MLB Betting Trends To Follow In Cardinals vs. Pirates Opener

Ross Benjamin

Sunday, April 3, 2016 1:39 PM UTC

Sunday, Apr. 3, 2016 1:39 PM UTC

Ross Benjamin is coming off a terrific 2015 season. He’s back in 2016 to provide an insightful MLB betting preview for Sunday afternoon game between Cardinals & Pirates.

St. Louis and Pittsburgh in MLB Season Opener
Two National League Central rivals will open their season on Sunday when the Cardinals and Pirates collide. The first pitch from PNC Park in Pittsburgh is slated for 1:05 PM ET. St. Louis has gone 21-17 versus Pittsburgh during the past two seasons, and that includes 6-4 at PNC Park in 2015. The last twelve games between these teams went 8-3-1 over the total. According to current (4/2/5:15 PM ET) MLB odds boards at 5Dimes, Pittsburgh is a -113 money line favorite, and the posted total is 6.0.


Starting Pitchers
St. Louis will go with 34 year old right-hander Adam Wainwright on the hill for Sunday’s season opener. This will be Wainwright’s fourth consecutive opening day start for St. Louis. The two-time 20 game winner had his 2015 season cut extremely short due to an Achilles injury sustained last April. He went 2-1 in four regular season starts with a 1.61 ERA. He returned from injury in late August to make six relief appearances, and that included three of those coming during the postseason. Wainwright’s numbers were a bit shaky in four starts during spring training games. He posted a lofty 4.80 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in those outings.

The Pirates will go with 32 year old southpaw Francisco Liriano. The veteran lefty went 12-7 during 31 starts a season ago, while compiling a very respectable 3.38 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. Similar to his pitching adversary on opening day, Liriano was far from sharp during four starts in spring training action. During those outings, Liriano had a sizable 6.08 ERA. The good news was that he possessed a stellar 8:1 strikeout to walk ratio in those appearances. The bad news, he allowed 19 hits in only 13 1/3 innings pitched. Liriano will be the first Pirates pitcher to make three consecutive opening day starts since Doug Drabek did so from 1990 to 1992.


Final Take and Pick
I’m a bit skeptical when it pertains to both of these starting pitchers ineffectiveness during their eight combined spring training starts. That’s especially the case in light of this low total. I know both of these bullpen staffs were amongst the best in the National League a season ago. However, even if the relievers pitch true to form, it may be too little too late in terms of keeping this game from going over the total. Relative to the current number, I like this game to be a high scoring affair, and one of my Sunday MLB picks will concur with that prediction.

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Free MLB Pick: 'over' the total of 6.5 (-105).
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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