MLB Picks: Pirates vs. Cardinals NLDS Game 1

Jeff Grant

Thursday, October 3, 2013 11:17 AM GMT

Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013 11:17 AM GMT

The Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals have battled all year and now the two teams face off in the playoffs to open up their National League Division Series Thursday.

Let’s take a closer look at the pro baseball odds for this matchup featuring NL Central rivals at Busch Stadium, with the first pitch scheduled for 5:07 p.m. ET.

Electric atmosphere

Pittsburgh advanced to this stage by picking up a 6-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Wild Card Game Tuesday—a result that was made possible by an electric scene at PNC Park in the Steel City.

The Pirates won’t benefit from home-field advantage in this best-of-five series, but they did win 10 of 19 regular-season meetings against the Cardinals.

Differential

St. Louis is set to make its fourth postseason appearance in the last five years, as it captured the division by three games, while outscoring opponents by a 187-run margin. Only the Boston Red Sox finished with a larger run differential in baseball.

MLB handicappers will find that the Cardinals have tallied 57 playoff wins since 1996—the most of any team in the Senior Circuit.

What is the series price on this match-up?

Burnett

Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (10-11, 3.30 ERA) finished the regular season winning back-to-back outings, including a 4-1 road victory over the Cincinnati Reds last Friday, as he allowed a single run and five hits over eight frames.

The right-hander went 5-7 with a 4.22 ERA in 16 road appearances during the regular season, with opposing hitters batting .257 against him.

In 17 career games versus the Cardinals, Burnett has tallied an 8-6 record and 4.11 ERA, but has gone 1-2 with a 13.50 ERA in four efforts at this ballpark.

Wainwright

Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (19-9, 2.94 ERA) led the club to victory in his last five outings, including a 6-2 home victory over the Chicago Cubs last Saturday, as he surrendered two hits over 5.1 shutout frames.

The right-hander compiled a 9-6 record and 2.53 ERA in 17 home appearances, issuing just 20 walks and striking out 114 batters in 121 combined innings.

In 22 games (18 starts) versus the Pirates, Wainwright has produced a 9-4 record and 4.81 ERA.

What is the series price over in the AL?

[gameodds]3/246700/?r-1=19-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Cardinals for their baseball picks, as they’ve gone 5-0 in Wainwright’s last five starts as a home favorite of -151 to -200.

MLB Pick: St. Louis Cardinals -155

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