The Cardinals shoot for a sweep of the Marlins Thursday night in Miami. This handicapper isn't a rocket scientist, but doesn't need to be to play this game, backing the best team in baseball at a short price.
Cardinals-Marlins Thursday Betting Odds
As of early Thursday morning the best price we could find on St. Louis and Lance Lynn was the -115 offered at YouWager, while BetOnline was giving Miami and Dan Haren +106 as home dogs. And most books were listing the total on tonight's game at seven runs.
St. Louis has taken the first two games of this series, by scores of 4-3 Tuesday and 6-1 Wednesday. So the Cardinals have won four of their last five games, 20 of their last 28, and at 47-24 overall own the best record in the Majors.
Miami, meanwhile, has lost three in a row and six of its last seven, and at 30-43 trails the Cubs by 10.5 games in the battle for the second National League wild-card spot.
Haren (6-4, 3.19), by our strict standards, is nine-for-14 on quality starts this season, and five for his last seven. Last time out he held Cincinnati to two runs through 6 1/3 innings, and over his last three starts he's allowed seven runs through 19 1/3 innings. On the season Haren has allowed only 69 hits through 87 innings, but 14 of those hits have left the park. Miami is 8-6 in Haren's starts, with the totals leaning OVER 8-5.
Haren, who began his Big League career with the Cardinals 12 years ago, last started against his former team last August, when as a Dodger he gave up three runs and eight hits in less than five innings of a 3-2 Los Angeles loss.
Lynn (4-4, 3.07) will be coming off the DL to make the start tonight. He was going great, allowing just four ER over his last three starts, covering 18 2/3 innings, before the forearm strain became too much. Our guess is Lynn might be on a short leash tonight.
On the season Lynn is seven-for-12 on quality starts, allowing 72 hits in 73 innings, with 23 walks and 77 strikeouts. St. Louis is 7-5 in Lynn's starts, with the totals skewing UNDER by a 9-3 margin.
Lynn started once last year against Miami, tossing 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball in a 3-2 Cardinals victory.
The St. Louis bullpen ranks second in the Majors this season with a 2.09 ERA, with 29 saves in 34 chances. The Miami pen, on the other hand, ranks 23rd in ERA at 3.82, with 12 saves and 11 blown saves.
Thursday's Batting Splits
St. Louis ranks second in the Majors this season against right-handed pitching with a .335 team on-base percentage, while Miami ranks 23rd against righties with a .302 OBP.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Marlins Park this season are 20-14 on the UNDERS, averaging 7.4 runs per.
St. Louis is missing a couple of bats with both Matt Adams and Matt Holliday on the DL. The Cardinals are not exactly ripping the cover off the ball, they're just coming up with key hits when they need 'em.
Cards-Marlins Thursday Free Picks
The pitching match-up is fairly close, but St. Louis owns edges with the sticks and in the pens. We like the Cardinals to complete the sweep tonight for our MLB picks. Also, Miami home games are trending UNDER this season in that big ballpark.