I can see why the Pittsburgh Pirates are favored against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Pirates have been playing very good baseball lately and the Cardinals have been just so-so the last ten games. Still value is value and I will back the Cardinals tonight, arguably the best team in baseball, on the plus money line.
MLB odds makers have come out making the Pirates around a -130 favorite in this game, making the Cardinals around a +120 underdog. The best odds I have seen on the Cardinals are at WagerWeb at +120 and at 5Dimes at +123. No matter what the plus money line is on the Cardinals I think that is great value on what has been the best first half team this season. The Pirates are a good baseball team and with their record they would be in first place in either the East or the West, but the value is with the Cards.
There are not many pitchers that would be favored against the Cardinals no matter the venue. Gerrit Cole takes the mound for the Pirates with a 2.28 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP and is so far in the running for the Cy Young Award, he has been fantastic. Recently though he has been less than stellar allowing 10 runs in his last 18 innings pitched, and interestingly enough his home ERA is a little bit worse than his overall ERA this year at 2.82.
Lance Lynn will get the start for the Cardinals. He has a 2.53 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP, and like Cole is having a strong season. He has been lights out in his last three games, allowing only one run in 19 innings, although like Cole at home, his away numbers are not as sharp as his overall ERA with a 3.35 ERA on the road. Still, he has been dominating teams since the beginning of June, so look for him to pitch well against a subpar Pirates offense.
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Surprisingly, despite having the best record in baseball, the Cardinals are not one of the top offensive teams in the major leagues production wise. They rank 19th in runs scored per game and the Pirates rank 17th, but the Cardinals do rank slightly higher on the road than the Pirates do at home. The Cardinals are ranked 15th in on base plus slugging percentage and the Pirates rank 21st, and the Cardinals are ranked eight in batting average and the Pirates 11th. There is not a huge disparity in the offensive statistics between these two teams, so it is going to come down to timely hitting, good pitching, and good defense.
This should be a great matchup between two very good teams with two very good starters on the mound. Both teams are decent offensively, but this game is going to be won through pitching from the starters to the relievers. Look for a pretty tight ballgame but grab the value on the Cardinals to win this second game of the series.
MLB Pick: Cardinals +123 at 5Dimes