Pick Cardinals Moneyline -150 vs. Pirates Series Game 2

Willie Bee

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 2:51 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 2, 2014 2:51 PM UTC

The Cardinals drew all-important first blood in their MLB odds series with the Pirates on Monday, and now St. Louis looks to add to its NL Central lead Tuesday as solid chalk.

Thanks to the recent slump by the Milwaukee Brewers, the NL Central has become a 3-team race with the other two combatants locked in their final meeting on the 2014 regular season schedule.

The middle match of the 3-game set continues tonight in St. Louis where the Cardinals are hosting the Pittsburgh Pirates.  An 8:15 PM (ET) start at Busch Stadium finds St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright on the hill as the decided favorite with a mid -150s moneyline.  Pittsburgh's Jeff Locke opposes Wainwright, SBR's live MLB odds showing a 7 run total that favors the high side at many baseball betting outlets.

Hurdle Goes 3 Batters Too Long With Cole In Monday Matinée
Granted, Gerrit Cole was pretty much cruising when he struck out Daniel Descalso to lead off the bottom of the seventh Monday's series opener.  But two batters later, Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle decided to leave Cole in to give up a homer to Kolten Wong off the St. Louis bench.  Hurdle finally decided to pull Cole after John Jay's ensuing triple, definitely making his decision one batter, if not two or three, too late.

Matt Holliday plated the winner off Bucs reliever John Axford, and that was all she wrote in the Cards' 5-4 win.  That leaves the series dead level the last two seasons at 18-18, and definitely favoring the Redbirds who are 12-5 in the last 17 played in St. Louis (6-2 this year).  St. Louis's 3-run eighth in Monday's game sent the game past a 7.5 run total, those stats running 3-5 (O/U) this campaign.

Pittsburgh's loss dropped the Pirates to 27-38 on the road, 2-8 the last 10 and that doesn't bode well for bettors holding futures on the Steel City 9.  The Pirates need to get used to life away from Iron City with a 26-game September slate that includes only nine home dates.  St. Louis owns the 3rd-most home wins among the 15 NL clubs.  The Cardinals are 11-3 their last 14 at Busch, three straight dubyas since dropping a pair to the spoiler-minded Cubs before the Pirates arrived in town.

Locke, Wainwright Hook Up In Quick Rematch
Wainwright did okay (6 IP, 3 ER), but Locke was even better last Wednesday when the hurlers squared off at PNC Park.  The Pittsburgh lefty worked into the eighth before turning the 3-1 win over to his bullpen, a solo blast by Matt Holliday the only blemish on Locke's linescore.  It was his first and only appearance against the Cardinals this season, and his two prior assignments in St. Louis have split the results, one of them a setback against Wainwright in July 2013.

This will be Wainwright's third attempt at picking up his 16th victory of 2014, the loss at Pittsburgh and another in Philadelphia thwarting that effort in his two previous starts.  He has pitched to a 1.61 ERA vs. the Bucs this year, only for the Redbirds to split the four outings.

Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
If the pitching matchup already has you thinking the low side of the total, then let me tempt you even more with expected plate umpire James Hoye.  Now in his eighth straight full season at the big league level, Hoye has provided 'under' bettors with nearly a 2-for-1 return on their investments (9-17 O/U), while home teams chalked above -120 are 11-4.

There is some rain in the Arch City forecast, but it should come during the early afternoon hours and clear out by game time.  Muggy temps in the low-80s will be left behind with only the slightest hint of a NW breeze (left to right).

Scoring is up on this Cardinals homestand, four of the first five games sliding past the total.  But with Wainwright able to shut any lineup down, I'm going to bite the bullet on the St. Louis moneyline for my free MLB pick.

MLB pick: Cardinals -150 at Pinnacle
Season: 109-114 (-5.85)

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