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NL Central Futures Play

The NL Central has been a fascinating division to watch so far this year. This variance may have created a good betting opportunity.

The Milwaukee Brewers are currently on top of the NL Central holding a 1.5 game lead on the second place Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates have way overperformed expectations and should regress back to a more sustainable level soon. The Cubs have played pretty well so far this year as well sitting 4.5 games back. The fourth place team is the St. Louis Cardinals who've have had an abismal start to the 2023 season but they have been showing some signs that can turn it around. And bringing up the rear is the lowly Reds who really can't be considered a contender at all.

The Brewers haven't been dominant so far this year and they seem to be a bit of a vulenerable division leader moving forward. Their starting pitching is solid and definitely the strength of their team, but you have Eric Lauer going to the IL which doesn't help. They actually rank last in BABIP (batting average on balls in play) at .271, which would suggest that they are due for some regression in that regard. Their lineup also really leaves a lot to be desired, they rank 23rd in wRC+ and 17th in batting WAR in the league.

St. Louis is the opposite of the Brewers in that they have a very strong lineup but their pitching staff is not very good. Their BABIP is 3rd in the league at .325 so they may have gotten a bit unlucky. They also have the chance to trade for a starter or to boost the bullpen mid year. Their offense on the other hand can be considered elite, they have the star power and names you know but their underlying stats are top notch as well. For batting stas they rank 3rd in RC+ and 3rd in WAR which backs up the idea of them having an elite lineup.

Their schedule before the all star break is soft as well juxtaposed to the Brewers who face some tougher opponents over the next month. The Cardinals should be able to close the 5 game gap before the all star break and anything above +200 is good value. We have them winning the division about 40% of the time so a fair price of +140. Draftkings currently has them at +230 which looks like great value.

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