Washington Nationals vs St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of NLDS

MLB Baseball Betting: Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals

Added August 13, 2015 by Levi Watkins

Hidden among a lackluster ‘getaway day’ schedule is the first game in what could be one of the most important series of the year. The Pittsburgh Pirates are running out of time if they hope to cut into the St. Louis Cardinals’ lead for first place in the NL East. Meanwhile, the scorching hot Chicago Cubs (winners of 9 of their last 10) are applying pressure from below and are now just 1.5 games behind the second place Bucs.

The problem for Pittsburgh hasn’t been their own play–they’ve played very good baseball all season long. In fact, they’d be leading the two other NL Divisions and two of the three AL divisions. Their problem has been the St. Louis Cardinals–the Cards have the best record in baseball and haven’t really experienced a prolonged downturn this season. Translation–they just keep winning and the Pirates can’t make up ground.

Both teams have been very profitable this season–in particular, the Cardinals have been a moneymaking machine at home which isn’t surprising given their record of 42-16 at Busch Stadium. That translates into a +19.4 unit profit. Here’s where the plot thickens somewhat–one of the few situations where the Cards haven’t made money ‘hand over fist’ is against lefthanded pitching and they’ll be facing Pittsburgh’s Francisco Liriano tonight. St. Louis is 16-14 -1.2 units against southpaws this season averaging nearly 1/2 run per game and 20 batting average points less against them than in all games.

Of course Pittsburgh has their own liability and one that they could look back on with regret at the end of the year. They’ve been decidedly mediocre on the road this season. The Pirates are 39-18 at home but just 26-28 on the road. By way of contrast, St. Louis is 31-24 on the road and that nine game differential essentially accounts for the difference in the standings between these two teams.

St. Louis is a small favorite given the stakes of this game but they’ve answered the bell all season long. Cards are 6-0 at home against Pittsburgh this season and 21-6 +13.4 units against the Bucs at home since 2013. We like this Pirates’ team but have to put our money on the Cardinals’ well oiled machine.

BET ST. LOUIS CARDINALS -120 OVER PITTSBURGH PIRATES

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