Cubs-Cardinals Intense MLB Series Finale To Be A Valuable 'Over' Pick

Willie Bee

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 11:07 AM UTC

Wednesday, Apr. 20, 2016 11:07 AM UTC

The Cubs continue to pile up early wins as they finish off their series vs. Cardinals, who have been set as underdogs for this match by MLB odds-makers.

MLB Record: 10-8 (3.00)

Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Still think it's boring to watch pitchers hit? Don't tell that to Chicago Cubs righthander Jason Hammel after he delivered both on the mound and at the plate in Tuesday's 2-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Hammel scattered five hits and a run while striking out six over six innings in the victory that left the Cubs atop all of baseball with an 11-3 record. His 2-out single in the fourth drove in Chicago's only runs of the game, giving the veteran 3 RBI on the season against just two runs allowed on the mound. The victory helped balloon Chicago's lead in the NL Central to four games over the Pirates, Reds and Cardinals who are deadlocked in second with level .500 records. It also put the Cubs on the verge of their first 3-game sweep in St. Louis since September 2010.

The old rivals will wrap things up with an afternoon affair at Busch Stadium, the game set for a 1:45 PM (ET) first pitch and one of three matinees on the Hump Day baseball betting card. Kyle Hendricks is slated for the Cubs against Carlos Martinez of the Cardinals, St. Louis showing up on a -115 moneyline at BetOnline after opening about a dime higher. MLB odds for the contest also include a 7½ run total that slightly leans to the low side of the number.


Cards Have Been Scoring Machine When Martinez Pitches
Some bad defense cost Hendricks his last time out in a 6-1 loss at home to the Rockies. The young righthander was in the strike zone most of the six innings he worked, only 17 of his 85 tosses called balls, and that might have cost him at times when Rockies hitters were able to dink run scoring singles off Hendricks.

This will be his sixth career start vs. the Cardinals, including Game 2 of last year's NLDS, and he's yet to earn a dubya in the previous five assignments with the Cubs 3-2 in those contests. Counting that playoff match, three of the times Hendricks has faced the Redbirds have come in St. Louis where the former Dartmouth standout owns a 5.16 ERA.

Martinez has been money in his two starts so far, and so has the St. Louis lineup which has plated 26 runs in the victories. The 24-year-old Dominican first beat the Braves with six innings of 2-run baseball, then took down the Reds in a game that the only runs he allowed came plateward on a Joey Votto 3-run dinger. Martinez has faced the Cubs 14 times previously, 10 of those appearances out of the bullpen, and he owns a couple of wins plus a save. Dexter Fowler and Anthony Rizzo have seen him the most, combining for seven hits in 24 at bats, Rizzo the only Chicago player to have ever taken Martinez out of the yard.


Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
Sam Holbrook should have the plate for the matinee matchup, and we've seen him twice before this year, one of those games just last Saturday in Houston where the Tigers topped the Astros. That contest just stayed 'under' an 8 run total on the baseball odds, as his previous two games calling balls and strikes had done. His only appearance under the mask at Busch last season was a runaway St. Louis win and easy 'over' winner.

The weather is a bit iffy with a 40%-50% chance of scattered thunderstorms in Arch City during the afternoon.  The umpires can afford to wait it out for a while with the Cubs only needing to travel to Cincinnati for a game on Thursday.  St. Louis bats are cold, but with Holbrook behind the plate, my free MLB pick is going to be on the 'over' in the series finale.

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Free MLB Pick: Over 7.5 (-105)
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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