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2017 National League Central Division Team Predictions, Picks and Previews

2017 National League Central Division Team Predictions, Picks and Previews

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2017 NL Central Team Previews and Predictions

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Chicago Cubs (-700)

Win total O/U: 96.5

Not only are the Cubs once again the team to beat in the NL Central – they’re the biggest division favorites in the majors – they’re also the team to beat in MLB. They’re priced at +375 to become the first team to repeat as World Series champs since the 1999-2000 New York Yankees.

Despite losing World Series heroes Dexter Fowler and David Ross, as well as Aroldis Chapman, this Cubs roster is still absolutely stacked. After missing the entire regular season, slugger Kyle Schwarber is back and ready to contribute to the defending champs. The heart of their lineup, with reigning NL MVP Kris Bryant (a +250 favorite to repeat), Anthony Rizzo, and Schwarber will be an absolute murderer’s row.

The back of the rotation is a bit of a concern, but it still might not be enough to stop this juggernaut from going under 96.5 regular season wins.

Writer’s Prediction: The Cubs break the 100-win barrier by going 101-61.

St. Louis Cardinals (+450)

Win total O/U: 84.5

The Cards’ streak of three-straight NL Central titles and five-straight playoff appearances was snapped last season, and their chances of claiming another division crown in the near future aren’t great with the Cubs around. However, St. Louis is still head and shoulders above the competition in the Central.

Their own young core of Carlos Martinez, Alemdys Diaz, Randal Grichuk, and Stephen Piscotty is still capable of improving, and veterans Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina, and Matt Carpenter are still around to provide leadership. The Cards haven’t dipped below 84.5 regular season wins in a decade, and don’t expect that streak to stop this season.

Writer’s Prediction: The Cardinals once again stay second with an 89-73 record.

Pittsburgh Pirates (+850)

Win total O/U: 82.5

The Pirates will be looking to bounce back after they went from 98 wins in 2015 to just 78 last year. But with hardly any new faces coming in over the offseason, they will have to rely on the same players to play much, much better than they did a year ago. Chief among them will be Andrew McCutchen. The former NL MVP had easily the worst season of his career in 2016, and despite being linked in trade rumors, is still with the team.

Their starting pitching offers some promise with Jameson Taillon, Chad Kul, and Steven Brault, but they’ll also need ace Gerrit Cole to anchor that rotation if they have any hope of getting back to the postseason.

Writer’s Prediction: The Pirates take a slight step up at 81-81.

Milwaukee Brewers (+5,000)

Win total O/U: 70.5

The Brewers appear to be stuck in two minds these days as to what direction they’re taking the team. Milwaukee finally sold high on Jonathan Lucroy last season, but they still haven’t torn it all down quite enough just yet.

Star slugger Ryan Braun returns and might get shopped once again during the season. He and Eric Thames – who was brought in to replace the departed Chris Carter – will launch some bombs to keep the Brew Crew competitive. And Jonathan Villar should continue his upward trajectory. However, they don’t nearly have enough the pitching needed to finish higher than fourth in the division.

Writer’s Prediction: The Brewers avoid finishing bottom by going 72-90.

Cincinnati Reds (+5,000)

Win total O/U: 70.5

There’s nothing much to look forward to with the Reds this season except losing. A lot of losing. Cincinnati let go of a few more parts by trading away veterans Brandon Phillips and Dan Straily, as they continue their rebuilding project. Apart from star first baseman Joey Votto and maybe Adam Duvall, there aren’t any players on the Reds roster to get excited about.

All in all, it’ll be a long season for the Reds, and they will be lucky to exceed their projected 70.5 regular season wins.

Writer’s Prediction: The Reds stay in the cellar of the Central with a 68-94 record.

Create a betting account now to start placing stakes on MLB futures before the much-awaited regular season goes into full swing!

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Brad
Written by Brad

Sports Betting Tips, News, and Analysis