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Odds to Win NL Central: Cardinals In Driver’s Seat As Betting Favorites

Paul Goldschmidt and the St. Louis Cardinals are favorites in 2021 NL Central odds.

The National League Central Division in MLB is usually a dogfight to crown a winner and it’s more of the same in 2021 with the St. Louis Cardinals leading the way in 2021 NL Central odds.

According to the best baseball betting sites, the Cardinals are +110 favorites in odds to win the National League Central Division. The Cards, who last took the divisional crown in 2019, managed to make the 2020 postseason at 30-28 SU and made some key offseason moves to separate themselves from the pack.

Following the Cardinals in 2021 National League Central odds are the Milwaukee Brewers at +300, the Cincinnati Reds at +375, the Chicago Cubs at +550 and the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates at +10000.

Here are some key betting resources to look at when making your MLB bets.

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Who Will Win the NL Central Division?

Odds to win the 2021 National League Central division
St. Louis Cardinals+110
Milwaukee Brewers+300
Cincinnati Reds+375
Chicago Cubs+550
Pittsburgh Pirates+10000

Odds as of March 26 at Bovada

St. Louis Cardinals (+110)

Plucking stud hitters from National League rivals seems to be an annual pastime for the St. Louis Cardinals. After acquiring 1B Paul Goldschmidt in the 2019 offseason from the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Cards then decided to swipe all-star 3B Nolan Arenado from the Colorado Rockies this offseason. Much can be argued about whether Arenado’s offensive prowess will translate in a full season away from Coors Field but defense travels and the Gold Glove winner will at least solidify the hot corner.

The Cardinals are easily the most talented team in the division now, with the rotation led by young gun Jack Flaherty. After Flaherty, it does get a bit dicey with starters like Miles Mikolas and Adam Wainwright being so hit-or-miss. However, they’ll eat up innings and do just enough not to put the team in a deficit. At +110, the Cardinals are the team to beat in 2021 NL Central odds.

St. Louis Cardinals 2021 Futures Odds
NL Central OddsWorld Series OddsWin Total

Odds as of March 26 at Bovada

Milwaukee Brewers (+300)

Offensively, the Milwaukee Brewers may surprise people because they still have former NL MVP Christian Yelich along with CF Lorenzo Cain to pace the batting order. The Brew Crew were able to solidify their outfield defense with the signing of Jackie Bradley Jr. and all three can hit for power while not being a liability on the field.

That being said, the starting rotation is not strong enough to viably contend in the NL Central. With a staff led by Brandon Woodruff (3.05 ERA and 1.02 WHIP), only one starter last year had an ERA below 3.00 and that was Corbin Burnes. The fact remains that this is the weak link for the Brewers as they employ a pitching rotation that has a bend-but-don’t-break mentality.

Milwaukee Brewers 2021 Futures Odds
NL Central OddsWorld Series OddsWin Total

Odds as of March 26 at Bovada

Cincinnati Reds (+375)

The Cincinnati Reds had a decent opportunity in 2020 to make some noise when they traded for SP Trevor Bauer but they were ousted quickly in the playoffs. Now, they may be back to square one, which is chasing the Cardinals. The Reds finished 31-29 in 2020, which was good for third in the NL Central.

The pitching staff still has a decent ace in Luis Castillo, who wasn’t as dominant in 2020 as he was in 2019. Castillo still has nasty stuff and Sonny Gray serves as the No. 2. After this duo, there’s a drop-off with the No. 3 starter set to be Wade Miley. The veteran finished with an ERA of 5.65 in four starts last season and in his last full season as a starter in 2017, his ERA was 5.61 with the Orioles. No thanks on the Reds.

Cincinnati Reds 2021 Futures Odds
NL Central OddsWorld Series OddsWin Total

Odds as of March 26 at Bovada

Chicago Cubs (+550)

Let’s start with the good for the Chicago Cubs: offensively, they still have a ton of talent like 1B Anthony Rizzo, 3B Kris Bryant, SS Javier Baez and catcher Willson Contreras. They also added LF Joc Pederson from the Dodgers, which should add more pop to arguably the best batting order in the NL Central.

Now, let’s talk about the bad: the starting rotation. It’s pretty ugly considering who will be on the mound for the Cubbies with Kyle Hendricks projected to be their Day 1 starter followed by Jake Arrieta, who makes his return to the Cubs. While those two are decent as No. 3 or No. 4 starters, the offseason losses of Yu Darvish and Jon Lester have left a big hole in the rotation that won’t be filled by the likes of Zach Davies or Trevor Williams.

The Cubs won the division in 2020 after not being favored and can give any team a game offensively but in a 162-game season, this pitching staff is too weak for the Cubs to be able to replicate their 2020 regular-season success.

Chicago Cubs 2021 Futures Odds
NL Central OddsWorld Series OddsWin Total

Odds as of March 26 at Bovada

Pittsburgh Pirates (+10000)

Normally, I’d go deep into how the Pittsburgh Pirates are an embarrassment, the worst team in MLB, etc. But I actually feel kind of bad for the Bucs. They had so much promise after a brief rise from 2013 to 2015 but are back to being a garbage team that has only made the playoffs three times since 1992. With the largest odds to win the World Series and +10000 odds just to win the NL Central, don’t waste your money on this rebuilding franchise.

Pittsburgh Pirates 2020 Futures Odds
NL Central OddsWorld Series OddsWin Total

Odds as of March 26 at Bovada

Understanding NL Central Odds

If you’re betting on Major League Baseball and you decide to wager on the National League Central odds, you would see odds listed like this at your sportsbook:

  • St. Louis Cardinals +250
  • Cincinnati Reds +250
  • Chicago Cubs +275
  • Milwaukee Brewers +300
  • Pittsburgh Pirates +6000

Since you’re betting on events that will happen in the near future, this is called a Futures Bet. This type of wager is also similar to a moneyline bet but the clear favorites don’t have the minus odds symbol (-). That means the team with the lowest number (St. Louis and Cincinnati) are considered the favorites while the rest of the teams are considered underdogs.

If you were to bet $100 on the Cardinals at the beginning of the season and they win the NL Central Division, you’d get a payout of $350 – your original $100 is returned, along with your winnings of $250. On the other hand, if you wagered that same $100 on the Brewers and they win the division,  you’d get a payout of $400 – you get your $100 back, plus your profit of $300.

Our Odds Calculator can help you determine how much you’d pocket depending on the odds and the amount bet.