Not much has changed in the NL Central, but did we really expect that much for this season? There were four teams that had a legitimate shot at winning the division title here. It looks as though we’re down to three based on the odds, though writing off the Cincinnati Reds looks pretty premature at this point in time. Writing off the Pittsburgh Pirates should have been done long before that.
This was going to be a full-season race no matter what because no team stood out coming into the season. Each person had a different opinion about what to expect. A case could be made for the top four teams in the division and a lot of people made a lot of cases for each of them.
At present, the only team to see a big move downward in the odds is the Milwaukee Brewers, who are living on the strength of the top three in their rotation. The Reds offense has been terrific at home, but awful on the road. The Cubs have some home/road splits of their own. The Cardinals hit better on the road because Busch Stadium is an extreme pitcher’s park.
All of these teams continue to have flaws. All of these teams have problems and concerns. Are there are any bets worth making?
Odds To Win The NL Central
The only team to consider at this point in time with these odds is the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds are not that far off of the pace and none of these teams are good enough to run and hide. This won’t be a case where a seven or eight-game winning streak will still leave a team several games back.
The team that gets hot over the final 45 days of the season probably wins the division and there is no reason why it can’t be the Reds at +1400. Do the Cardinals, Brewers, and Cubs have a better chance at winning the division? Sure. Do the odds suggest a bet on them? No.
The Cardinals haven’t gone up enough in price and will be missing ace Jack Flaherty for a while. The Brewers have a bottom-five offense in a lot of categories. The Cubs actually look like the team with the best case outside of the Reds given the price, but the Reds and Cubs aren’t that far apart in the division and one team is +1400 and the other team is +350.
Keep an eye out here because you could conceivably get decent prices on all of these teams by the team this is down. Right now, this should be the buy point for Cincinnati. If they get worse, you have some firewood with a low-risk, high-reward ticket. If they get better, you won’t see this price again.