The Cubs just keep winning while their division rivals remain well below .500, which is a pretty solid recipe for success. After beating the Brewers 4-2 Thursday night and seeing the Reds fall to the slugging Pirates, the Cubs’ lead in the Central jumped to 6.5 games. No other spread from first to last in any other division is bigger than that.
As you can probably imagine, that has translated to much better odds for the Cubs when it comes to their win total and playoff chances. Though the division race was initially expected to be a coin flip, the Cubs have run away early and are now expected to finish 37-23. That would put them well ahead of their next three competitors, hence the 98.2% playoff odds at FanGraphs.
Their strong play also has them jumping up to 6.6% World Series odds, second best in the league, with the Dodgers still viewed as the overwhelming favorites. Behind exploits like Mookie Betts’ three-homer explosion Thursday night, LA is at 16.4% to win it all. The Yankees (10.2%), Astros (7.4%), and Twins (6.9%) are all ahead of the Cubs as well.
These odds could change dramatically over the next week, though, as the Cubs are set to play five games against the Cardinals over three days. That’s the same number of games the Cards have played on the season at this point, so their outlook has the potential to shift wildly one way or the other.