Top to bottom in the MLB betting lines, the National League Central is one of the weaker divisions in Major League Baseball. This allowed the Chicago Cubs to muddle through the first 30 games of the season at .500 before finding their way, to the point whether they are still wondering whether they should push for a wild card run or start thinking about building a 2016 contender. First baseman Anthony Rizzo predicted that the Cubs would win the Central this year, and while they don’t look ready to catch up with Pittsburgh and St. Louis quite yet, they do have some solid pieces in place. While they shouldn’t mortgage the future to try and contend this year, they should push as hard as they can this year and see what happens.
A Look at the 2015 Cubs’ MLB Betting Odds For A Wild Card Spot
Here are some things that you can expect to see at Wrigley this year. Rizzo hit 32 home runs and batted .286 for the Cubs last year, and you can expect him to beat both of those numbers this year. Even though MLB.com only projects that he will hit 28 home runs right now, I’m predicting that the way the Cubs have built momentum this year, he will add to those numbers and get as high as 35 or 36 going down the stretch.
How hard will a wild card spot be to get? Not that many National League teams are consistently playing over .500. The Mets or Nationals will win the East, the Cardinals will win the Central and the Dodgers will win the West. However, you also have the Giants, Padres, Pirates and Nationals going after those same two wild card spots. With the overall lack of consistency in the National League, it will be tempting to make a move to go after that wild card spot. The Cubs do need a couple more bats and a stronger bullpen, but it is wise to let the players season rather than pull the trigger on a deal that raids the farm system for some player rentals.
Another thing you can count on from the Cubs this year is that Rizzo won’t be the only one pounding home runs. Thanks to Miguel Montero and Kris Bryant, as well as Jorge Soler, this team will hit more than 175 home runs this season. Manager Joe Maddon’s been known to rely mostly on pitching and defense to get his teams into the postseason, but having a wealth of power in the lineup is something that he will certainly be able to put to his advantage as well.
Now what about the pitching? The bullpen was terrible in the first 30 games with an ERA of 4.56 and six blown saves. Phil Coke got off to an extremely shaky start but has been able to improve a bit. As the team has solidified, the bullpen has become more reliable, but that is something to keep an eye on if the Cubs actually do show signs of contending.