Chicago Cubs 2021 Playoff Prospects, Betting Odds are Bearish

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If you don’t know the difference between a bear and bull market, here’s the etymology, which is really easy to remember. A bull market refers to stocks going up, because that’s how the animal attacks its prey, by driving its horns upward. A bear market is heading downward, because that’s how bears kill their victims- clamping and biting down.

Or you can just remember that in the 1990s the Chicago Bulls were up at the top of the NBA, while the Chicago Bears were down in the dregs, and staying there for awhile. As for the baby bears, the Chicago Cubs, the bull market for postseason possibilities is now over, and it’s going to be a bearish market for awhile.

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If you’re going to do some Brazino Sports Betting then you’ll see the Cubs as tremendous long shots, and deservedly so. Fan Graphs projects a 79-83 season and fourth place finish in the NL Central. Meanwhile William Hill (+375) and Draft Kings (+400) both give Chicago the fourth most favorable odds of winning the five team division.

World Series winning odds are an astronomical +4000 at both sports books, with +2200 priced for the NL pennant. In other words, no, they’re not going to being playing for the big prize this year, and if you want to buy the Cubs’ overpriced tickets this summer, plan on going for reasons other than to see a good team play some winning baseball.

The bookies and prognosticators are just reflecting the moves of the front office. They’ve decided the run is over, and now is the time to start tearing it down, with an eye on the next long term rebuild. 

Window Closed

The Cubs probably spoiled their fans when they made three NLCS appearances from 2015-17, but the good times stopped pretty abruptly. In the three seasons since, they did make two playoff appearances, but those playoff series saw the Cubs score a grand total of two runs across 31 innings of October baseball.

In other words, the chart has been projecting downward for some time, and when the Cubs traded Yu Darvish and Victor Caratini away for four prospects who haven’t even high A ball yet, it’s a clear indication of which lane the Ricketts family has chosen now.

Chicago Cubs Departures

In addition to losing Darvish, their best pitcher, arguably, two more members of the starting rotation are gone in Jose Quintana and Jon Lester. The latter is probably the most successful free agent signing in club history. Kyle Schwarber, irrationally overrated and unjustifiably beloved by the fan base, is gone too, but it’s not that big of a deal.

Losing the architect of the World Series winning build, Theo Epstein, is a much bigger deal, and I’ll guess we’ll just see how his apprentice, Jed Hoyer, does in the role.

Chicago Cubs Arrivals

Jake Arrieta is back, but he’s not the same guy that he was the last time he was here. Joc Pederson replaces Schwarber, and that’s more or less a wash. Zach Davies was signed and slots right into the top part of the starting rotation.

Chicago Cubs Outlook

The Cubs have had some issues with their offense, for some time, and their bullpen was borderline disastrous last year, but now they have to worry about their starting rotation too. Take a look at the lineup, rotation and bullpen projections for this season, via Athlon Sports.

None of that inspires confidences at all, and the only optimistic thing to say is, well, the rest of the division didn’t get any better either and it was never that strong to begin with anyway.  It’s not outside the realm of possibility that the Cubs flirt with .500 all year long and that the NL Central winner is a team that finishes in the ballpark of 83-79 or so.

In other words, the Chicago Cubs aren’t totally going away just yet. But the chart is definitely showing…all signals of a true bear market.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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