It’s been 107 years since the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, and the team hasn’t even been in the Fall Classic since 1945. But the Lovable Losers are just one win away from reaching the NLCS, and they are in their best position to win a championship in over a decade.
Chicago needed to win the National League Wild Card Game to reach the NLDS, but they are now the favorites to represent the league in the World Series. With a 2-1 series lead over the St, Louis Cardinals, the Cubs have +140 betting odds to reach the Fall Classic, according to Bovada.lv. Heading into Game 4 at Wrigley Field, the Cubs are slight favorites to close out the NLDS at home against the Cardinals on Tuesday.
The Toronto Blue Jays are still the overall favorites to win the 2015 World Series, but Chicago isn’t far behind. They have +350 championship odds, compared to +1100 odds for the Cardinals, who are on the brink of elimination.
A few years ago, Chicago wouldn’t have even made the playoffs. But the second wild-card spot allowed them to reach the postseason and eliminate the 98-win Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs won 97 games this year, and they haven’t had a better regular season since they last reached the World Series.
If the Cubs advance to the NLCS, there’s a good chance they’ll face the New York Mets, who have a 2-1 series lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers. New York would have home-field advantage, but Chicago has owned the Mets this season. The Cubs won all seven head-to-head meetings against the Mets, including a sweep at Citi Field that saw New York score just one run in three games.
Jake Arrieta gave up four runs in Chicago’s Game 3 win against St. Louis, but he might be the best pitcher in the playoffs, giving the Cubs an advantage over any team they face. Prior to Monday’s start, he’d only allowed four runs since the start of August, including a complete-game shutout in the wild-card game. He has just one loss since late June, and that defeat came when Chicago was no-hit by Cole Hamels. If the Cubs win Game 4, Arrieta will be ready to open the NLCS on full rest.
Chicago’s offense has been among the best this postseason, leading the NL with nine home runs and a .789 OPS. Dexter Fowler, Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler all have two home runs each, and the Cubs are putting up runs even though Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are a combined three-for-30 in the playoffs.
The Cubs have -350 odds to beat the Cardinals in either four or five games. St. Louis, who led all MLB teams with 100-regular season wins, is a +280 underdog to advance to the NLCS.