MLB Baseball Futures Odds – 2019 NL Central Predictions
Looking for 2019 NL Central Predictions? The NL Central has been tough and competitive for a long time now, primarily between the Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers. Last season was no different.
NL Central Predictions & Handicapping Insight
Milwaukee started hot, cooled way down and then, unlike the season before, came back and finished strong to capture the division from the Cubs.
St. Louis won 88 games and finished third and even the Pirates were above .500 with 82 wins. Cincinnati lagged way behind with just 67 wins and will probably find itself in a similar position this season.
This season, there isn’t a clear favorite in the division with seemingly both the Cubs and Brewers in line to take a small step back, according to the books, at least.
Chicago Cubs NL Central Predictions
Cubs NL Central Division Odds: +200
Cubs Win Total Odds:: 88.5 (Over +120 / Under -150)
The Cubs’ win total was 95 last season and that’s how many games they won. They bring back just about the same core from that team in 2019.
So why the big dip in expectations? Well, the pitching staff is a year older and doesn’t have much more help than it did last season. The front office added reliever Brad Brach and Yu Darvish returns this season, supposedly healthy. He didn’t get off to a good start to his Chicago career in his nine starts last season. Cole Hamels and Jon Lester also enter this season at an advanced age.
Many Cubs’ fans were irate the team tendered a contract to Addison Russell after his domestic abuse incident. As long as there aren’t any lingering issues in the clubhouse and among the fanbase, he should produce at a high level. That Chicago lineup is still young and dangerous.
The Cubs also added former players Mark Loretta and Craig Breslow to the staff, Loretta on the bench and Breslow in the front office.
St. Louis Cardinals NL Central Predictions
Cardinals NL Central Division Odds: +225
Cardinals Win Total Odds: 88.5
St. Louis comes in just behind the Cubs in the divisional odds but has the same win total. It’s never totally clear who will produce the most for the Cardinals when the season begins but you just know someone will emerge.
This season, though, the Cardinals have an established bopper in the middle of the lineup in former Diamondback Paul Goldschmidt. They traded Luke Weaver and some more young players for the six-time all-star.
With Jack Flaherty, Austin Gomber, and Jon Gant all poised to take steps forward in the starting rotation, the Cardinals are in position to win this division. Miles Mikolas will throw on Opening Day and Carlos Martinez is still a question mark after his injury-riddled 2018. But the fact that the Cardinals don’t even need him, potentially, is a little scary for the rest of this division.
Cincinnati Reds NL Central Predictions
Reds NL Central Division Odds: +700
Reds Win Total Odds: 79
The Reds added some veterans to a pitching staff that has been desperate for any sort of help for the last few seasons. As result, they have bumped their win total up 12 wins from a season ago, from 67 to 79.
But who much will Alex Wood, Tanner Roark, and Sonny Gray help? None were great in 2018 and all are, arguably, past their primes. This feels like a desperate move from the Cincinnati front office. The Yasiel Puig acquisition fits the same description.
Milwaukee Brewers NL Central Predictions
Brewers NL Central Division Odds: +325
Brewers Win Total Odds: 86.5
The defending champs overachieved on their way to the division title last season but the third favorite and a win total not much better than .500 is disrespectful.
Milwaukee signed Yasmani Grandal to a one-year $20 million deal in the offseason and brings back most of the rest of last season’s roster. It will even get Jimmy Nelson back from injury to bolster the staff that much more.
The Crew rode a few pitchers in particular last season and managed to keep them healthy. I’m talking about guys like Jhoulys Chacin and Josh Hader. Will all those arms stay as healthy this season? That’s the question keeping the win total down.
Pittsburgh Pirates NL Central Predictions
Pirates NL Central Division Odds: +700
Pirates Win Total Odds: 77.5
The win total places Pittsburgh last in the division and, on paper, that’s probably where the Pirates finish. There isn’t much in the form of pitching, unless Chris Archer rediscovers his all-star stuff and Trevor Williams does for a whole season what he did down the stretch a season ago.
The outfield of Corey Dickerson, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polanco averaged close to an OPS+ of 120. If that trio can do it again, Pittsburgh can finish around .500 but that feels like the absolute ceiling for the Buccos, who are always wont to be sellers in July.
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