Oh, how I love cashing underdog tickets. Backing a dog and getting paid is the most profitable play in sports betting, and yesterday we got to ring that bell, when we backed the New York Mets against the Washington Nationals. The Mets actually opened as the betting favorites, and rightly so, as I saw them as the clear side to back. But the betting public hammered Washington and moved the number a full thirty points, flipping the line, and opening up a ton of value on New York.
For those of you that read my picks daily, you know that I love fading the public, as they always seem to find a way to get it wrong, and in this game, I happily jumped on the other side of the masses and backed New York.
When you looked at the fact that Nationals starter Patrick Corbin was struggling through his worst season in years and was constantly working in and out of jams, as he has been allowing way too many base runners this year, it was hard to understand why the public loved him so much in this matchup. Throw in that Washington had lost the last seven times Corbin had started, and I felt fading him as a favorite was a high-value proposition.
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 25, 2020
And while most of you out there that aren’t Mets fans might not know who David Peterson is yet, you need to learn his name, as he was a former first-round draft pick and has a very bright future. Peterson cruised in this one as expected and finished his day with seven innings of quality work, allowing just one run on only four hits.
Corbin continued playing with fire, as after allowing fourteen hits in his last start, he again allowed a ton of base runners, giving up ten hits and walking three. Corbin somehow managed to only allow three earned runs despite all of the base runners, but at the end of the day, that was plenty for the Mets to win, and for us to cash our ticket. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will be in search of more value, when we head to Milwaukee, where the Brewers host the Cardinals.
St. Louis Cardinals (28-26) at Milwaukee Brewers (27-29)
The National League playoff picture is a wild one right now with several teams vying for second place in their divisions, as well as the two NL wild-card spots. No series will have a bigger impact on that race than the five-game series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers, as both teams are in the thick of the playoff race. The Cardinals won game one last night and are looking to take the series win today in a scheduled doubleheader.
For Milwaukee, the Brewers are currently on the outside looking in for the postseason, but not by much. Milwaukee is currently just a game and a half back of the San Francisco Giants for the NL wild-card and two games back of the Cardinals for second place in the NL Central Division. If the Brewers can win both sides of this doubleheader today, they will be all tied up with St. Louis for second place in the division.
Starting for the Cardinals is Jack Flaherty (4-2 4.84 ERA), and for the Brewers, it is Brent Suter (2-0 3.58 ERA). The game total over/under is set at five and a half runs. The Cardinals are -120 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 2:15 PM PST from Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals have had to play more games, in fewer days, than any team in Major League Baseball history. St. Louis missed significant time earlier this year when they had a COVID-19 outbreak, and ever since they returned to action, they have been playing basically every day, many times twice in a day, with scheduled doubleheaders. And despite the brutal workload, the Cardinals are finding ways to win games and stay in the playoff hunt.
The Cardinals have won six out of their last eight games, and the win last night over the Brewers was a huge one for their playoff chances. The Cards are using timely hitting and solid pitching to win games, and with their ace on the mound in game one of this double-dip, they must find a way to win this game. Depending on how the last four games of the season play out, the Cardinals can either lock up second place in the NL Central, snag one of the two wild-card spots in the NL, or miss the playoffs altogether.
Jack Flaherty (4-2 4.84 ERA)
Jack Flaherty is one of the best young pitchers in the National League right now. Last year, he won double-digits games and had a sub-three run ERA. This year, he has been mostly very good, with the exception of one really bad start against these Brewers, where he gave up nine runs in just three innings of work. He was able to rebound from that rough outing in his last start, throwing six innings and allowing only one run on two hits.
If you pull out that nasty start against Milwaukee, Flaherty is 4-1 with a 2.78 ERA. Obviously, we can’t just erase that bad start, but the overall body of work has been very good for Flaherty, and his ERA of 4.84 is inflated based on the fact that he just won’t have enough starts this season to even out the bad night against Milwaukee. The Cardinals badly need a strong start from Flaherty in this game, and I think he is up to the task.
The Brewers are desperately trying to play their way into the postseason and have a chance to do just that this weekend, with four more games against the Cardinals. The Brewers had won six out of eight games in the last week, including taking a couple of games against the Cardinals, and were poised to breakthrough in the NL.
But now this week, Milwaukee has lost three out of their last four games, with all of those losses coming to either the Cincinnati Reds or the St. Louis Cardinals, the two teams they are battling with for both the NL wild-card and second place in the NL Central. The Brewers caught a bit of a break, at least on paper, as the Cincinnati Reds are playing against the first-place Minnesota Twins in their final series of the year, meaning that if Milwaukee can pass St. Louis, they should be safely in the postseason.
Brent Suter (2-0 3.58 ERA)
Brent Suter is going to serve as an opener in this game as he is a reliever and is only expected to work a couple of innings at the max today in game one. Suter does have a history of starting games earlier in his career, but he hasn’t been used in that role since 2018, and this year, his longest outing of the season has been just three innings.
Suter had a rough start to his season, as he gave up six earned runs in just 4.1 innings in his first two appearances of the year. But since then, he has been solid, working mostly in multi-inning relief, for Milwaukee. He did get lit up in his last appearance, though, as he got rocked for two earned runs on three hits in less than two innings of work.
Who Do I Like?
I think the Cardinals will find a way to win this game. Jack Flaherty has been a guy that has proven to step up when his team needs him, and with this being a seven-inning game, he may just pitch the entire thing. Flaherty threw 100 pitches in his last start for the first time this year, as the Cards were moving him along slowly after the COVID-19 layoff, but I expect him to pitch as long as he is successful in this game, as this is absolutely a playoff game for both teams.
At the end of the day, this game boils down to seven innings of Jack Flaherty, against seven innings of the Brewers bullpen. And while the Brewers bullpen has been solid recently, it is hard not to love Flaherty and the Cardinals in a spot like that.
The line has been bobbing back and forth most of the morning. The Cardinals opened up at -120, and it shifted to as far as Cardinals -130, before sliding back to the opening number right now. It would seem that the public is split on which side to take, and that has caused some peculiar line movements. I will go ahead and make my play at where the line stands now, at Cardinals -120.
Flaherty is going to prove to people why he is the ace of this Cardinals staff and work a lot of this game. The Cardinals know that they need to save their bullpen for game two of this doubleheader, and we are going to see a heavy dose of Flaherty in game one. The game will be tightly contested, and we are probably going to have to sweat it out, but at the end of the day, St. Louis is going to find a way to gut out the win and cash our ticket. Give me the St. Louis Cardinals laying -120 in game one from Milwaukee!