MLB 2012 Division Betting Previews- The National League Central

MLB 2012 Division Betting Previews- The National League Central

The St. Louis Cardinals battled their way to the wildcard spot in the National League and made the most of the opportunity with a spectacular run all the way to a World Series title. Looking at the odds for the teams in the NL Central, it will take another miracle run for any of the six to have a chance to do the same this season.

The following is a brief preview of all six teams in the NL Central along with their current future odds as provided by BetOnline.

Cincinnati Reds

Projected 2012 Win Total: 87.5

Odds to Win the National League: +800

Odds to Win the 2012 World Series: +2000

 

The Reds followed-up their 2010 NL Central title with a disappointing 79-83 record last season after their pitching staff posted an inflated team ERA of 4.16. The offseason addition of starter Mat Latos is a step in the right direction, but the back-end of the rotation still remains weak.

With players like Joey Votto and Jay Bruce hitting balls all over the park, it is safe to say that Cincinnati will once again be near the top of the NL in runs scored, but it still might not be enough to regain the division title.

 

St. Louis Cardinals

Projected 2012 Win Total: 84.5

Odds to Win the National League: +1300

Odds to Win the 2012 World Series: +3000

Albert Pujols is out, but Adam Wainwright is back in after missing all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery, so the overall impact on the Cardinals’ 90-game win total in 2011 may not being as bad as people think.

St. Louis will still need everything to go right this season to have any shot at defending its division title let alone World Series title, but the overall talent level on this team, especially with its pitching staff, remains high enough to win more than 84 games.

 

Milwaukee Brewers

Projected 2012 Win Total: 84.5

Odds to Win the National League: +1300

Odds to Win the 2012 World Series: +3000

Just like the Cardinals, Milwaukee is going to have to find a way to replace an anchor in its lineup with the departure of Prince Fielder. The Brewers’ pitching staff finished the 2011 regular season with a respectable 3.63 team ERA and should be able to produce similar numbers this season.

The big question mark will be the performance of last season’s NL MVP Ryan Braun. Even if his off-field issues are no longer a distraction, without Fielder hitting behind him, Braun will be hard-pressed to put-up numbers like he did in 2011.

 

Chicago Cubs

Projected 2012 Win Total: 74

Odds to Win the National League: +2500

Odds to Win the 2012 World Series: +6000

Hope springs eternal in Chicago as a revamped front office led by Theo Epstein begins work on building a championship team like he did in Boston. The problem is patience is not at premium with these tortured fans so the expectation level is already set too high.

The Cubs’ pitching staff has a couple of solid pieces in place with starters Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster, but offensively their lineup is depleted of any real power to seriously compete in the division this season.

 

Pittsburgh Pirates

Projected 2012 Win Total: 73.5

Odds to Win the National League: +3000

Odds to Win the 2012 World Series: +8000

The Pirates remained legitimate contenders in the division for the first half of the 2011 season, but reality set in and they spiraled downward to a 72-90 record by the end of the year. There is respectable talent scattered throughout the lineup but overall it does not look much better than the one that only managed to score 610 runs last season.

To address its pitching concerns Pittsburgh added A.J. Burnett to anchor the starting rotation, but a broken bone in his face has him sidelined until June at the earliest. The rest of the staff will once again have to overachieve as they did in the first half of last year, until he is ready to go.

 

Houston Astros

Projected 2012 Win Total: 63.5

Odds to Win the National League: +6000

Odds to Win the 2012 World Series: +30000

Houston won just 56 games last season after winning 76 in 2010, which is obviously the wrong direction if you are an Astros’ fan. The roster remains filled with names that could very easily be still playing in AAA if they were with other organizations.

JA Happ and Brett Myers lead the starting rotation and Carlos Lee and JD Martinez are probably the most reliable bats in the starting lineup. Overall, Houston appears content to write the 2012 season off in anticipation of moving to the AL West in 2013.

 

Dave Schwab

DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.