Featured in this article:
  • Milwaukee Brewers are -300 favorites to win NL Central
  • St. Louis Cardinals at +210 to win NL Central
  • Longshots include Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs, or Pittsburgh Pirates

3 Minute Read

Cincinnati Reds' Phillip Diehl during the eighth inning of a baseball game Thursday, May 5, 2022, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

The NL Central Division looks to be a two-team race this season.

The National League Central has been a good definition of parity as a different team has won it each of the past three seasons and if we go back to 2010, each team in the division other than the Pittsburgh Pirates has won it at least twice.

This year, the Milwaukee Brewers are -300 favorites to repeat with the St. Louis Cardinals at +210, and it almost surely will be one of those clubs with the second-place team probably earning a wild-card spot.

However, before we get to the Brewers and Cardinals, let’s address the elephant in the room: The Cincinnati Reds, priced +50000, will NOT be winning the Central. Neither will the Chicago Cubs (+2200) or Pittsburgh Pirates (+10000), but they are a story for another day. The Cubs are decent enough to perhaps play spoilers.

Reds May Go Down In Infamy

The Reds’ teardown began this offseason when penny-pinching ownership decided to trade away most of the club’s best players for cheap prospects. There’s nothing wrong with that strategy overall if you have no chance of competing, but Cincinnati was 83-79 last year and also had a winning record and made the wild-card game in the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign.

Now the team is on pace to be the worst in MLB history. That honor currently belongs to the 1969 New York Mets, who set the league record with 120 losses. As of this writing, the Reds are an almost impossible 3-22, a winning percentage of .120 that equates to a record of about 20-142. Of those 22 losses, 19 are by at least two runs – the Reds have been a runline bettors’ delight against them. Cincinnati’s team ERA of 6.86 is by far the worst in the majors and the starters’ ERA is 8.91. Yes, 8.91. That’s more than most game totals are set by books.

Expect sportsbooks to post two props soon: David Bell as the runaway favorite as the first manager to be fired and whether the Reds do break the Mets’ record of 120 defeats.

That the Reds stink only helps the wild-card chances of whichever of the Brewers or Cardinals don’t win the NL Central because they both get to beat up on Cincinnati 19 times each this year. Milwaukee might have the best rotation in the National League led by reigning NL Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes. St. Louis can’t match the Brewers’ rotation but has a better offense.

While it may seem way too early to look at the end-of-season schedule, consider that the Cardinals face the rebuilding Pirates in the final six games because of rescheduling due to the lockout delaying the season by a week. Milwaukee doesn’t have such an easy opponent to close the year but finishes with a nine-game homestand.

The Cardinals and Brewers have split four meetings thus far and next play a four-game set in St. Louis from May 26-29.

James Guill

James Guill is a former professional poker player who writes fro GambleOnline.co about poker, sports, casinos, gaming legislation and the online gambling industry in general. His past experience includes working with IveyPoker, PokerNews, PokerJunkie, Bwin, and the Ongame Network. From 2006-2009 he participated in multiple tournaments including the 37th and 38th World Series of Poker (WSOP). James lives in Virgina and he has a side business where he picks and sells vintage and antique items.

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