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(The Spread) – With the defending World Series champions marred in a funk, baseball has a riser in the NL Central.

Heading into Tuesday night’s games, the St. Louis Cardinals have dropped seven of their last 10 games and now find themselves three games out of first place in the National League Central. The Cincinnati Reds, meanwhile, have taken full advantage of the Cardinals’ poor play and now own sole possession of first place in the division.

Oddsmakers have taken notice of how each team is headed in different directions and have updated their 2012 World Series odds. Once viewed as a 25/1 long shot to win this year’s Fall Classic, the Reds are now 15/1 while the Cardinals are 15/1 after opening at 14/1. At one point in early May when they were coming off a great April, St. Louis was down to 9/1 but the Redbirds’ odds continue to drop.

View 2012 World Series Odds

Many pundits believed that the NL Central would be a two-horse race coming into the season but when the Cardinals finished April with a 14-8 record, some observers were changing their tune. The Reds started the year off slow but once their bats got hot in May and St. Louis started struggling with so many injuries, the two teams swapped places in the division.

Looking at the rest of the odds, the Texas Rangers are the favorites to win the 2012 World Series at 5/1 while the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays are each 17/2 to win, respectively. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies are 14/1 to win, respectively, and then you have the Reds, Cardinals, Los Angeles Angels, Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals who are all 15/1 to win, respectively.

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