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Cubs Maintain Hold on NL Central Odds, but Brewers and Cardinals are Close Behind

Anthony Rizzo
Anthony Rizzo is hitting .273 with 19 home runs and 55 RBI for the Chicago Cubs. Photo by Ben Grey (flickr) [CC License].
  • The Chicago Cubs (43-36) lead the NL Central by one game over the Milwaukee Brewers
  • Christian Yelich is a clear MVP candidate, but the Brewers still have a -6 run differential even with his production
  • The Cardinals received devastating news their closer Jordan Hicks tore his UCL and is out for the season

The NL Central is the only division in baseball with a real battle at the top.

The division leads range between 5.5 and 12.5 games except for the NL Central, where only one game separates the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers.  Even the third place St. Louis Cardinals are just 2.5 games back.

2019 NL Central Odds

Team Odds
Chicago Cubs +145
Milwaukee Brewers +200
St. Louis Cardinals +220
Cincinnati Reds +1500
Pittsburgh Pirates +3000

*Odds taken 06/26/19

When you look at the NL Central Odds it’s a three horse race and you can get plus money on the Cubs, Brewers, or Cardinals.  For my money, I’m leaning towards the 2016 World Series champions.

Run Differential Favors Cubs

The records are nearly equal, but a deeper dive into the stats reveals that the Cubs have been the best team in the division. Chicago has a run differential of +63, which isn’t only best in the NL Central, it ranks second in the National League.

The Brewers have actually allowed six more runs than they’ve scored and are currently the only team in a playoff spot with a negative run differential. The Cardinals are +11, which is middle of the pack, but well behind the division leading Cubs.

Can Yelich Keep MVP Pace?

Christian Yelich has proven to be one of the best players in baseball over the last couple of seasons. This year, he’s taken it to a whole new level.  He ranks first in the Majors with 29 home runs, second with 63 RBI and third with a .336 batting average. With Yelich playing this well how are the Brewers still allowing more runs than they’ve scored?

An average pitching staff isn’t helping, but it also boils down to a lineup devoid of other top end talent. Milwaukee just doesn’t have what it takes to keep up over 162 games.

The Cardinals have a little more to like with the combination of Paul Goldschmidt and Marcel Ozuna, but the recent news that lights-out closer Jordan Hicks needs Tommy John surgery has put a damper on their expectations. I believe the Cardinals can re-group, possibly after a trade for a bullpen arm, and get a Wild Card spot but I don’t like their chances of catching the Cubs.

Pick: Chicago Cubs (+145)

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