Who’s Going to Win the NL Central? Cubs, Cardinals, Brewers All Within Two Games, But Odds Favor Chicago

  • The Chicago Cubs remain +115 favorites to win the NL Central
  • The St. Louis Cardinals (+140) have rocketed into a tie in the standings during a 21-13 run
  • With MVP slugger Christian Yelich and starter Jhoulys Chacin hobbled, the Milwaukee Brewers sit at a distant +325 price

The Chicago Cubs' roller coaster season continued this past weekend, with the club closing out a dismal 10-game road trip with a pair of victories in Pittsburgh. Sunday’s 7-1 victory over the Pirates gave the Cubs consecutive wins on the road for the first time in over five weeks, and lifted them back into a dead heat with the resurgent St. Louis Cardinals in the hunt for top spot in the NL Central.

Despite their continued struggles on the road, and inability to maintain a lead in the division standings, the Cubs continue to lead the way as +115 favorites to win the NL Central title for the third time in four years.

Odds to Win NL Central Division

TeamOdds to Win NL Central at Bovada*
Chicago Cubs+115
St. Louis Cardinals+140
Milwaukee Brewers+325
Cincinnati Reds+3000
Pittsburgh Pirates+50000

*Odds as of Aug 19, 2019.

Road Woes Leave Cubs on Postseason Bubble

Consistent success on the road has eluded the Cubs all season, and will likely be pointed to should they fail to make a fifth straight postseason appearance. Going into this week, Chicago sports the worst road record of any team currently in the postseason picture, compiling a dismal 25-39 record away from Wrigley Field, including a 7-12 mark in 19 road dates since the All-Star break.

While just 17 of their final 38 contests come on the road, the Cubs face an enormous task to reverse their season-long swoon, with 10 of those contests coming against opponents currently in postseason contention, including a three-game season-ending series in St. Louis, where they have posted wins in just four of 15 contests since the start of the 2018 season.

With a home schedule heavy with division rivals down the stretch, the Cubs remain largely in control of their postseason destiny. Chicago also sees an NL Central opponent in 13 of its final 21 home games, including seven total against the Cardinals and Brewers.

However, it is tough to overlook the Cardinals, who lag behind Chicago as +140 second favorites ahead of this week’s crucial three-game clash with Milwaukee.

Stingy Defense Fueling Cardinals’ Second-Half Resurgence

After going 9-18 during the month of May, the Cardinals looked to be on their way to missing the postseason for a fourth straight year. But apart from a shaky 2-8 run in late July, marked by a winless five-game West Coast swing, St. Louis has emerged as one of the steadiest teams in baseball since the All-Star break.

The Cardinals have tallied a 21-13 record since the start of the unofficial second half, including their current 7-2 run.

The Cardinals have tallied a 21-13 record since the start of the unofficial second half, including their current 7-2 run.

Offensive production remains a concern for the Cardinals, who sit 14th in the NL in runs scored, ahead of only the woeful Miami Marlins. The club’s bats have shown signs of heating up of late, averaging 5.33 runs per game over their past nine, but it is stellar defense and pitching that has led the Cardinals back to the top of the standings.

2019 MLB Divisional Odds Tracker

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St. Louis has allowed just three runs per game over its past 11 contests, three or fewer runs in 10 of 15 home dates since the All-Star Break, and sits second in the NL with just 518 runs allowed, trailing only the MLB-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.

That bodes well for the Cardinals, who hold two games in hand on the Cubs, and play 24 of their final 40 games at Busch Stadium, including 12 dates against teams currently sporting losing records.

Brewers Remain Hobbled by Injuries, Inconsistency

The Brewers maintain lengthy +325 odds of successfully defending their NL Central crown, and despite trailing both the Cubs and Cardinals by just two games in the divisional standings, Milwaukee has a mountain to climb to finish atop the division standings.

Like St. Louis and Chicago, consistency has eluded the Brewers, who have compiled a middling 17-16 record so far in the second half. Milwaukee’s wins have largely come against inferior competition, including Arizona, Pittsburgh, and Texas. The club has also surrendered huge run totals during their current 2-4 run, highlighted by a pair of weekend matchups in Washington, in which they allowed 30 total runs.

Injuries also remain a major concern in Milwaukee. Reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich continues to be hampered by a back injury that kept him out of the lineup for four games earlier this month, and has raised doubts about his long-term durability this season.

In addition, starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin, who led the team with a 15-8 record last year, remains sidelined indefinitely with a back injury, further hobbling a pitching staff that ranks 13th in the NL with a 4.74 team ERA.

Pick: Cardinals to win the NL Central (+140)

The post Who's Going to Win the NL Central? Cubs, Cardinals, Brewers All Within Two Games, But Odds Favor Chicago appeared first on Sports Betting Dime.

Original source: https://www.sportsbettingdime.com/news/mlb/whos-win-2019-nl-central-odds-favor-cubs-cardinals-brewers/

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