With the Cleveland Indians waiting for their opponent and the National League Championship Series between the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers nearing its conclusion, World Series predictions continue to roll in for the three teams still alive in the 2016 playoffs.

While it isn’t surprising that the Cubbies have made it this far considering they had the best record in Major League Baseball during the regular season, pre-playoff picks suggest few expected the Indians and Dodgers to still be in the hunt at this point.

As the start of the Fall Classic draws closer, here is a look at predictions for the World Series winner from some of the top experts in baseball.



FiveThirtyEight uses statistical models to make predictions across multiple sports including baseball.

According to FiveThirtyEight.com, the Cubs are favored to win the World Series with a 51 percent chance, followed by the Indians at 39 percent and the Dodgers at 10 percent.

Chicago is also a heavy favorite in the NLCS with an 81 percent chance to get past L.A.

The numbers make plenty of sense, as the Cubs were the best team in baseball during the regular season and don’t seem to have a weakness.

Their starting rotation is great from top to bottom with Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks and John Lackey. They also boast an elite closer in Aroldis Chapman.

On top of that, Chicago is capable of getting production from anywhere in its lineup thanks to the contributions of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Javier Baez and Ben Zobrist, among others.

Cleveland, on the other hand, is without ace pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar, while Trevor Bauer’s status remains unclear after cutting his pinkie finger on a drone.

Despite that and everything the stats suggest, Tribe owner Paul Dolan believes his team may be meant to win it all, per Zack Meisel of Cleveland.com:

In February or March of many years, we foresee a team that can win. And then the story develops and something happens and we don’t. This has been that year where everything goes right. Even when something goes wrong, it turns into something right. I’ve heard ‘Team of Destiny’ mentioned a few times. It sure feels like something like that.

Both the Cubs and Indians have had unexplained collapses and shortcomings in the playoffs over the years despite fielding great teams.

The result is that Chicago hasn’t won the World Series since 1908, while Cleveland hasn’t accomplished its ultimate goal since 1948.

Both may be due to end their respective droughts from a statistical perspective, and FiveThirtyEight favors the Cubs to do precisely that.



ESPN polled 32 of its experts prior to the start of the MLB playoffs, and only one of them has a chance to correctly call both World Series participants as well as the winner.

According to ESPN.com, Adam Rubin predicted a clash between the Indians and Cubs in the Fall Classic, which will occur if Chicago takes care of business in one of the next two games.

David Schoenfield also picked Cleveland to go all the way, but he picked the Indians to lose to the San Francisco Giants.

Eric Karabell was the only expert to predict the Dodgers would reach the World Series, but he had them losing to the Boston Red Sox.

Rubin chose the Cubs over the Indians in the World Series, but he was far from the only one to predict that Chicago would end its long title drought. In fact, 19 experts chose the Cubs, which was more than any other team, while no one chose the Indians or Dodgers.

The confidence in the Cubs is understandable, but recent history hasn’t been good to them when it comes to closing out the NLCS and reaching the World Series, according to ESPN Stats & Info:

Regardless of whether the Cubs or Dodgers reach the World Series, they will be at somewhat of a disadvantage to the Indians.

The fact that Cleveland beat the Toronto Blue Jays in five games has given the team extra rest and allowed it to set up its starting rotation however it pleases.

That may not matter because the team lacks great starters behind Corey Kluber due to myriad injuries, but any rest in October is a luxury after such a long season.


USA Today

Like ESPN, USA Today polled multiple experts before the playoffs started, and they too were largely behind the Cubs to win it all.

While no expert correctly predicted the World Series since nobody chose the Indians to reach the Fall Classic, six of the seven had the Cubs making it to the end, while Gabe Lacques picked the Dodgers to win the NLCS.

Of the six experts who penciled in the Cubs as NL champions, Steve Gardner, Bob Nightengale, Jorge L. Ortiz and Ted Berg believed they would win the World Series as well.

Pressure is an immeasurable factor, but after winning the most games during the regular season and getting picked by so many to end its supposed World Series curse, Chicago is under the most pressure to win.

Cleveland is playing with house money to some degree since none of the aforementioned experts picked the Indians to win, likely because their starting rotation as been depleted.

The Indians do have a big advantage over both the Cubs and Dodgers in the bullpen, though, as Cody Allen and championship series MVP Andrew Miller carried them through the first two rounds by pitching in any and all situations.

Miller, in particular, put forth an historic performance to push the Tribe into the World Series:

Bullpen dominance has gone a long way toward championship success in recent years, as the Kansas City Royals largely rode their relievers to a World Series triumph last season.

The Indians have a chance to do the same, but they’ll still be heavy underdogs if the Cubs can seal the deal against the Dodgers.


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