For a while, it looked as though we were going to need to look forward to a shortened MLB season, or perhaps even seeing it wiped out completely. The labor strife is now over, and teams are ready to go. Spring training is now in full effect with the full 162-game season right around the corner. As always, spring training tells us very little about what to expect in the regular season, but it is still fun to shepherd in spring with some game time. We are going to skip all that and look ahead at how each division might play out this season. With that in mind, let’s dig a little deeper into the NL Central Division so you can make your bets against the MLB NL Division Odds.
NL Central Season Predictions: Winner and Upset | MLB Betting
A Quick Breakdown of the NL Central Teams
Last year, the Central basically turned into a 2-horse race, with the Milwaukee Brewers pulling away to win it by 5 games. I think it might be a little closer this season, and we may have another team in the title mix. Right now, it is the Brewers (-149) who are in as the favorite to win it again. All projections from a variety of sources have them winning 88-90 games, which might be just enough to do it.
You look at the second half that the St. Louis Cardinals (+151) delivered last season and you wonder if that can carry over into the new season. If the Cardinals can get the most out of a pitching staff that doesn’t really have a legitimate ace, then they could push the Brewers all the way. It would not be a surprise to see this team in the postseason, especially now that it has been expanded.
The Cincinnati Reds (+910) are considered the 3rd best option to win the division by the bookies, but that seems like a bit of a stretch to me. The Reds were in the playoff picture for a good portion of last season and fell away late. Making matters worse is the fact that they lost some key pieces in the offseason and did little to replace them. I think they are more realistically looking at 4th in the Central in 2022.
Things get a little bit trickier when talking about the Chicago Cubs (+970). The front office went on a tear at the deadline last season, offloading talent in a way that suggested they were a team looking at a serious rebuild. Instead, they were rather busy on free agency and added pieces that could well have this team pushing for a Wild Card spot all the way to the end. I might be willing to risk a few bucks on them getting in.
With just 61 wins last season, the Pittsburgh Pirates (+4500) are undoubtedly looking at another long, fruitless year in 2022. I’d be stunned if they finished anywhere other than last in the division. The outlook for the Pirates is not good, and it really is just a matter of figuring out how many games they will lose.
Division Winner Prediction
I am going to go with a bit of a gamble here and take the Cardinals to win the division, although I do believe that they and the Brewers will be postseason bound. If the Cubs can get off to a fast start, we might be in for a good race.
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