCS and I have no problem doing it again. I know this won’t sound very analytical, but the Cubs have “it;” they know how to win even if it doesn’t show up in batting averages, WAR, ERA, WHIP, etc. And this isn’t an opinion I’m just coming up with now: before the playoffs started, I stated in my VSiN betting previews that I thought the winner of the Nationals-Cubs series could go all the way. I felt that series was a toss-up, but that either team had the lineup and pitching staffs to take down the Dodgers in this round and represent the NL in the Fall Classic. Now I’m willing to put my money where my computer is. The plays: Cubs plus-165 in the series; Cubs plus-180 in Game 1; Cubs pretty much any game as underdogs.

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