MLB Baseball Futures Odds – 2016 NL Central Predictions
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NL Central Predictions & Handicapping Insight
Once again, the National League Central should be one of the most talked about divisions in baseball with three teams that could emerge as champions – the Cubs, the Cards and the Pirates all won at least 97 games last year and all figure to have competitive teams worthy of a postseason berth.
So which of these three teams has the edge as we head into the season?
Let’s take a look.
Chicago Cubs NL Central Predictions
Cubs Division Odds: -150
Cubs Win Total Odds: 89
The Cubs had arguably the most impressive offseason of any team in the game.
Their young stud corp. was bolstered by some serious veteran talent in the offseason which makes Chicago an easy and obvious favorite in this tough division.
Returning players Kyle Schwarber, Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler to Addison Russell and Anthony Rizzo will be joined by newcomers Jason Heyward, John Lackey and Ben Zobrist.
Jake Arrieta, John Lackey, and Jon Lester at the top of the rotation are impressive indeed – each had an ERA of under 3.50 last year.
Considering the fact that the Cubs had one of the best offenses in the game last year and perhaps got better during the offseason is a good thing for this club and a bad thing for the rest of the NL.
There is no reason why the Cubs shouldn’t win the Central.
They are deep, they are talented in all aspects of the game and they have what seems on paper to be the perfect mix of youth and experience to make a deep, deep run.
St. Louis Cardinals NL Central Predictions
Cardinals Division Odds: +250
Cardinals Win Total Odds: 87 ½
The Cardinals have been one of the best organizations in baseball for the better part of a decade now – the team has been competitive the last 10 seasons despite some serious injuries to key members of their squad.
For now the Cardinals, outside of their catcher look healthy and that could mean bad things for the rest of the National League.
That said the loss of John Lackey and his 2.77 ERA and Jason Heyward who hit .297 last year to the Cubs will sting, the questionable health of Yadier Molina is a situation to keep an eye on and the trade of John Jay away from the team could be a factor.
The team will be depending on Adam Wainwright who missed most of last season with an Achilles injury and some of their younger talent to fill the holes.
Do I think that St. Louis has the team to contend this year? Not quite – but I, like many have said that all before!
I see a second place finish in the NL Central this year and a probable Wild Card spot as the Cardinals prove once again why they are one of the most astute organizations, top to bottom, in MLB.
Pittsburgh Pirates NL Central Predictions
Pirates Division Odds: +300
Pirates Win Total Odds: 87
The Pirates have been very good the last few years but were conspicuously quiet during the offseason. They still have a very good young corp. but were unable or unwilling to add any players to bolster their lineup – pretty scary especially seeing what the Cubs did in the offseason.
Instead most will be talking about what Pittsburgh lost – second basemen Neil Walker, first baseman, Pedro Alvarez, and pitchers A.J. Burnett, Charlie Morton, and J.A. Happ all left the pirates via free agency, trade or retirement.
The Pirates did sign some players to fill the holes but on paper, they don’t look as impressive as the team that finished third in the division last year.
Unless the Pirates can make some serious inseason moves to bolster both their pitching staff and batting order, a third place finish in the Central is likely.
Like last season, they should make the playoffs again – the Central will send three teams to the playoffs again!
Cincinnati Reds NL Central Predictions
Reds Division Odds: +2500
Reds Win Total Odds: 71
The Cincinnati Reds will hope to just be competitive in 2016 – any dream of emerging out of the NL Central seems unrealistic at this point. They had 73 wins last season and didn’t do a ton to improve this past offseason.
Johnny Cueto’s, Aroldis Chapman’s and Todd Frazier’s departures signal the official start of the rebuilding process for this team.
Milwaukee Brewers NL Central Predictions
Brewers Division Odds: +2500
Brewers Win Total Odds: 71 ½
The Brewers aren’t expected to be all that competitive in 2016.
They lost RP Francisco Rodriguez, 1B Adam Lind, SS Jean Segura, OF Logan Schafer this past offseason and like the Reds are in full rebuild mode. This team went 64-98 in 2015 and has little reason to think that a major turnaround is imminent this year.
What do you think of our 2016 NL Central predictions? More MLB divisions are also previewed. Comments are welcome below.
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