FC Cincinnati's Corben Bone and Louisville City FC's Paolo DelPiccolo are both hoping to lead their clubs to the USL Cup this postseason. | Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisville City FC
TAMPA, Fla. – River Cities Cup rivals FC Cincinnati and Louisville City FC are currently on course for a showdown in the Eastern Conference Final of the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs, and according to fivethirtyeight.com the top two seeds in the Eastern Conference are also the two teams most likely to claim the 2018 USL Cup after this past weekend’s postseason results.
Eastern Conference No. 1-seed Cincinnati is now sitting at a 31 percent chance to lift the trophy on November 8 after its penalty shootout victory against Nashville SC this past weekend, up two percent from prior to the postseason. FCC is also the biggest favorite in this weekend’s conference semifinals with a 74 percent chance of victory against the No. 5-seed New York Red Bulls II.
The weekend’s result saw Eastern Conference No. 2-seed Louisville gain ground on FCC in terms of its USL Cup odds, however, as it ticked up four to 22 percent after a 4-1 win against Indy Eleven. Louisville has reached the Eastern Conference Final in each of its three previous seasons, and with a perfect record of eights wins out of eight at Slugger Field in its USL Cup Playoffs history is also strongly favored to eliminate No. 6-seed Bethlehem Steel FC.
The two biggest risers in USL Cup odds came in the Western Conference, where impressive wins and the elimination of No. 2-seed Sacramento Republic FC saw both No. 1-seed Orange County SC and No. 3-seed Phoenix Rising FC’s odds rise by five percent apiece to put Orange County as third-favorite on 18 percent and Phoenix at 13 percent.
If Phoenix is going to advance through to the Western Conference Final, though, it’s going to have to overcome one of the sides that beat the odds in the last round in the Swope Park Rangers. Tipped at just a 23 percent chance to defeat Sacramento, the West’s No. 7 seed pulled out a 2-1 win. Now facing similar odds as it heads to Phoenix as a 28 percent chance, the defending Western Conference champions will be upset-minded again against a solid favorite in Rising FC.