Vegas Lines & MLB Picks: Cardinals vs Pirates 08/20/17

MLB Picks and Parlays: Pittsburgh and St Louis Meet-Up on Sunday Night Baseball

by @MattCashCapper

Vegas Odds by BetOnline
Cardinals O/U 9½
Pirates -108

Josh Bell

Not too long ago, the NL Central was a tightly packed four-team race. But with Pittsburgh losing six straight heading into Saturday’s games, that list is now down to three. Chicago, St Louis and Milwaukee are all within 2.5 games of each other heading into Saturday.

The Pittsburgh Pirates slump is especially painful because of the games lost to their nearest competitors. They dropped two games to the Brewers mid-week before losing the first two games of this series. Erratic pitching has been front and center at top of the slump as they’ve allowed 46 runs or 7.67 RPG in that free fall.

St. Louis Cardinals in the meanwhile have had a terrific four weeks where they’ve gone 16-8 to climb right up the standings and into second place in the division. A look at the teams they’ve beaten shows that only a sweep against the Rockies to get this run started included a series win against a team with a better record. They lost two of three to the Brewers and two to the Red Sox as part of the streak, but when playing teams below them in the standings they’ve been excellent and it’s been their offense leading the way.

Pittsburgh has scored an average of 4.29 RPG this month which is seventh in the NL. Their team ERA is 5.13 which is 13th.

St Louis has scored 6.53 RPG in August which is tops in the league. Their team ERA is 4.60 which is eighth. 

The Cards have four regulars hitting above .300 since the All Star break and it doesn’t include Paul DeJong hitting .297 and leading the way with 26 RBIs.

The Pirates have been led by Andrew McCutchen (.273-6-22) and Josh Bell (.318-4-24) on offense since the break.

Ivan Nova (10-10, 3.77 ERA) has struggled since the All-Star break, posting a 5.77 ERA compared to 3.21 previously. Opponents are hitting .331 off of him compared to .254. He was solid last time out, giving up one earned run (two total) in six innings in a 3-1 loss to the Brewers. The Pirates have lost four of his last five starts.

Mike Leake (7-11, 3.88 ERA) has also had a rough go of it since the All-Star break and especially in August. His ERA is 6.29 in seven starts since the break and it was 3.12 before. Opponents are hitting .353 off him after and .251 before. Those numbers jump to 8.80 and .406 in three August starts. He gave up eight runs in 4.1 innings last time out in a 10-4 loss to the Red Sox. The Cards have dropped three of his last five starts.

 

Cash It In: The Pirates are -108 favorites and Cardinals -102 underdogs. Both these teams feature struggling pitchers, but Nova seems closer to lifting himself out of it. At the same time this game seems like a case of may the best bullpen win. The Pirates bullpen has a 3.98 ERA and the Cards are at 3.99. So given how closely they’re bunched there, I’ll take Pittsburgh. Pirates 7-5.

MLB Expert Picks and Parlays: Pirates -108 &  Over 9½

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