Neither the New York Yankees nor Chicago Cubs lead their respective divisions, but they're the pennant favorites with the 2018 MLB All-Star break a week away.
OddsShark shared the odds for the American and National League title races. The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox follow closely behind the Yankees, while the Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers are the top challengers for the Cubs:
Odds to win the National League pennant (@BovadaOfficial): Cubs +350 Dodgers +400 Brewers +500 Diamondbacks +600 Braves +700 Nationals +750 Phillies +1200 Giants +1600 Cardinals +2200 Rockies +3000 Pirates +9500 Mets +25000 Padres +35000 Reds +35000 Marlins +45000 https://t.co/tP7Zf3Ostj
Heading into Monday, the Yankees sit two games back of the Red Sox, while the Cubs are 1.5 games behind the Brewers.
Winning the division isn't a prerequisite for winning the World Series, but reaching the Fall Classic is easier when you can avoid the one-game wild-card playoff.
The 2014 San Francisco Giants are the last wild-card team to win a title, and that's also the last year a wild-card team captured a pennant since MLB adopted the current playoff format.
The Houston Astros are arguably the strongest title contender so far.
The Astros are third in weighted on-base average (.336) and first in FIP (3.09), per FanGraphs, which is the kind of balance no other team in baseball can tout. They have the best World Series odds on both Baseball Prospectus (17.1 percent) and FanGraphs (24.5 percent).
History isn't on Houston's side, though, considering the Yankees were the last team to repeat a World Series winners when they won three in a row between 1998 and 2000.