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CUBS CAN!

Sep 30, 2003 6:22 AM

The Major League regular season came to a dramatic conclusion this past weekend as the Chicago Cubs shocked many people and won the National League’s Central Division.

While Cub fans everywhere are delirious with joy, Chicago’s entry into post-season play presents some interesting possibilities for baseball bettors.

The Cubs haven’t won a World Series title since 1908, while another team to make the post season, the Boston Red Sox, haven’t captured a World Series since 1918.

These teams are two of the most storied franchises in baseball history, with the two oldest, smallest and quirkiest playing fields.

Since both squads have now qualified for postseason play, baseball purists are dreaming of a possible match-up in the World Series. So it is natural to wonder which team would be favored in a seven-game series, and by how much.

"I would have to make the Red Sox about a $1.40 favorite," reported Chuck Esposito, assistant vice president of Caesars Palace Race and Sports.

"I think the Red Sox would certainly have the edge in hitting, but the Cubs would have the edge in pitching. Though both parks are among the smallest in baseball, I don’t see the ”˜over/under’ numbers being very high because of cool weather and pitchers such as Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, Kerry Wood and Mark Prior.

"It certainly would be good for the sports books as far as the handle is concerned, and I’m sure the television networks would be overjoyed as well."

In addition to his proposition bet of the two teams meeting in the Fall Classic, Esposito released the odds to win the World Series, as well as the odds to win the American and National League championships.

In the Yankees series with Minnesota, New York is heavily favored at —270 with the Twins paying back a generous +210 to win the best of five series. (You must bet $2.70 on the Yanks to win $1, while a $1 bet on the Twins returns $2.10.)

The Boston Red Sox are favored at —150 to beat the Oakland Athletics, +130, while the San Francisco Giants are —180 to beat the Florida Marlins, +160.

The Cubs, with their excellent starting pitching, are about even money in their head-to-head with the Atlanta Braves, who are —130.

Caesars has also posted future bets on which team will win the World Series:

Yankees, 2-1

Red Sox, 7-2

Braves, 4-1

Giants, 4-1

Athletics, 5-1

Cubs, 5-1

Twins, 10-1

Marlins, 12-1.