Fading The Cubs And White Sox

White Sox

It is not much fun being a Chicago sports fan these days.

The Bulls are barely hanging on in the Eastern Conference play-in race, the Blackhawks are trying “their best” to tank for mega-prospect Connor Bedard, and the Fire have started their umpteenth consecutive rebuilding season in MLS. The Chicago Red Stars in the NWSL are arguably the best professional team in the city at the moment, while the Sky’s retooling after the departures of stars Candace Parker and Courtney Vandersloot makes them a mystery for the upcoming WNBA season.

Despite the Bears going 3-14, much of the sports talk in the Windy City continues to revolve around them and whether Justin Fields is indeed the franchise quarterback who can return the town to the glory days of the Super Bowl Shuffle. The added bonus for radio fodder is contemplating what the team will do with its acquired capital after dealing the No. 1 overall pick to the Carolina Panthers (the trade netted them the ninth and 61st picks this year, a 2024 first-round pick, a 2025 second-round pick, and wide receiver D.J. Moore).

While hope usually springs eternal for baseball in Chicago, the Cubs and the White Sox have largely been on the back burner. The window of playoff contention the Cubs created last decade that included a 2016 World Series title has long since closed, while the Sox traumatized all of the South Side by wildly underachieving through an injury-plagued 2022.

But even in the darkest of times, there are still ways to brighten the mood. And one of the ways to do that is to consider making the most of a bad situation with futures sports wagers at various Illinois sportsbooks for the 2023 MLB season.

The White Sox could contend in the AL Central, but …

We’ve got something to prove.
Our new chapter starts 𝐍𝐎𝐖. pic.twitter.com/Cu8bS76Hti

— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) March 30, 2023

There was plenty of optimism about White Sox entering last season, but it’s harder to find now. Gone (mercifully) is 78-year-old Tony La Russa, and in his place is former Royals bench coach Pedro Grifol. Yes, Grifol is a World Series winner from 2015, but do you know how many winning seasons the Royals have had since then? Zip. Nada. Zilch. Zero. None. Kansas City has since endured two 100-loss seasons and dropped 97 games in 2022.

The South Siders have some nice pieces, provided players stay healthy. Tim Anderson is one of the best middle infielders in the game — though he was limited to 79 games last season. Eloy Jimenez has hit 40 home runs — over 194 games spanning the last three seasons after hitting 31 as a rookie in 2019. Luis Robert and Yoan Moncada also missed large chunks of time in 2022.

The pitching corps is already down closer Liam Hendriks, who has begun treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Dylan Cease became an elite pitcher last year, Lucas Giolito needs to rediscover his elite form, and Mike Clevinger will be scrutinized every start after his off-field issues in the offseason.

The White Sox will contend because the AL Central is mediocre, but there’s value in taking under 83.5 wins at -110 at either Hard Rock or PointsBet.

The Cubs: One big signing, a bunch of smaller ones

Next starts today.#NextStartsHere pic.twitter.com/EJBxdEarJs

— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) March 30, 2023

The Cubs made a free agent splash in signing Dansby Swanson to a seven-year, $177 million deal and added a bunch of role player signings that put the “lovable losers” in a limbo between pure rebuild and trying to contend for the NL Central title. Some of those signings, like Cody Bellinger, are short-term deals that could be discarded at the trade deadline if it all goes sideways.

Marcus Stroman and Jameson Taillon could be a formidable 1-2 punch at the front of the rotation, but little was done to help a bullpen that squandered 30 of 74 save opportunities in 2022 and will be going the closer-by-committee route for at least the early going. The Cubs are clearly a level below the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers in the division, but they are third best, almost by default, since Cincinnati and Pittsburgh have even lower expectations.

The decision here is where to bet the under. PointsBet has the line at 77.5 wins and is offering +105 on the under, but those willing to sacrifice some payout for one more win’s worth of cushion can the grab under 78.5 wins at the much steeper price of -134 found at Kambi-powered books BetRivers and Barstool Sportsbook.

Photo: Getty Images

Author: Ryan Gonzales