The Chicago Cubs won again on Friday. They defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in a competitive game. The final score was 3-2 as the Cubs improved to 52-51 on the season. Chicago, with a 9-1 record in their last 10 games, could be noted as the hottest team in Major League Baseball.

Looking at the longer-term form, it’s clear that Chicago has been a good team over the last two months. The chart below shows what they have done over precisely that time frame.

Chicago Cubs: Recent Form Alert

  • Formerly: 22 – 30 on May 29th, 2023
  • Currently: 52 – 51 (overall)
  • Recent form: 30 – 21 since May 29th, 2023
  • Recent winning rate: .588

The Cubs have made the NL Central a three-way race. The Milwaukee Brewers, the division leaders as of Saturday morning, lost on Friday. Cincinnati, who is just 0.5 games back of Milwaukee, won. Chicago is now 4.5 games of the division lead. MLB teams simply don’t keep winning 90% of their games over the long term. However, if Chicago plays reasonably well for the next week or so, then the NL Central could really heat up.

This is a race that could come down to the Reds and the Cubs. Cincinnati has gone 7-3 in their last ten games but the Reds have played well for a long time name….provided they aren’t up against Milwaukee. The Cubs and Reds will meet in a series after the weekend, one that is looking like an important four-game showdown. The two teams will also meet in early September.

Our Assessment of the NL Central

At present, the Reds should be regarded as the favorites in the NL Central at about +140 (implies 41.7% chance of winning). Their betting odds are +215 so bettors looking for a little bit of value could back the Reds. Meanwhile, Milwaukee should be more like +175 (implies 36.4% chance of winning) in this market. They are very overrated by betting odds at -190.

Chicago could be viewed as +400 (implies 20% chance of winning) underdogs for true odds, based on the fact that they are still a little ways back of two teams. However, betting odds of +600 have the greenlight (Unibet). The other two teams in the division are a near write-off, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals. They account for about a 2% chance of winning the division at this stage.

Further reading: How Does the Joe Burrow injury affect betting markets?