National League Central Betting Preview

National League Central Betting Preview

Matthew Smith
2 years ago
4 min read

By the end of the season, one team seemed to separate itself from the others, but with no truly dominant teams, this division will still be one of the more interesting to keep an eye on. Here is a look at each of the teams in the N.L. Central and their odds of winning the division.

St. Louis Cardinals (-105 to win Central)

It may have only been one major move, but it separated the Cardinals from the rest of the pack in the Central. Bringing in third baseman Nolan Arenado for pennies on the dollar in a trade with the Colorado Rockies was a remarkable move.   

Not only does Arenado bring Gold Glove quality skills at the hot corner, but his bat will sit nicely in the middle of the lineup. Last season was a down year for him, but he still hit .253/.303/.434 with 8 home runs, 26 runs batted in, and 23 runs scored in 182 at-bats. It was just two years ago that he clubbed 41 home runs, and at 29 years old, he should give the Cardinals several good years.

Aside from Arenado, the club’s biggest moves were bringing back Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright. This team seems poised for a solid year, and their odds to win the division (-105) reflect it. They also currently sit at +2200 to win the World Series. 

Cincinnati Reds (+330)

After taking a step forward last year, it feels like this offseason; the Reds took two steps back. They lost Trevor Bauer to free agency, traded Rasiel Iglesias to the Angels, and chose not to offer a contract to Archie Bradley. In terms of additions, the only somewhat notable addition was adding reliever Sean Doolittle.

This team still has a solid one-two in Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo. Last season, Gray went 5-3 with a 3.70 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and had 72 strikeouts in 56 innings. Castillo went 4-6 with a 3.21 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and had 89 strikeouts in 70 innings.  

While those two will give the Reds a chance anytime, they take the mound. They will need others to step up. Most notably, their additions from last offseason (Mike Moustakas, Nick Castellanos, and Shogo Akiyama) all have to be better.

Milwaukee Brewers (+380)

The Milwaukee Brewers may be a bit of a sleeper team in the division. Despite a mediocre year from star outfielder Christian Yelich and the fact Lorenzo Cain opted out last season, they still made the playoffs for the third year in a row.

The biggest acquisition this offseason was second baseman, Kolten Wong. Last season, with the Cardinals, he hit .265/.350/.326 with 1 home run, 16 runs batted in, 26 runs, and 5 stolen bases in 181 at-bats. While his bat is average, his addition will help the defense as it will also shift Keston Hiura over to first base.

As mentioned before, a better season from Christian Yelich would go a long way towards helping this team out. Last season, he hit a disappointing .205/.356/.430 with 12 home runs, 22 runs batted in, and 39 runs scored. It was just two years ago that he hit .329 and bombed 44 home runs, so a rebound is due.

Chicago Cubs (+500)

The Cubs were a perplexing team to figure out this offseason. They let three impact players go as they traded their ace, Yu Darvish, to the San Diego Padres. They also decided not to renew Kyle Schwarber’s contract and let Jon Lester walk in free agency.

While it seemed like they were trying to shed salary, some of their moves since have been odd. They added a similar player to Schwarber in outfielder Joc Pederson. They also added Trevor Williams, Kyle Davies, Austine Romine, and Andrew Chafin.

On paper, the offense should still produce with Javy Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Wilson Contreras, and Kris Bryant in the lineup, but consistency is their concern with those four. 

The biggest worry, though, is probably in their starting rotation. Right now, the Cubs have three projected starters that don’t have a fastball that tops ninety. While Kyle Hendricks can be relied on to lead the rotation, the rest (Davies, Williams, Alec Mills, and Adbert Alzolay) bring far less certainty.

Pittsburgh Pirates (+10000)

Well, it is just a tough time to be a Pirates fan right now. With a team that was already not competitive, general manager Ben Cherrington blew up the team even more.

During the offseason, he traded Jameson Taillon, Joe Musgrove, and Josh Bell for a plethora of prospects. Aside from that, there wasn’t a whole lot of significant action.

The Pirates seem to be taking the road of other clubs by going through a painful rebuild, trading away veterans for prospects, and trying to accumulate talent any way they can.  

Frankly, the Pirates will compete for more for the first overall pick in next year’s draft more than they will for a division title. For Pirates fans, it is about embracing youngsters like Ke’Bryan Hayes and other players that the Pirates hope grow into stars.

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