The reigning champions picked up the pieces after the All-Star Game and are back in the race for the elusive playoff spot. This is not the kind of team to hunt the wildcard and even though there are two of them offered to teams from each league, the Cardinals aim higher than that. Winning the division is all that matters and with a huge gap separating the first three teams from the next three, there are just two opponents to focus on.
Bet: Run Line St. Louis -1,5
Odds: bwin 2.40
Until they will lock horns with the Pirates and Reds, St Louis needs to break the spell that is binding them in the games against LA Dodgers. The team from California has won the last seven games and is also riding a winning streak of its own, so it travels to St Louis very confident in its chances. Chasing San Francisco is tiresome but the Dodgers hope that following another series win against the Cardinals, they will tie the leader.
Something’s got to give
The Cardinals have won three games in a row by sweeping divisional rivals this weekend, and the last two games were particularly impressive. The Cubs fell 12-0 and 7-0 after a superb display of skill and precision from the starting pitchers and an equally impressive effort from the sluggers. Jon Jay, Carlos Beltran and Matt Holiday have all homered against Chicago and all of them have an excellent track record against the Dodgers’ starting pitcher.
Chad Billingsley has been hit hard lately both on and off the pitch, and is still looking for his first victory in more than a month. He spent the last two weeks on the disabled list and is in real danger of losing a career high six consecutive games if the Cardinals’ offensive clicks. The last time he was sent to hold the opponents at bay, Chad gave up four runs in six innings and his teammates didn’t provide adequate support. He will be opposed tonight by Joe Kelly, a young and promising pitcher who earned an average of two runs per game during his brief career with St. Louis.
The Dodgers ride the longer winning streak and have the morale edge over their adversaries tonight, but they lack an in-form pitcher and the home field advantage. St Louis is outscoring opponents and can take advantage of the injury ridden Billingsley to take the early lead in what looks like the most exciting game of the day. It might seem a bit risky to push the envelope and bet on a run line -1,5 @ 2.40 with bwin, but the Cardinals have what it takes to cover the spread.