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Cardinals Favored to Win NL Central for First Time Since May 6; Cubs Odds Fall to +120

St. Louis Cardinals high five.
For the first time since early May, the St. Louis Cardinals are the favorites to win the NL Central Division. Photo By Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC License]
  • The St. Louis Cardinals are the -110 favorites to win the NL Central Division
  • It’s the first time since May 6 that St. Louis has occupied the favorite’s position
  • The Cardinals lead the NL Central by three games

The St. Louis Cardinals completed a sweep of the Colorado Rockies on the weekend, and finished off a seven-game homestand with a 6-1 slate.

Suddenly the National League Central Division is awash in Cardinal red.

While the rest of the divison bleeds red ink, the Redbirds have raced out to a three-game lead atop the group.

The sportsbooks have noticed this developing trend. The Cardinals are now the -110 favorites in the NL Central odds.

2019 National League Central Division Odds

Team Odds
St. Louis Cardinals +100
Chicago Cubs +135
Milwaukee Brewers +500
Cininnati Reds +6000
Pittsburgh Pirates +75000

*Odds taken on 08/26/19.

It’s the first time that St. Louis has held forth as the chalk to win the division title since May 6.

Cardinals Take Control

St. Louis has gone 14-3 over its last 17 games while opening that three-game lead atop the division. The Cardinals were in third place and 3.5 games out when they launched their current run. St. Louis has held sole possession of first place for 12 of the past 14 games and have never been further back than a half-game out.

There’s plenty of reasons why the Cardinals are hot. Since the All-Star break, Jack Flaherty might be the best pitcher in all of baseball. Just 23, he’s 4-0 in eight starts with an 0.73 ERA, and 64 strikeouts to just four walks. He owns an 0.81 WHIP and opponents are batting just .152 against him.

Dakota Hudson is 13-6 and riding a career-high scoreless streak of18 2/3 innings.

The bullpen is also on fire. It ranks second in baseball in ERA (3.35), saves (16) and winning percentage (.769) since the All-Star break.

Offensively, the Cardinals are getting it done as well. They’ve scored 43 runs in their past five games and sit a season-high 14 games above .500. They averaged 6.6 runs per game over their recent homestand.

Marcell Ozuna and Paul Goldschmidt each contributed six multi-hit games during that homestand. Goldschmidt, acquired in the winter to boost the offense, has popped 29 homers.

The Rest Of The Central Is Sinking

It’s not just the tire fire that is the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are 16-32 since July 1 and 20 games below .500. Every team in the Central not named the Cardinals is going under.

The Cincinnati Reds are 4-10 in their last 14. They’re so bad they just got swept by the Pirates. The Milwaukee Brewers, a game away from going to the World Series last spring, are 5-8 in their past 13 and 10-12 in August.

The Chicago Cubs, not so long ago the favorites to take the division, are instead taking on water. They’re 6-9 in their last 15 games and were just swept by the Washington Nationals.

Erratic is Chicago’s nature. In August alone, the Cubs have enjoyed winning streaks of four and five games and endured losing stretches of three and four games.

Cardinals Fundamentally Sound

St. Louis is the sort of team the old-school baseball types like to say do it the right way. The Cardinals are all about the fundamentals.

Their 80.2 percent stolen-base percentage is the best in baseball. The Cardinals have committed an MLB-fewest 55 errors and own baseball’s best fielding percentage at .988.

Pitching and defense is what wins in the playoffs, and teams with a lights out bullpen can go a long way in the postseason.

Of their remaining 32 games, St. Louis plays 19 within the Central, including seven against the Cubs. The Cards also have 17 games left against teams with losing records.

It all sets up well for the Cardinals to win the Central.

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