Bradley Wright-Phillips, Michael Parkhurst - Atlanta United New York Red Bulls
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FiveThirtyEight highlights three MLS Cup favorites, projects Knockout Round

According to the numbers at FiveThirtyEight, there are three teams clearly ahead of the pack to hoist MLS Cup: New York Red Bulls, Atlanta United and Sporting Kansas City

The three clubs share 64 percent of the probability to win MLS Cup on Dec. 8, with the Red Bulls (23 percent) and Atlanta (23 percent) as joint favorites and SKC (18 percent) just behind. 

New York wrapped up the Supporters' Shield on Decision Day by setting a new league record for points in a season with 71, narrowly edging Atlanta, who finished with 69. SKC head into the playoffs on a hot streak, enjoying a five-game unbeaten run, including three straight wins.

FiveThirtyEight still give ATL UTD the highest Soccer Power Index (SPI) score in the league, ahead of SKC then the Red Bulls. 

Behind that trio, the Seattle Sounders lead the second tier of MLS Cup probabilities at 9 percent, just ahead of NYCFC (7 percent) and LAFC (6 percent). Real Salt Lake (1 percent) and the Philadelphia Union (1 percent) are seen as the two unlikeliest teams to win MLS Cup that made the playoffs. RSL and D.C. United are given the two lowest SPI scores as well. 

On Wednesday, the playoffs start with the knockout round and FiveThirtyEight expects a home sweep. They favor NYCFC (74 percent) over Philadelphia Union; FC Dallas (65 percent) over Portland Timbers; D.C. United (63 percent) over Columbus Crew SC;  LAFC (71 percent) over Real Salt Lake.

As we know, the numbers are just probabilities, not certainties. Nothing is guaranteed in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup playoffs. 

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