MLB Betting: Cash In From The Pirates vs. Cardinals 3 Game Series

Friday, May 6, 2016 12:41 PM GMT

The Pirates and Cardinals take their weekend series to a third and deciding game Sunday when St. Louis is a small favorite on the MLB odds, so read on and make a buck!

8th May
Pirates vs. Cardinals Game 3

By: Willie Bee

While the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals take turns beating up on each other, the Chicago Cubs are slowly pulling away in the NL Central.

St. Louis evened up its weekend set with the Pirates on Saturday, pulling off a 6-4 decision thanks to Matt Carpenter's 2-run walk-off homer in the ninth, stopping a 4-game skid vs. Pittsburgh and climbing a game above .500 in the process. Chicago was busy extending its win streak to six in another big weekend showdown with the Nationals, and the Cubs now sit 7½ in front of the Bucs and 8 games ahead of the Cards.

The Pirates and Cardinals now settle things with a 2:15 PM (ET) contest at Busch Stadium, a couple of young righthanders setting the tone. Gerrit Cole is up for Pittsburgh with Michael Wacha next in line for the Redbirds, and it's St. Louis showing up as light favorites on the MLB odds with a -123 moneyline at BetOnline where the total is 7½.


Cole-Wacha Showdowns Becoming Common
These two hurlers squared off twice last season, halving the results with victories on their home diamonds. Wacha and the Cardinals were -125 favorites on the baseball betting board when they topped Cole and the Pirates 4-2 in an August clash in St. Louis, while Cole and the Bucs covered on a -150 line about six weeks later in Pittsburgh.

Cole didn't face the Cards when the clubs met at PNC Park in April, and he's coming off a rough outing last Monday against the Cubs who reached him for six runs (5 earned) before he got out of the fifth inning. Wacha lost to the Pirates in Pittsburgh in that April series, also failing to get through the fifth having allowed five runs (4 earned) on 10 hits.

Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
Dana DeMuth left Saturday's game after taking a foul ball off the mask, and it's unclear who takes his place in this crew or how that might affect the rotation. It's likely the crew will carry on as usual which means Greg Gibson calls balls and strikes. Gibson's four previous plate assignments this season have split the baseball odds, 2-2 O/U, with home favorites 2-0 so far. The Cards have lost his last four appearances at Busch, the totals also running 2-2 O/U in those affairs.

There are some scattered showers showing up on the St. Louis area radar this morning, but nothing that should affect getting this game in. Look for the first pitch to be delivered with the thermometer around 75º and a light breeze from the easy (in from right). I'm going to get behind the pitchers with my free MLB pick on the 'under.'

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Free MLB Pick: Under 7½ +110
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline
Season: 20-16 (+5.30)

7th May
Pirates vs. Cardinals Game 2

By: Willie Bee

Four times this year they've tried to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, and four times have the St. Louis Cardinals failed. Making Friday's 4-2 loss at home sting a little more for the Cardinals is the fact it dropped them to .500 on the season and a full eight games behind the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central standings.

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, kept pace with Chicago thanks to Jung-Ho Kang's two homers and three ribbies. The Bucs will try and keep their clutches around the Cards' throats this afternoon when the clubs reconvene for a 2:15 PM (ET) battle in Arch City. Jeff Locke and Adam Wainwright are your mound combatants with St. Louis favored on the MLB odds in the -130 to -140 range. Most sports books are running with 8½ for the total, though Pinnacle is offering it up at 8.

Redbirds Hoping Wainwright Comes Around
A good movie title for Locke's season so far would be The Good, The Bad & The Ugly. Three of his appearances have been logged into the quality start column, including six innings of shutout ball at Coors Field about two weeks ago, and two have been disasters, including a shelling suffered at normally pitcher-friendly Petco Park on April 20. Bottom line is a 1-4 record for the Bucs and nearly four units of lost wages for baseball bettors. The southpaw is 1-3 in four career starts at Busch Stadium where he owns a 4.50 ERA.

Wainwright has been more like way-wrong more times than not up to now, the veteran yet to have what you'd call a really good outing which is reflected in his 6.68 ERA after six trips to the hill. The Redbird offense has been showing up for the veteran righthander, however, St. Louis managing to win three of the contests. He lost the season opener at Pittsburgh to Francisco Liriano (6 IP, 3 ER), and Pirate hitters available to Clint Hurdle today have hit a collective .300 vs. Wainwright.

Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
Crew chief Dana DeMuth will set up south of the dish to call balls and strikes this afternoon. The 33-year veteran has four plate assignments on his scorecard for 2016, three of them going 'over' the baseball odds and the fourth pushing the total. Saturday is the first time since 2013 DeMuth has called balls and strikes at Busch, his two appearances here that season each jumping the number.

It should start clouding up in St. Louis this afternoon when the thermometer will climb into the low-80s, but we're more interested in the 12-15 mph west wins (out to right) than the slight chance of rain. I simply see no reason to trust Wainwright at this time, and will take my chances with a free MLB pick on the Pirates.

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Free MLB Pick For Game: Pirates +130
Best Line Offered: at Heritage
Season: 20-15 (+6.30)

6th May
Pirates vs. Cardinals Game 1

By: Willie Bee

It's always nice when you get to this point of a season and can begin to see rematches between division rivals, especially when they're old foes like the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals who have been getting together since 1882.

What makes this get-together even more compelling than usual is in addition to the normal contention between the Pirates and Cardinals, they share a common bond right now, which is loathing for the Chicago Cubs. Chicago is threatening to run away and hide from the rest of the NL Central with a 6½-game lead over Pittsburgh, the Cubs sweeping the Bucs earlier this week, while St. Louis sits 7 games out heading into the weekend.

Pittsburgh and St. Louis take to the Busch Stadium diamond Friday evening (8:15 PM ET) for the first of three, the initial arms race to be contested by Francisco Liriano and Carlos Martinez. The Cards opened as -125 chalk on the MLB odds, early action their direction taking the moneyline up to about -130 by Friday morning. A 7 run total started with a heavy lean to the 'over,' but is now evenly priced at Pinnacle.

This has been just about as even a rivalry since 2012 as you can find, Pittsburgh owning a 38-37 edge in that stretch and ahead 1,241-1,180 (.512) going back 134 years. The Pirates assumed that slimmest of advantages in recent years by sweeping the first meeting of the season in Iron City, two of the three staying 'under' the totals. The Cardinals won six of the nine played in St. Louis a year ago, and 12 of the last 15 on this diamond. Five of the nine played at Busch last year failed to reach the scoreboard barriers on the baseball odds, along with one push, the totals ranging from 6½-7½ on this field in 2015.


Can Liriano Turn Around Road Woes?
Liriano got the brooms working against the Cardinals about five weeks ago with six shutout innings in the season opener. The 32-year-old Dominican even drove in Pittsburgh's first run of the day and is batting .385 for the young season (5-13). Liriano has been very tough on the Cardinals since joining the Pirates, April's win leaving him 5-2 -- and Pittsburgh 8-4 -- in his dozen assignments with Pittsburgh, the southpaw pitching to a 2.58 ERA and holding St. Louis hitters to a sub-.200 average.

It has been night-&-day pitching for him this year as far as home and away starts go, however. Liriano has won both home starts with nearly 13 combined innings of work and only one run allowed; on the road, he has surrendered 11 runs in 15.1 innings, the Pirates somehow winning two of those contests.

Martinez is coming off his first losing decision of the campaign after a perfect 4-0 month of April, giving up four runs in 6+ innings vs. the Nationals last Sunday. His home run count doubled in that game, Washington sending two into the bleachers after Martinez served up just two in the first four assignments. He missed the Pirates back in April, and that might be a good thing since Martinez owns a 4.71 career ERA against them in five starts and nine relief appearances. Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco have been his toughest outs, combining for a .481 average (13-27).

Will Rain Hold Off Through Weekend?
All things look pretty good as far as the weather's concerned for the first two games of the set, Friday's forecast calling for clear skies, temps in the mid-70s and a light westerly breeze (out to right) at first pitch. Sunday's finale could be a different story with the chance of thunderstorm in the mix.

This one could settle into a solid mound duel with the arms set to take the hill, but my free MLB pick is on the 'over' nonetheless.

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Free MLB Pick For Game: Over 7 -105
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle
Season: 20-14 (+7.35)