When we attempt to beat the baseball betting odds, it is never without thorough examination of the matchups. We play the run-line on Friday, as St. Louis begins a 3-game weekend set vs. Padres.
St. Louis Cardinals (Lackey) (-1 ½ R/+130) vs. San Diego Padres (Cashner) 10:10 ET
The St. Louis Cardinals have the best record in MLB at 77-43. They have won 20 of their last 30 games. But, they have little guarantee of even a divisional title, now that the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have gone 54-24, have closed to within 4 ½ games. Tonight, St. Louis begins a 3-game weekend set against the resurgent San Diego Padres. Though the Pads have little hope of a post-season party invite, they do enter with solid momentum on a 3-game home winning streak against lowly Atlanta.
At last San Diego is living up to their potential. Since early July, San Diego has gone 20-13, including 7-2 of late in which they have averaged 5.4 RPG. Further good news is that in 3 recent starts from this mound, tonight’s starter, Cashner, has gone 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA, but all those positive numbers pale in comparison to the record-breaking season being authored by the St. Louis Cardinals.
St. Louis has a middle of the pack .711 OPS. But never has the old adage that good pitching beats good hitting been more true than in the case of St. Louis. The Cards have the No. 1 pitching OPS at .652 and a top-ranked relief corps at .635 OPS. Tonight’s veteran starter has been their most consistent performer since June. Lackey has recorded 12 quality starts with a 2.12 ERA. He should repeat that performance in pitcher-friendly Petco Park. As 5 recent road outings has resulted in a 2.20 ERA.
We make this a run line selection with the knowledge that 24 of 29 (83%) San Diego home losses have come by 2 or more runs. In addition, 25 of 31 St. Louis’ road wins (81%) have come by 2 or more runs.
Must give credit to the Padres for staying relevant in the 2nd half of what could easily have been a lost season for them. But, the reality is that they remain under .500 for the season, only 29-29 on their home field and send an underperforming Cashner to the mound, who in 4 recent starts has gone 0-2 with a 5.66 ERA. In addition, Cashner is just 4-12 for the year with a 4.33 ERA. Far prefer the consistency and excellence that visiting St. Louis brings with a veteran starter in Lackey, who is pitching among his best baseball in a long and successful career.
MLB Picks: St. Louis Cardinals (Lackey) (-1 ½ R/+135 at Bovada)