NL Central 2024 Preview & Prediction: Odds & Projected Standings

min read
St. Louis Cardinals' Paul Goldschmidt celebrates in the dugout after scoring on a triple by Nolan Arenado off Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Justin Steele during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 10, 2023, in Chicago.
(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Shane Jackson @Sjacksonmgm Mar 26, 2024, 3:09 PM
  • The St. Louis Cardinals are the betting favorites to win the NL Central.
  • The preseason favorite hasn't won this division since 2019.

The National League Central could be one of the most fun races to monitor throughout the 2024 MLB season.

All five teams have a reasonable chance of winning the division, with MLB odds for the top four squads ranging between +175 and +650. The Pittsburgh Pirates are an MLB betting long shot, but even they have the potential to surprise in 2024.

So, who will win the NL Central this year?

NL Central Division Winner Odds

  • St. Louis Cardinals +175
  • Chicago Cubs +190
  • Cincinnati Reds +350
  • Milwaukee Brewers +750
  • Pittsburgh Pirates +1300

The Cardinals enter as preseason favorites to win the NL Central for the second consecutive year. They were -115 to win the division last April before finishing 71-91 and in fifth place.

Milwaukee won the division from the No. 2 spot in preseason odds, as it was +145 to win last year’s NL Central crown.

The preseason favorite hasn’t won this division for the last four years, with three of the previous four winners coming from the team with the second-best odds in the spring.

Odds of recent NL Central winners:

  • 2023: Brewers (+160)
  • 2022: Cardinals (+230)
  • 2021: Brewers (+300)
  • 2020: Cubs (+275)

NL Central Win Totals & Projected Standings

TeamFanGraphsPECOTABetMGM Win Total

Baseball odds and projections agree that this will be a competitive division. 

FanGraphs separates six games between the winner and fifth-place team, while PECOTA and win totals differ by roughly a dozen victories.

Despite the competitive race, the order is aligned between projections and odds. The Cardinals and Cubs are the early favorites at the top, as both teams forecast to post a winning season.

The projection sites favor Milwaukee over Cincinnati, but the latter has a win total of six games better than the former. 

The Pirates project to place fifth in the NL Central.

NL Central Betting Prediction

Prediction: One NL Central team to make the playoffs (+130)

For as fun as the NL Central race should be, there is a reasonable chance that only one team makes the playoffs.

As of this spring, the Cardinals (50.6%) are the only team in the division to have better than a 50% chance of making the postseason via FanGraphs’ projections. 

The Cubs are 41.5% to make the playoffs, while the Brewers are 29.9%.

It costs +100 odds to bet on two NL Central to make the playoffs, but it is +130 for one team to make it. Even with three wild-card spots, it’s worth taking the latter payout.

NL Central Team Previews & Predictions

Brewers Preview & Prediction

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers have cleared their win total in six of the last seven full seasons, but enter this year with their lowest win total since 2017.

Cardinals Preview & Prediction

St. Louis Cardinals

After going 71-91 last year for their first losing season since 1990, the Cardinals are the preseason betting favorites to win a wide-open division.

Cubs Preview & Prediction

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs hired Craig Counsell from the Brewers, and now he enters 2024 as the betting favorite to win his first National League Manager of the Year award.

Pirates Preview & Prediction

Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh has its highest win total (74.5) since 2018, though the better betting angle is chasing the power upside of shortstop Oneil Cruz.

Reds Preview & Prediction

Cincinnati Reds

After recording 35 stolen bases during an electric rookie campaign, Elly De La Cruz has an over/under of 39.5 steals ahead of this season.

2024 MLB Division Previews & Predictions

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About the Author

Shane Jackson

Read More @Sjacksonmgm

Shane Jackson is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM, covering MLB and NBA. After graduating from the University of Kansas, his previous stops include, Lawrence Journal-World, Manhattan Mercury, Bet Chicago Sports, WynnBET, and Sportsbook Review.

Shane Jackson is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM, covering MLB and NBA. After graduating from the University of Kansas, his previous stops include, Lawrence Journal-World, Manhattan Mercury, Bet Chicago Sports, WynnBET, and Sportsbook Review.