The oddsmakers have set a 66.5-game win total for the 2023 Chicago Cubs. The +6500 World Series favorite finished 3rd in the National League Central Division, but several quality offseason additions make exceeding 66.5 wins a reality for the Cubs in 2023.
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Can Chicago Cubs Win Over A Total of 66.5 Games in 2023?
Yes, the Chicago Cubs can and should win more than 66.5 games.
The Cubs winning more than the oddsmakers’ number (66.5) is entirely possible as Chicago has made several off-season moves to improve upon its 74-88 2022 campaign.
Here are 4 reasons why I believe the Cubs will win more than 66.5 games this season:
Starting Pitching Upgrade
The Cubs’ starting pitching ranked 26th in team ERA, and Chicago did something about it by re-signing southpaw Drew Smyly and signing free-agent starter Jameson Tailon.
Smyly made 22 starts for the Cubs in 2022, going 7-8 with a 3.47 ERA and 91 strikeouts over 106.1 innings pitched.
Taillon signed a four-year, 68 million dollar contract with the Chicago this offseason. The former New York Yankees hurler went 14-5 with a 3.91 ERA alongside 151 punchouts over 177.1 frames.
Taillon beefs up a rotation featuring Marcus Stroman, Justin Steele, Kyle Hendricks, and Smyly. Health is the primary concern with the starting five, but this rotation is an upgrade over what the Cubs produced in 2022.
Cubs lose Contreras to the St. Louis Cardinals
Catcher Willson Contreras signed a five-year, 87.5 million contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Cubs will have to replace his 22 home runs and 52 RBI.
Chicago signed veteran catcher Tucker Barnhart to replace Contreras-Barnhart is a terrific defensive catcher, but his offense could be better. For Chicago to succeed Barnhart will need to catch up to what they lose with Contreras behind the dish and that likely won’t happen.
Cubs Sign Bellinger, Swanson, and Hosmer
The Chicago Cubs scored a 22nd-best 657 runs and signed free-agent bats Cody Bellinger, Dansby Swanson, and Eric Hosmer.
After winning the 2019 NL MVP Award, Bellinger dramatically fell off form, and Chicago signed the former Los Angeles Dodgers centerfielder to a one-year, $9 million contract. The former NL Rookie of the Year batted .210 with 19 bombs and 68 RBI over 504 at-bats with the 2022 Dodgers.
Chicago inked former Atlanta Braves shortstop Swanson to a seven-year, $177 million contract this offseason. Swanson crushed 25 bombs with 96 RBI last season with the Braves and was awarded a National League Gold Glove Award for his outstanding defensive play in 2022.
Hosmer slashed .268/.334/.382 (102-for-380) with the Padres and Red Sox last year with eight home runs in 108 games. He may no longer be an everyday player, but Hosmer is a veteran and will be a decent bat off the bench.
The Cubs also re-signed 2B Nico Hoerner, and alongside All-Star OF Ian Happ, form a decent offensive nucleus and should be much-improved in 2023.
The bullpen was the Cubs’ Achilles Heel in 2022, ranking 28th in the MLB. Chicago signed former Milwaukee Brewers reliever Brad Boxberger as their set-up man to closer Manuel Rodriquez.
Boxberger led the American League in saves in 2015 but has six saves since his 2018, 32-save season with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Boxberger has 53 holds with 12 blown saves over the past two seasons and should be a stabilizing force in the Chicago pen.
How Do the Chicago Cubs Look For the 2023 Season?
Chicago Cubs has upgraded in every category, and its beefed-up starting rotation should improve upon its 25th-worst 786.2 innings pitched. They’ll need more quality innings from the starting five because their bullpen is still shaky at best.
Rodriquez and Boxberger should be okay, and hopefully, Mark Leiter Jr. and Rowan Wick will continue to improve. The additions of Bellinger and Swanson should give the offense a nice boost, and this team should win Over 66.5 games this season.
Can Chicago Cubs Win NL Central Division?
No, the Chicago Cubs, at +550, probably won’t win the NL Central Division.
The NL Central is a tough division. The St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers have improved upon solid 2022 teams, and the Pittsburgh Pirates are young and could make some noise. The Cubs bullpen has too many questions, and Bellinger can break his three-year batting slump. The Cubs should be better defensively, and its starting rotation has improved, but it’s hard to wager real money on the Cubs winning the NL Central pennant this season.
Can Chicago Cubs win National League Pennant?
No, at +3500, the Cubs won’t likely win the National League Pennant.
That would be a lofty goal, but the Chicago Cubs won’t likely win the NL Pennant. The Cubs have improved, but the NL West is loaded, and the East could have four contenders of their own. +3500 isn’t a good enough price to wager on what amounts to be a longshot at best.
Can the Cubs win the World Series?
No, at +6500, the Cubs won’t likely win the 2023 World Series.
Anything is possible, but the Cubs aren’t even top-10 to reach the National League Championship Series. Chicago will need everything to go right just to win 81 games, and it’s too much of a longshot at +6500 to wager any real money on the Cubs winning the 2023 World Series.