St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Francisco Giants Preview and Pick

St. Louis Cardinals (7-2) – Adam Wainwright -135, 7.5 O/U at San Francisco Giants (3-6) – Kevin Correia +120, 7.5 O/U, AT&T Park, 10:15 PM EST, Thursday
by Badger of

The first-place St. Louis Cardinals hope to continue to ride their opening season momentum when they start a three-game series with the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park Thursday.

Righty Adam Wainwright gets the call for the Cards, who will be trying to get off to an 8-2 start for the first time since the strike year of 1981. Wainwright (1-0, 2.25) was spectacular in his opener Saturday, holding the Nationals to just two runs on eight hits in eight innings in a 5-4 victory.

San Francisco trots former reliever-turned-starter Kevin Correia on the mound to try and get the Giants their third win in a row. The Giants beat San Diego 1-0 yesterday to take two-of-three. However. Correia (0-1, 6.00) struggled in his first outing versus the Brewers (4 runs on 6 hits in 6 IP) and is still pitching his way back into shape after catching a flu bug and dropping 12 pounds at the end of spring training.

Most of the offshore sportsbooks opened this game with St. Louis as -130 favorites on the moneyline, but it shot up quickly to -135. San Francisco is listed at +120, and the over/under total is 8.5.

Right now what was considered the Cardinals biggest weakness, starting pitching, is turning out to be their biggest asset. Wainwrights first outing is one of the big reasons the Cardinals starting staff has combined for a 1.99 ERA during their 7-2 start.

The Cards won two of three in Houston in their last series, scoring just 14 runs in the friendly confines of Houstons Minute Maid Field, so they are really riding the hot hand of the pitching staff. Wainwright is 1-0 with a 4.91 ERA in his two career appearances in AT&T, both times in relief.

Albert Pujols broke out of his slumber in the Cardinals finale at Houston yesterday, going 3-for-4 with his first two homeruns of the season. Pujols has a partner in the “who’s hot” category, as Giants catcher Bengie Molinas hot home stand (5-for-13, 2 HR, 5 RBI) is the reason San Francisco has won two in a row. Pujols likes AT&T Park as well, going 7-for-17 with two HRs and five RBIs the last time he played in Frisco.

Surprisingly, San Francisco won four of their five meetings with St. Louis in 2007, including both games at AT&T Park last April. The Cardinals typically are a strong road team (7-1 in last 8 games), but that record was accomplished mostly with last years veteran team, since they are just 2-1 away from the Arch so far.

With St. Louis pitching lights out right now, and since the Giants are offensively challenged, its no surprise that under bets (St. Louis 4-5, SF 3-6) have been cashing in for sports bettors more often than not with these teams.

Badgers Pick: After watching the Giants a few times already this year, its going to be a long year for San Francisco. Wainwright is in a groove and frankly, the Giants lineup in the spacious AT&T Park doesnt scare my off the chalk. At -130 to -135, Go with St. Louis.