Cardinals vs. Dodgers NL Wild Card Pick

by | Oct 6, 2021 | mlb

St. Louis Cardinals (90-72) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (106-56)
When: 8:08 p.m., Wednesday, October 6
Where: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
Moneyline: STL +200/LAD -220 (Find the best odds >>>)
Runline: Cardinals +1.5/Dodgers -1.5
Total: 7.5

Starting Pitchers: Adam Wainwright (17-7, 3.05 ERA, 1.06 WHIP) vs. Max Scherzer (15-4, 2.46 ERA, 0.86 WHIP)

Pressure Spot

The big question for the Dodgers is how will they respond to a completely new experience for any of them? The Dodgers won 106 games, but they’re now facing the prospect of a one-game duel against an opponent that has been almost unbeatable for the past few weeks.

The Cardinals have been playing out these situations for a while now, as St. Louis had no margin for error whatsoever in overcoming it spot behind Cincinnati and San Diego and turning it into a playoff spot. The Cardinals appeared to be out of the running six weeks ago, but they instead clinched their spot with ease. That makes this game a question of which team is better prepared to play, as the Cardinals will either be well prepared and hungry for a win or overwhelmed by all the work they had to do to dig out of the hole they dug.

Keeping It Low

Betting on the under in an elimination game is often a good strategy, because the teams know that they have no choice but to get their problems solved quickly and won’t hesitate to bring in someone new if their pitcher is struggling. The under has been a great bet in the NL wild card game, as only the 2017 NL wild card game has seen more than nine runs scored. Why do low scores dominate in this game? On the National League side of the ledger, being forced into this game means that every step is magnified, and that glare can cause some players to wither. However, there’s another reason that low scores have ruled this contest: the quick hook and the presence of a free out in the lineup. If all goes according to plan, the winning pitcher will end up 0-for-2 or 0-for-3 at the plate in this game, which means that a nine-inning contest essentially becomes an eight-inning contest that could get reduced to 7.5. Throw in that these are defensive teams with good pitching, and it’s easy to see why the over/under is a fair amount lower than what happened last week.

Unparalleled Success

It’s hard to do better than Max Scherzer has since coming over from the Nationals at the trade deadline. The Dodgers have trusted him to be the No. 2 man behind Waler Buehler (or, if you’d rather not split hairs, they’re essentially 1A and 1B), and the Missouri product has responded in a big way. Since making the move to the West Coast, Scherzer has helped his team to 11 straight wins with him on the mound, and his most recent defeat dates all the way back to the end of May, when he got no run support against the Brewers and lost 3-0.

Scherzer no longer has to worry about run support with this lineup, and it shows in his performances. Scherzer appears relaxed and loose on the mound, which is a frightening prospect for a league that has had enough trouble getting the job done against the veteran.

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Betting Trends

  • The Cardinals are 6-0 in their past six as a road underdog.
  • The Cardinals are 5-0 in their past five against the NL West.
  • The Dodgers are 40-13 in their past 53 home games.
  • The Dodgers are 7-2 in their past nine playoff games as a favorite.
  • The over is 5-1 in the Cardinals’ past six road games.
  • The over is 4-1 in the Cardinals’ past five playoff games.
  • The over is 5-0 in the Dodgers’ past five on grass.
  • The over is 5-0 in the Dodgers’ past five home games.
  • The Dodgers have won five of six in Los Angeles.
  • The under is 7-2 in the past nine meetings in Los Angeles.

Weather Report

It’s going to be overcast but dry in this one, so there shouldn’t be any issue. Temperatures will hit 74 degrees at first pitch and winds will blow toward right-center at seven miles per hour.

Dan’s pick

There’s just no value on the Dodgers here. Los Angeles is juiced way too high to make this worthwhile, and I really don’t want to go against the Cardinals with how well they’re playing at the moment. Of course, I also don’t want to go against Scherzer with how well he is pitching right now. For me, the best play is the under. But if you need to bet on the result, I’d back the Cardinals +1.5, as the Dodgers have struggled in tight games and could be vulnerable to a one-run game here.