Surprising 2024 Cubs Prediction from ESPN - Sport News

Surprising 2024 Cubs Prediction from ESPN

I can’t really tell what the consensus is among most Chicago Cubs fans, but I do have a feeling that a lot more people feel confident about the team heading into the 2024 season compared to 2023. However, seeing ESPN’s predictions, I am surprised to see that the Cubs are viewed as the clear favorite to win the NL Central.

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I mean, that should be the expectation, right? The division is weak, we’re in year four if the rebuild and the Cubs haven’t made the postseason since 2020, and if we’re talking about actual MLB seasons, they haven’t made it to the playoffs since 2018. They had every opportunity to add talent through free agency or trades. So, there are no more excuses.

Heading into Opening Day, FanGraphs pre-season projections has the five NL Central teams separated by six games, with the St. Louis Cardinals starting as the favorites over the Cubs to win the division according to FanGraphs’ odds.

Now, let’s look at how the two major sportsbooks handicap the NL Central in 2024.

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FanDuel: Odds to Win NL Central
Cardinals: +150
Cubs: +200
Reds: +400
Brewers: +700
Pirates: +1200

DraftKings: Odds to Win NL Central
Cubs: +185
Reds: +350
Brewers: +750
Pirates: +1200

So, early projections have the Cubs and Cardinals neck and neck to win the division, but in ESPN’s season preview, it was the Cubs who came out as the most popular pick to be NL Central champs.

Out of the 26 ESPN experts that submitted their picks for the 2024 season, 16 of them believe the Cubs will win their division. The Reds received the second most votes, while no one picked the Pittsburgh Pirates.

NL Central

Our pick: Chicago Cubs (16 votes)

Who else got votes? Cincinnati Reds (6), St. Louis Cardinals (2), Milwaukee Brewers (2)

The Cubs are the favorite to win the NL Central, despite missing the playoffs last year. What makes this year different? It’s a tough call between Cincinnati and Chicago to win the division, but the Reds have some injuries to start the season and the Cubs have a more experienced roster, so they’re my pick to win it. But it will go down to the wire. On the surface, the Cubs won 83 games last season with a plus-96 run differential, and with nearly the same roster this year and new manager Craig Counsell in the fold, they’re less likely to leave wins on the table. A key pickup this offseason was Japanese pitcher Shota Imanaga, and he, along with the team’s deep farm system, will undoubtedly be needed to contribute on the mound this year. The Cubs are void of multiple true, top-end stars but have a good 40-man roster to endure the grind of a long season. — Rogers

Again, I also have the Cubs winning the division this year, but after looking at the betting odds and those projections from FanGraphs, I am surprised that they are the favorite by a wide margin according to the national media over at ESPN.

Meanwhile, the Cubs received seven more votes to win one of the Wild Card spots, so 23 out of the 26 ESPN experts do think they’ll be back in the playoffs this season.

How confident are you about the Cubs? Let us know in the comments and also don’t miss out on the chance to win some money from your MLB predictions.

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