Free MLB Pick: Huge Runline Value In Astros vs. Cardinals

Joe Gavazzi

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 4:00 PM GMT

It is tempting to “take the money and run” in this value money line play. In this case, however, the run line risk is worth the reward. Read this before you make your MLB Pick!

The Houston Astros and the St. Louis Cardinals conclude their two game early week set after the Astros captured a 5-2 decision last night with Fister besting Garcia. In a game that features the best value price on the board today, I look for the Cards to even the series in a pitching matchup that favors Wainwright over McHugh. In addition, there can be little doubt that the Cards have by far the better batting numbers for the season with a batting OPS advantage of 798 to 718 which is confirmed by a home/away advantage of 783 to 717 OPS. That has translated to St. Louis averaging 5.5 RPG with a .267 BA and 87 home runs.

A rejuvenated Wainwright against a still struggling McHugh clinches the deal, especially with the strong history of Wainwright. Let’s take a quick overview before we delve into that pitching mismatch and the reason for the run line play, at this huge underdog price. The Astros were expected to continue their 4 year improvement which saw them go from 55-107 in 2012 to 86-76 last year. They were projected for 88 wins with the key ingredients returning.

Much of that success had come from an outstanding year at the plate along with the strong performance at home. They were only 33-48 away numbers similar to their 14-21 road mark this year. But the bottom of MLB .718 OPS is a clear reason why they are struggling to reach the .500 mark at 31-35. Though they won’t reach their 88 projected wins, this is a team that I project to be over .500 at the end of the year. 

The St. Louis Cardinals have been one of the most successful MLB franchises this millennium. That peaked with a 100-62 record last year. Thought not expected to match those numbers, a projected 87 wins strongly indicated they would again challenge the Cubs for Divisional superiority. Four straight years, they had reached the 50 win plateau mark on this field. But a 55-26 home record last year has desolved to 15-17 this season. Expect That To Change Beginning Tonight! The Cards remain at 35-29 trailing the Cubs by 9½ games with an underperforming home record, plenty of motivation and the momentum of the weekend sweep at Pittsburgh. I like the Cards to even this series today.

McHugh has been a major disappointment for the Astros with a 5.22 ERA and a .838 OPS. His last time out saw McHugh last just 3 2/3 IP allowing 4 runs in a 5-3 loss to Texas.

Wainwright missed much of last season with an Achilles injury. Though he was slow to reach his form in April, he has shown signs of his excellence in recent starts. No where has he been better than on this field represented by his outstanding .653 home OPS, over 100 points better than his YTD number. A strong history vs. Houston finds Wainwright to be 13-1 with a 1.57 ERA vs. the Astros.

We will take back a generous underdog price knowing that 31/35 (89%) of St. Louis victories have come by 2 or more runs. I invite you to put the MLB odds in your favor with my MLB pick on the St. Louis Cardinals run line.

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Free MLB Pick:  Cardinals -1½ +166
Best Line Offered:  at Heritage