Free Picks for Crucial Game 3: Dodgers vs. Cardinals

Ross Benjamin

Monday, October 6, 2014 11:28 AM GMT

Monday, Oct. 6, 2014 11:28 AM GMT

Our resident MLB handicapping guru examines Game 3 of the NLDS between the Dodgers/Cardinals. Take the time to read this informative article which culminates with a MLB free pick on the total.

Back to the Heartland of America
The Cardinals will host the Dodgers on Monday afternoon at Busch Stadium in St. Louis with the first pitch slated for 9:07 PM ET. According to MLB betting odds the Cardinals are a -110 money line favorite and the posted total is 7.5. This will be Game 2 of their NLDS that’s all knotted up at 1-1.


Starting Pitching Matchup
The Dodgers will go with southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu for this pivotal game of this series. Ryu will be making his first start in over three weeks after being sidelined with an inflamed shoulder. Ryu has gone a very good 10-5 against the money on the road this season with a stellar 3.03 ERA, and just 4 of those 15-games went over the total. Ryu has started 3-games in his career versus the Cardinals, and all have come since the start of the 2013 season. He’s been outstanding in those 3-starts, posting an excellent 1.29 ERA, and all 3 of those outings stayed under the total.

The Cardinals will turn to veteran right-hander John Lackey for this huge postseason game. Lackey has gone 11-4 against the money at home this season while posting a rock solid 2.94 ERA. Lackey has seen each of his last 3-starts go under the total, and posted a very good 2.75 ERA in those outings.


Dodgers Look for Road Split
There’s no doubt that the Dodgers will be out to win both games in St. Louis. However, I don’t think any member of the organization would be disappointed with a split, and returning to Dodger Stadium for a deciding Game 5, and with Clayton Kershaw on the mound. The Dodgers went through a roller coaster ride in the opening game of this series. They led in that game 6-1, and had the probable 2014 NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw on the mound. The Cardinals roared back to score 9 unanswered runs to take a 10-6 lead, and were able to hold on for a 10-9 win. It looked like déjà vu in Game 2. They held a 2-0 lead heading into the top of the 8th only to see Matt Carpenter tie it up with a 2-run home. However, Matt Kemp led off the bottom of the 8th with a clutch home run, and closer Kenley Jansen came on in the 9th to slam the door shut on the Cardinals.


No Place like Home for the Cards
Before making your pick on Game 3 of this series, keep in mind that the St. Louis Cardinals have gone an excellent 51-30 (.630) at home this season, and that includes going 12-2 in their last 14 at Busch Stadium. St. Louis has won 2 of their 3 at home versus the Dodgers this season, and 9 of the 14-games at Busch Stadium over the past 3-seasons. Despite their 10-run outburst in the opening game of this series, the Cardinals have hit just .208 as a team over their last 7-games, and have scored 2-runs or less in 4 of their last 6. As a matter of fact, the Cardinals have seen 13 of their last 19-games stay under the total.


Final Analysis
I’m not a huge fan of John Lackey, but he’s proven to be a very good postseason pitcher. As a matter of fact, Lackey beat the Cardinals last year in the deciding Game 6 of the World Series, and he also won Game 7 of the 2002 World Series as a rookie with the Angels. I know it may be a bit concerning for some that the Dodgers starter Ryu has had over a 3-week layoff between starts. The bottom line is that he’s deemed to be 100% healthy, and in has pitched exceptionally well when coming off a prolonged idleness in the recent past. The safest MLB pick I can recommend is based on my expectations for a low scoring affair.

Free Pick: Dodgers/Cardinals to go Under the Total of 7.5 at Pinnacle

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