Sole possession of third place in the NL Central is on the line on the Hump Day free MLB picks schedule when the Chicago Cubs collide with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Wednesday, July 21, 2021 – 8:15 PM ET at Busch Stadium
St. Louis was on the right side of the MLB scores in Monday’s opener, an 8-3 final that saw the Cardinals take advantage of four Chicago errors. It appeared St. Louis was heading for the dubya again in Game 2 with a 6-1 lead in the ninth, but the Cubs rallied for the 7-6 decision to even the series. That victory left Chicago with a commanding 7-3 lead in the season series, with totals running 3-2 O/U in games at Busch Stadium.
A nice matchup of veteran hurlers square off in Game 3, Kyle Hendricks (12-4, 3.65) and Adam Wainwright (7-6, 3.71). St. Louis is running -120 or a little less at top sportsbooks where an 8-run total generally favors the ‘over.’
Hendricks Facing Redbirds for 4th Time in ‘21
Bettors need to pay attention to the Cubs over the next week or so, not because they’re going to become prime candidates to follow on the MLB betting odds, but due to the fact they’re primed to become major sellers at the trade deadline. Chicago GM Jed Hoyer is reportedly working on extensions for Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez, however, both could be dealt away along with Kris Bryant, Craig Kimbrel and Willson Contreras.
And, oh yeah, Hendricks is another potential trade candidate. As bad as Chicago’s season has been, the Cubs would be in even worse shape if not for the effort Hendricks has turned in on the mound. Chicago has come out on top in 12 of Hendricks’ 19 assignments, good enough for more than five units of profit for anyone following the Cubs in those games. The rest of the pitchers have produced a 35-41 record and down five units.
Hendricks has been a big thorn in the Cardinals’ side this season, winning all three of his assignments with a 2.37 ERA across 19 innings. The lone outing in St. Louis saw Hendricks work into the seventh while allowing three runs – 1 earned – in a 12-3 thumping of the Cardinals. Nolan Arenado has taken the righthander deep three times while Paul Goldschmidt owns a .316 average (12-38) in their encounters.
Can Cards Rebound After Stunning Loss?
Losses like the one St. Louis suffered on Tuesday tend to stick with a team for a while. The craziest thing about Chicago’s rally was it all started with a batter reaching first after striking out. Not to mention, the Cardinals burned through six relievers in the contest and saw closer Alex Reyes blow his first save of the season.
Coming out of the break a bit flat, Wainwright dropped his start last Friday at home to the Giants. Closing as -115 chalk at Bovada, (visit our Bovada Review) the veteran allowed four runs over his six innings in a 7-2 San Francisco decision. Mike Yastrzemski and Lamonte Webb Jr. each homered off Wainwright after he allowed just two long balls in his previous six assignments combined.
Wainwright tossed a beauty in his lone start against the Cubs earlier this season, allowing just one hit over eight shutout innings at Busch Stadium in May. St. Louis hitters provided no support, however, and Cardinal relievers couldn’t extend the zeroes past the 10th in a 2-1 Chicago decision. He’s 4-4 with a 2.84 ERA across 11 home starts at home in 2021.
Wednesday Winner Climbs Back to .500
We expect to see crew chief Jeff Nelson at the dish calling balls and strikes for this prime-time clash on ESPN. The 25-year veteran has worked the plate 16 times this season, with totals splitting right down the middle, 8-8 O/U. The dividing line in Nelson’s contests seems to be the 8½-run mark, going 7-5 O/U when the total is lower and 1-3 O/U when it’s set higher. His last four times to don the mask at Busch Stadium have run 2-2 O/U.
It's still going to be in the mid-to-upper 80s in St. Louis when Wednesday’s contest gets underway. The weatherman is calling for mostly clear skies for the fans at Busch to sit under, and what little breeze there is will be out of the east (in from right). Chicago and St. Louis were among the favorites on the preseason MLB futures to win the NL Central, yet here they are in a battle for third place and a fight to see who returns to .500 in the standings tonight. Give me the underdog in this clash of disappointing squads.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.