By: Ron Patrick
MLB Betting Blog: Giants vs. Cardinals
Now in this new 2013 season the World Series champion Giants and Cardinals meet opening week, out in ol' San Fran, for a three-game series starting Friday night.
Giants-Cardinals Betting Odds
As of Friday morning most baseball books were chalking San Francisco with Barry Zito at right around -120 for Friday afternoon's series opener over St. Louis with Jake Westbrook.
Also, Bovada.lv was listing the Giants at -150 to win this series, with the Cardinals getting +120 MLB odds as the dogs.
Giants-Cardinals Series Set-Up
The Giants just opened this season by taking two of three games from the Dodgers in LA. San Fran got shut out by Clay Kershaw in the season opener, but then got eight scoreless innings from Madison Bumgarner for a 3-0 victory Tuesday, then took the series with a 5-3 win Wednesday.
The Cardinals just dropped two of three games in Arizona. St. Louis lost Monday 6-2, won Tuesday 6-1, then lost the series rubber match Wednesday 10-9 in 16 innings.
Last year these teams split six games during the regular season, then went seven games in the NLCS. St. Louis grabbed a three-games-to-one lead in that playoff series only to have San Francisco win Games five-six-seven to win the pennant.
Zito played a part in that comeback, winning Game 5 with a clutch performance at Busch Stadium.
St. Louis went 88-74 last year, then over the off-season lost Lance Berkman and Kyle Lohse, among others, and didn't do a whole lot in the acquisitions department. This season the Cardinals have already lost Rafael Furcal for the year to an elbow injury, and they're playing without closer Jason Motte, who's on the DL with his own bad elbow.
San Francisco went 94-68 last year, and returns basically the same team. That is looking good for our MBL Picks!
Friday's Pitching Match-Up
San Francisco lefty (and by that, we mean no insult) Barry Zito (15-8, 4.15 ERA last year) gets the start for Friday's series opener (4:35 pm ET, ) against Jake Westbrook (13-11, 3.97) for St. Louis.
Zito gave up more hits, 186, than innings pitched, 184, last year, and his K/BB ratio of 114/70 was the definition of mediocre. But somehow the Giants went 21-11 in games Zito started during the regular season, and that's not to mention the 3-0 they went for Zito in the playoffs.
In fact, San Francisco has won Zito's last 14 starts.
Zito went against St. Louis twice last season and held the Cards to two ER through 14 1/3 innings. The Giants won both those games.
Westbrook gave up 191 hits in 175 innings last year, and his K/BB ratio wasn't all that great, either, at 106/52. St. Louis went 14-14 in Westbrook's starts last year, before he went down and out with a strained oblique in September.
Westbrook won his only start last year vs. San Fran, allowing two ER through six innings.
In 24 innings of work this Spring Westbrook gave up 12 ERA
In 23 innings this Spring Zito allowed seven ER.
The Futures Market
On the MLB futures betting market San Francisco went off earlier this week as a 9/5 choice to win the NL West this season, with a regular-season wins OVER/UNDER of 88.
St. Louis went off this season getting 5/2 to win the NL Central, with a wins O/U of 86.
And the Giants were getting 12/1, the Cardinals 20/1 to win the World Series.
Cardinals-Giants Betting Trends
Of the 13 meetings between these teams last season, eight played OVER on the totals. But that might be because most of those games, eight in fact, were tagged with O/Us of either 6.5 or seven.
Free MLB Pick for Friday
San Francisco looks like it's picked up right where it left off last season, with its two wins over the Dodgers this week, while St. Louis is already banged up. And while we're not huge fans of Zito, he was effective vs. the Cardinals last year. So we're leaning toward the Giants to take their home opener Friday, at a very reasonable price.
Check back at these pages for updates and more free picks on this weekend's Cardinals-Giants series.
By: Ron Patrick
San Francisco took the opener of this series Friday afternoon 1-0, getting seven shut-out innings from Barry Zito, scoring its only run on a bases-loaded walk. The Giants won as -120 favorites on Friday's MLB odds lines, and the game never even came close to scaring the OVER/UNDER of 7.5.
San Francisco has now won Zito's last 15 starts.
The St. Louis offense managed just three singles and three bases on balls Friday.
The Giants, on the other hand, left 11 guys on base, and have scored a total of nine runs through their first four games.
So San Fran is 3-1 so far this season, while the Cardinals are 1-3.
Including the last three games of last year's NLCS San Francisco has beaten St. Louis four times in a row.
Also, amazingly, Giants starting pitchers have yet to allow an earned run this season. Tim Lincecum gave up a couple runs to the Dodgers Wednesday, but they were unearned, thanks to an error and a passed ball.
The OVER/UNDERS are a combined 2-6 in Cardinals and Giants games so far this season.
Ryan Vogelsong (14-9, 3.37 last year) gets the call for the pitching-rich Giants Saturday against young Shelby Miller (1-0, 1.32) for St. Louis.
Last year Vogelsong gave up fewer hits, 171, than innings pitched, 190, and posted a 158/62 strikeouts-to-walks ratio. San Francisco went 19-12 in Vogelsong's starts last year, then 4-0 in the playoffs.
Big V made one start during the regular season against St. Louis, and got a win, holding the Cards scoreless on three hits through seven innings. Then, during last year's NLCS, Vogelsong beat St. Louis twice, allowing just two runs and eight hits through 14 innings.
This Spring Vogelsong gave up 10 ER in 25 innings of work.
Miller, meanwhile, got called up last September and performed well, allowing just two ER and nine hits through 13 2/3 innings, walking four while whiffing 16. Then in the NLCS Miller made two appearances vs. the Giants, allowing two ER and four hits through 3 1/3 innings.
This Spring Miller, a righty, earned a spot in the St. Louis rotation by allowing 11 ER and 27 hits in 24 1/3 innings, walking eight and striking out 20.
Don't forget to have a gander at Joe C's MLB Picks of the day (he's been on fire)!
Saturday's Betting Lines
Most books we consulted Saturday morning opened Vogelsong and San Fran as -135 (or so) favorites over Miller and the Cardinals, but then dropped that price to -130. The O/U sits at seven.
Also, the Giants could be gotten at as much as +170 on the run line at several baseball betting outlets for you MBL Picks.
Free MLB Pick for Saturday
We backed the Giants for a winner Friday, and with Vogelsong's recent history of dominance over the Cardinals, we can't see any reason to back off San Fran today.
By: Ron Patrick
St. Louis took the second game of this series Saturday 6-3, scoring five runs off San Francisco starter Ryan Vogelsong, who had beaten the Cardinals three times last season.
In doing so the Cardinals won as +115 dogs on the MLB odds line Saturday, and handed us our first loss on our MLB free picks of this young baseball season.
The Giants certainly have the pitching for the long run, but offensively they're another story. So far this season San Fran has scored a total of 12 runs through its first five games.
Saturday the Giants had seven hits and drew five walks, but left eight guys on base, a day after leaving 11 LOBs.
By the books the Giants flew out 10 times Saturday, but for those of us who backed them it seemed like 20.
Sunday's Betting Line
As of Sunday morning most baseball bookmakers were listing San Francisco at around -135 for Sunday's game, with a total of seven
The Giants could also be gotten at upwards of +175 on the run line at several shops.
Matt Cain (16-5, 2.79 last year) hits the hill Sunday for San Francisco against Adam Wainwright (14-13, 3.94 last year) for St. Louis.
Cain started the Giants season opener Monday against the Dodgers, throwing six scoreless innings in a game San Francisco eventually lost 4-0.
Including the NLCS Cain started four times against the Cardinals last year, giving up 12 ER and 27 hits through 23 innings. The Giants split those four games.
Wainwright started the season opener for St. Louis against Arizona last Monday and gave up three ER and 11 hits through six innings of a game the Cardinals eventually lost 6-2.
Last year, including the NLCS, Wainwright started three times against San Francisco, allowing four ER and 15 hits through 19 2/3 innings. St. Louis won two of those games.
Also, check out Willie Bee's Series Blog which covers the Dodgers vs. the Pirates!~
MLB Free Pick for Sunday
We backed San Francisco Saturday, only to watch as St. Louis got several key two-out hits while the Giants kept hitting easy fly balls. So do we stick with San Fran, or switch to the Cardinals for Sunday?
Well, St. Louis had better success against Cain last year than the Giants had against Wainwright. And San Francisco's offense continues to struggle. So for our free MBL Picks for Sunday we'll go with the underdog at a decent price.