Pirates vs Cardinals MLB

Odds To Win NL Central: Don’t Count Out The Pirates?

The NL Central may be the most interesting division in baseball. Four different Central teams have made the playoffs in the last three years and three different franchises have won the division since 2020.

For 2023, books expect the St. Louis Cardinals to reign in the Central, with the Milwaukee Brewers close behind. Below, I’ll break down those NL Central odds and what has to go right for all five squads this year:

Who Will Win The NL Central Division?

Odds to win the 2023 National League Central division
St. Louis Cardinals-135
Milwaukee Brewers+175
Chicago Cubs+475
Pittsburgh Pirates+2000
Cincinnati Reds+2000

Odds as of March 30, 2023

How The Cardinals Can Repeat

St. Louis has a pretty easy path to winning the NL Central again. They’ve got MVP candidates at the infield corners (Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado), borderline all-stars at nearly every other offensive position, and a rotation that runs six or more deep with reliable output.

The Cards are one of the deepest teams in baseball, with guys like Dylan Carlson on the bench and starter Dakota Hudson beginning the season in the minors. They may not have the high-upside aces that other World Series contenders have, but it’s the unmatched depth and reliable bats that help St. Louis in the 162-game grind.

It’s Now Or Never For Brewers

The Brewers have been a legit World Series hopeful for the last few seasons, but things might finally sour in Milwaukee. In the next two years, Rowdy Tellez, Willy Adames, Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, Adrian Houser and Eric Lauer are all slated for free agency.

Bringing in Brian Anderson and Jesse Winker in the offseason on one-year deals signals that the Brewers are taking one final crack in 2023. They have the pitching and a lineup solid enough to take advantage of this season, but if they’re not in postseason contention by the trade deadline, we may see a sell-off.

Cubs Banking On Rebounds

The Cubs are trying. They may not have World Series aspirations in 2023, but their offseason moves are that of a team that’s at least attempting to put a good product on the field.

Unlike some other rootling teams, the 2023 Cubs have upside. If Dansby Swanson repeats his 2022, Cody Bellinger finally bounces back, Eric Hosmer still has something left and Edwin Rios pops off, the Cubs could be true postseason hopefuls.

Now, will all those things happen? Probably not. But the Cubs’ risks this offseason could allow them to shock some folks during the season.

Don’t Rule Out The Pirates

The Pirates haven’t been competitive in a while. For the last few seasons, we could quickly look past the Pirates in the NL Central. But, in 2023, they deserve a second look.

Sure, Pittsburgh could easily rattle off another 65-win season. But, there’s the makings of something better. In infielders Oneil Cruz and Ke’Bryan Hayes, the Pirates have two young cornerstones with MVP upside. As well, they’ve got a group of prospects knocking down the door at Triple-A, like catcher Endy Rodriguez and pitchers Quinn Priester, Luis Ortiz and Mike Burrows. I’m not saying the ’23 Pirates are going to be the 2022 Orioles, but they’re built in the same mold.

Pitching Trio Gives Reds Hope

It’s hard to find much to be optimistic about in Cincinnati right now, but the Reds’ young rotation at least gives hope for the future. 

Last year, Hunter Greene, Graham Ashcraft and Nick Lodolo all carved their way to high strikeout totals and respectable ERAs. All three are 25 or younger going into the 2023 season and should be the core of the next competitive Reds rotation. If Cincinnati can build around those three, they’ll be back in the playoffs eventually.

Understanding NL Central Odds

If you’re learning how to bet on baseball and you decide to wager on the National League Central odds, you would see odds listed like this at your sportsbook:

  • Milwaukee Brewers -200
  • St. Louis Cardinals +150
  • Chicago Cubs +25000
  • Pittsburgh Pirates +25000
  • Cincinnati Reds +50000

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 always have the minus odds symbol (-). In this case, though, the Brewers are the heavy favorites while the rest of the teams are considered underdogs.

If you were to bet $100 on the Brewers and they win the NL Central Division, you’d get a payout of $150 – your original $100 is returned, along with your winnings of $50. On the other hand, if you wagered that same $100 on the Cards and they win the division, you’d get a payout of $250 – you get your $100 back, plus your profit of $150.

Other popular futures bets include MVP odds or Cy Young odds and can result in massive wins if you can get your bet in early enough.

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

The Best MLB Betting Sites