MLB Futures Betting – NL Central June 22nd, 2008
By: Cappers Picks Staff
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MLB Baseball Futures Betting – Checking in on the NL Central
Our best Sportsbooks has posted baseball betting odds on the eventual winners in every one of Major League Baseball’s six divisional races, and in the NL Central is, for all intents and purposes, a two-team race right now. Can Lou Piniella’s Chicago Cubs hold off the St. Louis Cardinals, just a year removed from the World Series title? We’ll examine that in this update.
Let’s take a look at the divisional sports betting odds as they are currently posted at Our Sportsbooks:
BetUS MLB Futures Odds
To win National League Central
Chicago Cubs -500
St. Louis Cardinals +400
Milwaukee Brewers +700
Houston Astros +3000
Cincinnati Reds +3500
Pittsburgh Pirates +8000
It might look like the CHICAGO CUBS (-500 in BetUS odds) have clear sailing in this division. They have the best home record in the National League, at 29-8, but they have risen to first place on the strength of that alone. The 16-19 road record they’ve compiled must be improved upon, but the Cubs lead the majors in team batting average, at .282, and they are second in runs scored (393) through Wednesday’s games. Carlos Zambrano (8-3, 3.13 ERA) and Ryan Dempster (8-2, 2.76) are as dynamic a 1-2 tandem as can be found in the National League, and Kerry Wood is starting to settle down as the closer; the fireballer has 18 saves, a sterling 0.86 WHIP ratio and 44 strikeouts in 37 innings.
The offense is incredibly balanced, and Chicago has gotten a great season out of rookie catcher Geovany Soto (12 HR, 43 RBI, .286) as well as solid play from Japanese import Kosuke Fukadome (.296). Derrick Lee, Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez are all contributing, as can be expected. It’s that inability to win away from home with any consistency that has some people worried.
Unlike the Cubs, the ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (+400 in BetUS odds) have compiled a winning record on the road (19-15). Tony LaRussa’s team is patient at the plate, drawing more walks than any other major league team, and is getting balance out of its “no name” rotation, with Kyle Lohse, Todd Wellmeyer, Braden Lopper and Adam Wainwright all at least three games over the .500 mark. Albert Pujols, who was hitting .347 as of Wednesday’s games, is making another strong bid for the MVP award. And outfielder Ryan Ludwick (16 HR, 55 RBI, .311) is having his best year thus far. Rick Ankiel is still an asset with his power and arm in the outfield (judged by some to be among the best ever), even though he is hitting .250. Yes, there are some bullpen issues to straighten out, but the Cards are in prime striking distance.
The MILWAUKEE BREWERS (+700 in BetUS odds) still could make a move, and they certainly have a shot at the wild card. They’ve been getting a power surge lately from Ryan Braun (now with 20 homers) and they are just waiting for Prince Fielder (12 HR’s, .280) to heat up a little more. Rickie Weeks, who looked like he was at it again this year (.210, but 43 runs scored on just 48 hits) went on the DL with a sprained knee, but he’s expected back in the near future. Shortstop J.J. Hardy is also returning from a shoulder ailment. Ben Sheets (8-1, 2.74 ERA) is a strong Cy Young candidate, and Salomon Torres and Brian Shouse have done yeoman’s work in the bullpen. They’ve got to hold up for the full season.
As for the rest, they’re a little too far back to make noise, although it should be mentioned that there is some upside to the CINCINNATI REDS (+3500 in BetUS odds), who are getting perhaps the best year of any starting pitcher out of Edinson Volquez, who leads the NL in ERA (1.64 ERA) and strikeouts (105). That’s your Cy Young winner, as of now.
The value here, however, goes with Cards, who are nicely positioned, just off the pace.
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