STL: Adam Wainwright – R (12-9, 4.00 ERA/1.38 WHIP)
The Nationals came up with a huge 6-2 win over the Cardinals last night. With the Cubs’ loss on Tuesday, the Nationals were able to increase their lead for home-field advantage in the NL Wild Card Game to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Cardinals now own a two-game lead in the NL Central over the Cubs and Brewers, who are tied at 82-69.
Things are certainly heating up in the NL playoff picture, and this game will have a lot to do with how this all shakes out.
Odds Analysis: Nationals at Cardinals
The Nationals’ moneyline increased heavily from -146 to -167 right after the open. That’s not surprising, considering their ace is on the mound for today’s afternoon matchup. Additionally, it’s worth noting that the total didn’t move, with the percentage of public bets is right around 50/50.
Nationals Betting Form
Max Scherzer has a mixed bag of results since returning from the injured list. After missing nearly a month, electric righty hasn’t broken the 100-pitch barrier in five starts over that span. However, Scherzer’s numbers on the road have been much better, posting a 7-1 record and 2.26 ERA in 11 starts – that compared to a 3-5 record and 2.97 ERA in 14 starts at home.
Scherzer faced the Cardinals once this season, allowing eight hits, two walks and three runs over seven innings while striking out eight batters. He did, however, take the loss in that matchup.
Washington’s offense didn’t really get going until seeing the St. Louis bullpen in last night’s game. The Cardinals’ pen coughed up three runs over 1 2/3 innings and allowed seven baserunners in the process.
Cardinals Betting Form
Adam Wainwright has looked outstanding over his last three starts, allowing only one run and a 0.75 WHIP over a span of 20 innings. Much like the splits for Scherzer, today’s splits favor Wainwright as well – he’s 8-3 with a 2.26 ERA in 14 home starts, compared to a 4-6 record and 6.03 ERA on the road. The veteran righty only faced Washington once this season and allowed six hits, two walks and two runs while striking out five batters en route to the win.
The St. Louis offense could have an easier time than usual against Scherzer. Granted, this is still one of the best pitchers in the game, but it’s clear that these back spasms have kept him from being his usually dominant self.
If the Cards can get Scherzer out of the game early, they’ll have more at bats against a Nats’ bullpen that has the worst ERA (7.28) in baseball over the last 14 days.
Betting Pick: Cardinals +154
All in all, the Nationals seem to be a bit overvalued here with their top-notch starting pitcher on the mound. Given what we know about Scherzer’s current form, these aren’t bad odds to take advantage of for the Cards. Not to mention, Wainwright has been pretty damn good of late.
The Yankees kept pace with the Astros and Dodgers last night by winning convincingly over the Angels. They’ll look to do the same once again, and it shouldn’t be too against a team that has already packed it in for the rest of the season. There’s one major mismatch to look at it, with the Yanks holding the advantage.
Odds Analysis: Angels at Yankees
New York saw its moneyline odds increase from -280 to -305 not too long after the open. That’ll happen when a team gets nearly 80 percent of the public bets in its favor. Additionally, the total dropped in this one, going from 10.5 to 10.0. That one seems more peculiar, considering only 57 percent of the bets came in on the under.
Angels Betting Form
Dillon Peters hasn’t been at his best lately, and things won’t be any easier against one of the best offenses in baseball. The lefty has struggled in every regard, but right-handed batters are absolutely pounding him this season. Considering the Bronx Bombers have plenty of them, tonight could be a quick outing for Peters.
The Angels haven’t been great against left-handed pitching, posting a .313 weighted on-base average in that split, which is eighth-worst in MLB. Tonight’s starter for the Yankees doesn’t falter too much at home. Not to mention, New York has one of the best bullpens in baseball.
Yankees Betting Form
CC Sabathia has been much better at home, posting a 4-2 record and 3.18 ERA in 10 start – compared to a 1-6 record and 6.66 ERA in 11 road starts. We just mentioned the inability of the Angels to hit left-handed pitching, and most of those numbers were with Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani in the lineup. Both of them are out for the season.
That big mismatch we discussed earlier is the Yanks’ offense against left-handed pitching. In that split, New York owns the fourth-best weighted on-base average (.350) and does plenty of damage when playing at home. Yankee Stadium suits this lineup well, considering they have plenty of power hitters while the ballpark has some of the smallest dimensions in baseball.
Betting Tip: Yankees (1.5-run line: -166)
Given the mismatch of offenses against left-handed pitching, and the direction these teams are heading, this one seems like a layup. The Yanks are looking to close in on home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, and the Angels don’t pose much of a threat to stand in their way.
The Phillies used a five-run fourth inning last night to keep their playoff hopes alive by beating the Braves. While those hopes are becoming slimmer by the day, Philly can still make another leap with another victory tonight. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s chances of catching Los Angeles, for top record in the NL, became more of a longshot with last night’s loss. All the Braves can seemingly do now is keep playing solid baseball, and at least get home-field advantage for their Divisional-Round matchup.
Odds Analysis: Phillies at Braves
There hasn’t been much movement at all since the open, on the total or moneyline. We should certainly expect that to change as the game comes closer and lineups are released.
Phillies Betting Form
Zach Eflin has not pitched well against the Braves this season, allowing a total of 17 hits, nine walks and 20 runs (12 earned) over 9 1/3 innings of work. We should probably expect him to have a short leash, even if he’s allowing baserunners and not many runs. The Phils are in full-on crisis mode right now, and their bullpen will likely handle this one down the stretch.
Philly’s offense needs another big game, and it’ll look for a repeat against tonight’s starter for Atlanta. The last time they faced him, it was a 9-5 victory for the Phils.
Braves Betting Form
That aforementioned Braves’ starter is Julio Teheran, who allowed five hits (three homers), three walks and five runs against the Phils in his last start. Overall this season, he owns an 0-2 record and 8.00 ERA against them. Luckily for the Braves, Teheran does own a 2.89 ERA at home compared to 4.07 on the road.
Atlanta’s offense has destroyed Eflin this season and tonight seems like it could be more of the same. Look for the Braves to roll out plenty of left-handed bats, considering hitters from that side of the plate have been teeing off on him this season.
Betting Pick: Over 10
Given the history of both starting pitchers against the teams this season, we have no choice but to take the over. The Braves’ bullpen has been much worse over the last 14 days, with a combined ERA of 5.35, so look out for that aspect as well.
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