2013 NL Central Division Odds / Season Predictions + Win Total Lines

Handicapping MLB 2013 Division Odds – NL Central

The 2013 MLB season is drawing near. Spring Training action is going on right now, which means Opening Day is right around the corner. We’re taking a division-by-division look at betting odds and team by team season win totals.

Let’s take a look at the NL Central.

MLB 2013 Previews and Predictions- NL Central

NL Central Odds: Cincinnati Reds -135
Season Win Total: 91

The Reds ran away with the NL Central last season. Cincinnati finished nine games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals with 97 wins. The postseason didn’t end the way the team wanted though, as the Reds dropped three straight at home to lose 3-2 in the Best of Five series against the Giants. Cincinnati has a lot of the same players from last year, but they added Shin-Soo Choo as their leadoff hitter. Aroldis Chapman will now be a starter, so we’ll see how that experiment works.

Cincinnati’s infield defense may be the best in baseball, but their outfield defense took a hit when they inserted Choo in for Drew Stubbs. The Reds were willing to take that dropoff in the outfield though, because Choo should set the table for lots of RBI opportunities for Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. This bullpen might not have Chapman, but it should still be one of the best in baseball. The Reds are a very balanced team that should top this division again.

NL Central Odds: St. Louis Cardinals +250
Season Win Total: 86.5

Chris Carpenter has retired and Lance Berkman is gone, but most of last year’s team is back in 2013. Rafael Furcal will miss the entire season with an injury, which leaves the team short-handed at shortstop. Pete Kozma did fine in limited time last year, but it remains to be seen if he is a viable long-term solution. Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday, David Freese, and Allen Craig give this team a tremendous #2 through #5 in the lineup.

Adam Wainwright was up and down all of last year after coming back from a major injury. There’s pressure on him to step it up a notch this season. The bullpen was a weakness last year, but signing left-handed specialist Randy Choate should improve that situation. St. Louis does their best work when no one expects them to win, so watch out for this team this season.

NL Central Odds: Milwaukee Brewers +700
Season Win Total: 81

Put Ryan Braun in the middle of just about any lineup and your team will score a lot of runs. The Brewers put up 776 to lead the NL last season. Corey Hart is a major contributor, but he’ll miss some time at the beginning of the year. Rickie Weeks is a streaky hitter, and the Brewers need him to have a big season. While the Brewers offense is likely to be pretty good once again, the pitching staff is a major problem area. [dfads params=’groups=10&limit=1&return_javascript=0′]

Yovani Gallardo is a solid number one for the Brewers. Mike Fiers is a good youngster, but can he repeat his amazing rookie season performance? After those two, the Brewers have some major question marks in the rotation. They can only hope the bullpen will be better than last year’s awful mess. Opponents will likely put up quite a few runs on Milwaukee again this year.

NL Central Odds: Pittsburgh Pirates +1,150
Season Win Total: 77

The Pittsburgh Pirates led the NL Central after the All-Star break last year, then it all went south in a hurry. Pittsburgh went 19-39 to finish the season in fourth place in the NL Central. Andrew McCutchen had a banner season, but the lack of production around him eventually came back to bite this team. Travis Snider and Starling Marte are the team’s top young hitters. Marte has been great in Spring Training, and they’ll need a lot from him this season.

Joel Hanrahan was automatic as the team’s closer last year, but he’s a member of the Red Sox now. The Pirates starting rotation isn’t terrible, but it isn’t good enough to stay with the best teams in this division. It’s hard to imagine the Pirates finishing any better than third in the NL Central.

NL Central Odds: Chicago Cubs +1,800
Season Win Total: 72.5

The lovable losers just continue to lose on the north side of Chicago. Fans of the Cubbies are growing a little restless, but they’ll continue to support their home team as they always do. Theo Epstein didn’t do that much to change the team’s fortunes in the offseason. A retooled starting rotation isn’t likely to be enough to help this team in 2013. Scott Feldman, Scott Baker, and Carlos Villaneuva were the team’s main pickups. All of those guys are major injury risks, and they haven’t proven consistent during their careers.

The rotation is a question mark, but the lineup is even worse. Starlin Castro is an absolute star, but he doesn’t have much help. Anthony Rizzo shows signs of being productive, but outside of those two it’s hard to find much to be optimistic about for the Cubs. I don’t see the Cubs getting above 70 wins this year.

NL Central Prediction: Cincinnati Reds (-135)

The Cincinnati Reds are a little better on paper at the start of 2013 than they were in 2012. This team has a lot of players who are just going into their prime (Votto, Bruce, Latos, etc) and that should be enough to lead them to another division title.

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