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Cardinals vs. Dodgers: NL Wild Card Game odds, preview, and pick

Profile Picture: Robert Criscola

October 6th, 2021

The streaking St. Louis Cardinals will travel to Los Angeles to take on the defending World Series champion Dodgers in the National League Wild Card Game for the right to face the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS.

The Dodgers are heavy favorites, but can the Cardinals reward underdog bettors in this winner-take-all affair? Let’s dive into the matchup.

St. Louis Cardinals (90-72) at Los Angeles Dodgers (106-56), 8:10 p.m. ET, TBS

Thu, October 7 2021, 12:10 AM

LA Dodgers

Moneyline

-245

Run Line

-1.5

Total

O 7.5

STL Cardinals

Moneyline

+200

Run Line

+1.5

Total

U 7.5

The NL Wild Card Game is likely to be low-scoring, making the red-hot Cardinals a very tempting underdog play.

Adam Wainwright gets the nod for St. Louis, looking sharp as ever in his age-40 season. He’s 10-2 with a 2.50 ERA and 0.954 WHIP in 15 starts since the All-Star break.

Wainwright allowed just two runs to the Dodgers over eight innings in his lone start against them this year, before being sent out for the ninth inning and allowing two more. Cardinals manager Mike Shildt is unlikely to make the same mistake twice with everyone in his bullpen raring and ready to go.

The Redbirds relievers recorded a 1.08 WHIP over the last 30 days, good for second in the majors. Recently-anointed closer Giovanny Gallegos has a lot to do with that, as he’s recorded 10 saves in that span and authored a 0.77 ERA. Genesis Cabrera and Alex Reyes are capable of bridging the gap to him, even against L.A.’s robust lineup.

Max Scherzer counters for the Dodgers, and his being brought in at the deadline looks like an even smarter decision now with Clayton Kershaw out for the playoffs.

Things were going swimmingly for Scherzer – at one point going 36 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run – before trouble struck late in the season. He was tagged for five runs in consecutive starts to conclude the 2021 campaign. Even if one ignores the outing that took place at Coors Field, “Mad Max” still has to prove that he can bounce back in this spot.

Manager Dave Roberts would rather not go to his bullpen early of course, but it’s a luxury that he can afford, as L.A. was tops in the majors by WHIP (1.07) over the last 30 days.

In short, this game looks like it will be won early, because these bullpens are rock-solid. The Cardinals have just as good a chance of chasing the opposing starter early, and are available at a huge price. They’re worth a shot here.  

Final score prediction: Cardinals 3, Dodgers 2

MLB pick: Cardinals +200, Under 7.5 runs


Player prop pick: Tyler O’Neill Over 0.5 Hits (-141)

Cardinals left fielder Tyler O’Neill was a big reason why St. Louis was able to reel off 17 straight victories in September. The NL Player of the Month hit .303 with 11 homers and 27 RBI in that stretch. O’Neill had a 1.397 OPS during the final week of the campaign.

O’Neill is available at a crazy-low price just to get a hit in this one. Prop players should pounce on this golden opportunity.

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