Quantifying Hope: Cubs Widening Playoff Odds Gap as Brewers Plummet

It’s time once again for another weekly installment of Quantifying Hope, which chronicles the Cubs’ fluctuating playoff odds over the course of the season. We have used FanGraphs as the source of our data all season for the sake of uniformity, but you can find various different odds at any number of outlets. And while our numbers are for entertainment purposes only, there are sites like Sports Betting Dime that help the gamblers among you

The MLB odds at SBD are updated daily, helping you scrutinize everything between now and September 29. That should come in handy when Chicagoland’s first sports book opens at the Horseshoe Hammond Casino on September 4, just a day ahead of the Bears/Packers NFL opener.

Anyway, back to baseball, where the Cubs now have 79.1% odds to reach the postseason. That’s still way down from their 90% perch of two weeks ago, but the spike from last week is real. A five-game win streak will tend to do that for you.

As you can see, part of what’s boosted the Cubs since last week is the Brewers’ sudden realization that they’re not actually a very good baseball team. Funny what happens when Christian Yelich finally tires from schlepping around with 24 other players on his back.

Despite looking quite spry when the Cubs were visiting, the Pirates no longer have a pulse. The Reds aren’t much better when it comes to their overall odds and they’re still 8 games out of the Wild Card, but they’re not quite dead yet. Neither team is likely to roll over in September, though, so the Cubs can’t very well expect a cakewalk in the nine combined games they’ve got left against the pair of divisional bottom-feeders.

Nor will they have it easy when the Nationals come to town for Players’ Weekend. At 70-57, Washington is out in front of the Wild Card race and boasts 90.4% playoff odds heading into Friday’s game. One season isn’t a referendum on Bryce Harper and one player does not a team make, but Mike Rizzo isn’t kicking himself for letting the big slugger go just yet.

This weekend is a big one for the Cubs, who will miss two of three big Nats starters and could really mold their future with a series win.

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