World Series odds on December 16? Why not?

Associated Press
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There have been a handful of “the Cubs are now the World Series favorites!” stories going around since they signed Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist and John Lackey. And, with a respectful nod toward San Francisco, it’s hard to quibble with the notion that the Cubs have done more to improve themselves so far this offseason than any other contender.

Still, it seems rather weird to be handicapping the 2016 World Series in December of 2015. Sure, many of the biggest moves have already gone down, but late December and all of January are full of other transactions, many seemingly minor, which always have a big impact in the next year. And that’s before you remember that, most of the time, the team that “wins the offseason” does not win the World Series. Just go back and look at all the shade thrown on the Royals last winter to see how that all works out.

With all of those caveats in mind, the folks at Bovada have just sent around the latest 2016 World Series odds. They are, no doubt, calculated at getting people who don’t pay attention to those caveats to put money down on the Champions of the Offseason:

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Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

toronto blue jays
Thomas Skrlj/Getty Images
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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.