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Cubs’ Central Division Odds Are Shortest They Have Been All Season Thanks to Opening Two-Game Lead

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Are the Chicago Cubs the best bet to win the National League Central? Photo By Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC License].
  • The Chicago Cubs hold a two-game lead in the National League Central
  • The Cubs are 19-12 in their last 31 games, but only 33-31 against teams with a winning record
  • The Brewers are 36-29 against teams over .500

The Chicago Cubs’ odds to win the National League Central are the shortest they’ve been all year. The St. Louis Cardinals are just two games back while the Milwaukee Brewers trail by 2.5. Is there value with either of the two trailers or are the Cubs the best bet to win this division?

 2019 National League Central Odds

Team Odds To Win NL Central
Chicago Cubs -175
St. Louis Cardinals +350
Milwaukee Brewers +450
Cincinnati Reds +1400
Pittsburgh Pirates +50000

*Odds as of 12/08/2019.

Cubs Are The Most Consistent Team

While the Cubs can’t seem to pull away in the Central, they have appeared to be the most consistent team this season. More importantly, they’ve picked up their game over the last month as they are 19-12 in their last 31 games.

The Cubs rank fifth in team ERA and are seventh in OPS, so they are a balanced team. A big issue for them has been the late innings and saves as they’ve blown 21 saves – the third-most in the majors. However, remember that they signed Craig Kimbrel and he’s been pretty reliable for them, although he’s hurt right now.

Hard To Trust The Cardinals

It feels like the Cardinals just can’t quite get there this year. They’ve mostly been about a .500 team this season, slightly hovering above that mark. They came out of the gates in the second half of the season with wins in 12 of their first 14 games. Then they took two of three from the Chicago Cubs.

But the Cards quickly gave it back, losing five in a row. It just feels like this team is a few bricks short of a load. They didn’t help the roster at the trade deadline and this is just who they are. Their offense ranks 25th in runs scored and 24th in OPS. It’s just not good enough – even in a weak division.

Of the three contenders in this race, the Cards have the worst record against winning teams as they’re just 30-35 (13th in the Majors) while the Brewers are 36-29 (fourth) while the Cubs are 33-31 (seventh). That’s not a good sign for St. Louis.

Can The Brew Crew Do It?

It’s hard for me to get on board with the Brewers as they’ve mostly mirrored the Cardinals this season: been close to .500 but hovered around a mark slightly above it. They were 47-44 at the All-Star break and then started the second half 9-6, but are 6-7 since.

Pitching is a struggle for this team as they’ve blown six saves since the All-Star Game. On the year, their pitching staff has a WHIP of 1.38, which is 17th.

On offense, the Brewers probably have the best player in this division in Christian Yelich. He’s batting .335 and has 39 home runs but even with those incredible numbers, the Brewers are just 17th in team batting average 24th in home runs since the All-Star break. I don’t think they have the balance to bring this home.

What’s The Best Bet?

The Brewers and Cardinals needed to help themselves at the trade deadline and they didn’t. The Cubs made moves with the signing of Kimbrel before the deadline and the acquisition of Nick Castellanos at it. They also picked up Derek Holland and Tony Kemp.

Keep in mind that the Cubs have dealt with a slew of injuries too but should get healthy. With Pedro Strop back and Kimbrel returning soon, this is the team to beat in this division. They are the best bet.

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