Major League Baseball Betting Analysis and Predictions: National League Central

Date IconLast Updated: Sep 15th, 2023
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Major League Baseball Betting Analysis and Predictions: National League Central
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Major League Baseball will begin on April 7. To get you ready for the season, we’re going to take a look at each division with World Series odds and predictions.

Today, we break down the National League Central.

World Series Odds

  • Milwaukee Brewers, -175
  • St. Louis Cardinals, +230
  • Chicago Cubs, +1100
  • Cincinnati Reds, +1600
  • Pittsburgh Pirates, +5000

The Milwaukee Brewers are the strongest overall team in the National League Central, and the betting markets more than reflect that fact pricing them at -175 favorites to win the division.

Among the five teams in the NL Central, three of them will be fortunate to be playing .500 ball: the Pittsburgh Pirates +5000, the Cincinnati Reds +1600, and the Chicago Cubs +1000 odds to win the division.

The St. Louis Cardinals, at +230, are the only team with a deep bullpen, starting rotation, and the bats in the lineup that can challenge the Milwaukee Brewers in 2022.

Four Things to Know About the St. Louis Cardinals in 2022

The first thing to know is that the Brewers are overpriced, and the betting markets significantly discount the Cardinals.

The Brewers' regular-season wins total is 89.5 and the Cardinals are priced at 84.5 wins. The gap of just five games spanning a marathon 162-game season is trivial, and injuries to key players throughout the season can more than offset that five-game deficit in the standings.

The Cardinals' farm system is rich in talent and one that I believe is far better than most of the published rankings showing them to be in the lower half of MLB.

Juan Yepez is a multi-positional player that can play third base, first base, and both corners of the outfield and is the most valuable prospect in the Cardinals farm system.

He is 24 years old and has already played in six minor league seasons, steadily rising through the ranks. He played for AAA Memphis most recently, where he appeared in 92 games, batted .290 with 22 home runs and 63 RBI in 356 at-bats. He hits to all fields and is a natural fit in the Cardinals lineup.

The third thing you need to know is the Cardinals play at Busch Stadium, a pitcher’s heaven among MLB venues.

On the surface, the Cardinals batted .244 last season, matching the league average and ranking 13 in MLB and posted a .725 OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) that ranked 15.

However, when we adjust these performance measures based on the home venue, the Cardinals' offensive production was significantly better than the flash stats. They ranked 10th in MLB and fourth in the National League (ahead of Milwaukee) in OPS adjusted to the team’s ballpark last season.

The fourth thing you need to know is that the Cardinals’ infield is the best defensive group in the National League.

They ranked second in MLB and first in the NL with defensive runs saved above the league average last year and that group is back.

They have a starting rotation that generates far more ground ball outs than fly ball outs in RHP Adam Wainwright, LHP Steven Matz, RHP Miles Mikolas, and RHP Dakota Hudson. The Cardinals' pitching staff led the majors with a 7.6% home run-to-fly ball ratio, the percentage of line drives and fly balls that were home runs.

So, How Should You Bet the NL Central?

The Cardinals are on the verge of taking another step toward a NL pennant and World Series appearance this season under new skipper Oliver Marmol, who was the bench coach under since departed Mike Schildt.

Despite taking the Cardinals to the postseason three times in his three seasons as the skipper of the Cardinals, the organization relieved him of his responsibilities.

The Cardinals franchise is one that you never have to question their moves, and I believe there is a lot we do not yet know about the managerial skill set of the 35-year old Marmol.

The Cardinals won 90 games in the 2021 season, and I believe betting the Over 84.5 wins is a solid opportunity.