Quantifying Hope: Cubs at 96.6% Playoff Odds as NL Central’s Only Winning Team

Losing three straight to the Brewers before dropping the first game of their Monday doubleheader with the Cardinals caused a bit of a hiccup for the Cubs, but their odds were aided by winning three of their last four. Their overall postseason chances dropped by just 1.4% from last week, while their win total dipped by the same number of games.

That means basically carrying the same lead they currently hold throughout the remainder of the season, with all three real division rivals staying bunched together. The Brewers have really jumped up over the last week, largely on the strength of their series against the Cubs, and the Cards are up over 6% as well. How they handle a spate of twin bills will determine their outcome.

As of post time, the Cubs are the only team in the NL Central with better than a .500 record, and they’ve done it while playing at least one more game than any of their divisional opponents. The NL as a whole has only five winning teams, three of which reside in the West, though three more sit at .500 and there are five within three games of even.

Maintaining the status quo would mean no teams with losing records sneaking into the playoffs, but there’s plenty of room for things to shift around at the margins as the season progresses. That’s particularly true for teams like the Cardinals, who will be making up a slew of games and could shift the odds significantly in short order. While that may not appeal to the purists out there, online bettors should have a helluva fun time monitoring all the changes.

Speaking of which, I tried to place a wager through DraftKings Sportsbook last weekend while I was in Chicago. The rules on that have loosened thanks to new legislature, but you still have to go register in person at the physical location of such and such casino in order to be able to bet through the app. Sucks for me, because I was going to bet big on Dinelson Lamet over 7.5 strikeouts and I would have won.

Of course, big for me would have been like $10 or something. I’d be willing to lay a lot more than that on the Cubs returning to the postseason at this point, but the juice isn’t worth the squeeze because the odds are so heavily in their favor. A Marlins/Orioles/Rangers parlay would probably pay out well, though.

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