Since the last time we broke down the NL Central looking ahead at what they might do against the MLB odds with an emphasis on scheduling, not much has changed.
St. Louis has cooled slightly and Milwaukee is not the laughingstock they once were for sports picks, but the actual standings themselves remain unchanged. Will there be events to shake things up or will be the same old refrain like Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show every night saying “We have a hot show tonight!” Let’s find out.
Cardinals – Still Printing Money
It was inevitable to MLB handicappers and those studying the MLB odds that St. Louis could not keep up their torrid start, however, it’s not like they turned into Cleveland either and remain one the top MLB picks choice day after day. The Cardinals' superior pitching gives them a chance every day which has to build the confidence of the entire team knowing if they score four or times a game, they are in great shape to hang another W in the win column.
The weekend series in Kansas City should be very entertaining and challenging. However, next is a nine-game homestand against Arizona, the Dodgers (who they control) and Milwaukee and it seems all but impossible at least six victories will not come out of three squads to beat the sportsbooks.
Cubs – About as Projected
After averaging 94.2 losses the last four years, hanging around .500 is awfully inviting for Cubs fans. It sure looks like the worst is over for Chicago and there is load of talent which appears years from reaching its true potential which has to excite their fans or those wanting to use them for MLB picks.
Nevertheless, the Cubs from the wagering perspective are rather dull after years of being a top-rated play against team. Now they appear to be run of the mill and harder to calculate and make cash at places like GTBets. After spending part of their holiday weekend in the Arizona desert, Chicago is back at Wrigley Field and will have a litmus test to find out what true progress they have made with Washington and Kansas City visiting the North Side. The Cubbies 13-8 home record will be tested.
Reds – All the Signs Point to Cincinnati Slow Down
The Reds are being outscored by 0.5 runs a game, the offense struggles to plate four times a game, the bullpen is the worst in the National League and outside of Johnny Cueto, Hall of Fame Cincy announcer Marty Brennaman has little good to convey about the balance of the starting pitchers.
The truth is Cincinnati is falling into the form most anticipated, being weak in numerous areas and they are only fooling themselves to think they are even wild card contenders. Facing Cleveland, Colorado and Philadelphia over the next two weeks might be the band-aid the Reds need, but it will only mask the bigger issues.
Pirates – Pittsburgh’s Lack of Punch Holding them Back
In the NL, Pittsburgh is in the bottom third of any vital hitting stats which far too often is wasting fine pitching performances. When the Pirates score runs they are 7-4 in contests decided by four or more, but are 11-17 when the outcomes are three runs or fewer. Seemingly, the only way out of this lethargy is Lawrence McCutchen to go (Bryce) – Harper – which would take the burden off everyone else and then the runs would flow like lava.
It would be nice to think the Bucs would perk up at home, but they are hovering at .500 at PNC Park and might not be able to make hay versus the Mets and Miami before leaving for San Diego and San Francisco. Not much good to find here.
Brewers – Milwaukee is better, but still bet against material
The Brewer Crew is not the pathetic sad sack bunch that we saw in April, but don’t be fooled into thinking replacement manager Craig Counsel is any miracle worker. Milwaukee improved because they could not have been worse and a couple players returned from injury. Still, the Brewers staff is allowing five runs a night and unless Harvey’s Wallbanger’s from the 1980’s are reincarnated, no amount of hitting will overcome surrendering this many runs.
It is not impossible to think Milwaukee could squeak out a few dollars profit against Atlanta and Arizona, but knocking off the Giants might be too much to ask.