Upcoming Match-ups

Cardinals’ NL Central Odds Are Fading Fast as Losses Pile Up

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in MLB Baseball

Updated Jan 6, 2023 · 8:42 AM PST

Adam Wainwright
After a scorching start to the season, the Cardinals have cooled off in a big way. Photo by Dirk Hansen (flickr) [CC License].
  • The St. Louis Cardinals’ average odds to win the NL Central have been lengthened from +140 to +380
  • The Cardinals have lost 14 of their past 19 games and are 5 games back of the division leading Cubs
  • Can St. Louis bounce back?

The St. Louis Cardinals were the favorites to win the NL Central two and a half weeks ago, but after 14 losses in their past 19 games, they look like a team more likely to finish at the bottom of the division than the top.

The Cardinals’ average NL Central odds have been lengthened to +380, and some online sportsbooks are even more bearish on St. Louis’ chances of winning the division crown.

2019 National League Central Odds

Team Odds
Chicago Cubs +135
Milwaukee Brewers +210
St. Louis Cardinals +460
Pittsburgh Pirates +500
Cincinnati Reds +2800

*Odds taken 05/22/19

St. Louis’ Offense is Ice Cold

In the first 30 games of the season the Cardinals were tearing the cover off the baseball, averaging over five runs per game. The strong offensive output made them NL Central favorites, but since then the bats have cooled off.

They’ve scored three or fewer runs in 10 of their past 19 games, and the five-year, $130 million extension they gave Paul Goldschmidt looks like a disaster through 49 games.

Goldschmidt is striking out at the highest rate of his career since his rookie season, and he’s on pace for his lowest power totals since his injury shortened 2014 campaign. He’s hit just one home run in his last 27 games and his WAR is over four points lower than his career average.

Pitching is a Big Problem

While the offense has regressed, St. Louis’ pitching has been a problem since Opening Day. They’ve surrendered the second most runs in the division and their starters are allowing 1.6 home runs per nine innings. No one in the rotation has an ERA below 4.19 and they have a combined strikeout rate below 20%.

Michael Wacha is allowing nearly six walks per nine innings, and Adam Wainwright is giving up home runs at the highest rate of his career. After an outlier season in 2018, Miles Mikolas has come crashing back to earth and Jake Flaherty is the only starter with a WAR above 0.2.

Fade the Cardinals, Trust the Cubs

Even if the Cardinals start hitting like they did in the first 30 games of the season, their poor pitching will ultimately be too much to overcome. Their rotation is extremely flawed, and they can’t expect to catch the Cubs on the strength of their offense alone. Chicago has the highest run differential in the National League and the deepest set of bats and quality starters in the Central.

Pick: Chicago Cubs (+135)

Author Image