Cubs at Cardinals NLDS Game 1 MLB Betting Preview

Posted by Daniel Strum on Friday,October 9, 2015 11:53, EST in

Following their win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Wildcard matchup earlier this week, Jon Lester (11-12, 3.34 ERA) and the Chicago Cubs will be looking to continue their run in the playoffs by outmuscling the John Lackey (13-10, 2.77 ERA) and the St. Louis Cardinals in a National League Game 1 Division Series this Friday. This game will mark the first-ever postseason meeting between the two longtime rivals, and if their past regular season matchups are anything to go by, then MLB betting enthusiasts are in for a big treat. To get you all prepped up for the game, here is a succinct preview of this MLB playoff encounter, inclusive of free MLB picks.

Cubs at Cardinals NLDS Game 1 MLB Betting Preview

Venue: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri
Date/Time: Friday, October 9, 2015, 6:45 PM ET
TV: TBS

Cubs vs. Cardinals NLDS Game 1 Analysis

Entering this clash, the Cardinals are buoyed by their fine playoff experience, as they making their 12th playoff appearance in the last 16 seasons, and are hoping to secure a fifth straight trip to the National League Championship Series. The Cubs, on the other hand, last made it to the playoffs in 2008, and Wild Card win over the Pirates on Tuesday Night was their first playoff victory since 2003.

In addition, the Cardinals were the only team in the Major Leagues to crash into the 100-win elite club in the 2015 regular season, finishing with an MLB-best 100-62 record. Adding to their already impressive résumé, The Cardinals won 11 of the 19 games against the Cubs this year. It is because of such pedigree that the Cards are the MLB betting favorites to win this Game 1 clash that will be played in St. Louis.

It is, however, not going to be all smooth-sailing for the hosts, as the Cubs arguably have the best collection of young talent in the playoffs, and are coming off a morale-boosting 4-0 road win over a 98-win Pirates team. Underestimating the Cubs could therefore easily lead to an upset.

Plus, Lackey, St. Louis’ starter for Friday hasn’t been particularly formidable in his recent starts. For example, in his last outing, Lackey pitched 4.0 innings, giving up three runs and striking out four in a 6-0 loss to the Braves. Meanwhile, in Lester’s last outing, he went 8.0 innings, allowing one run and striking out nine to lead the Cubs to a 10-3 win over the Reds.

Also, the Cardinals have a 24-18 record on the season when they take on a left-handed starter, while the Cubs sport a 78-51 record against righties. All that said, the Cards have solid relievers that have contributed greatly to their NL-best team ERA. The Cards have additionally been playing very well at home, while the Cubs have been a bit iffy on the road. The Cubs will therefore need to give a very strong showing if they are to oust the Cards in this Game 1 clash.

Noteworthy Game Statistics

  • The Cardinals lead the NL in ERA with a 2.93 team average.
  • The Cubs have the second-best road ERA in the NL at 3.33
  • The Cardinals rank fifth in the NL with only 8.4 hits allowed per game
  • The Cubs lead the NL with 8.8 strikeouts per game
  • The Cubs have a WHIP of 1.15 on the year, the best in the league
  • The Cubs average 3.5 walks per game, making them the most disciplined unit in the NL
  • When they outhit their opponents, the Cubs have a 68-9 record. The Cardinals are 60-17 when outhitting opponents.
  • St. Louis is near the bottom of the league in runs (24th), scoring 647 this season. Chicago ranks in the top half (15th) with 693
  • St. Louis is in the top 10 of the league (7th) in walks, notching 506 this season. Chicago ranks in the top five (2nd) with 569.

Key Betting Trends

  • The total has gone OVER in 3 of the last 5 meetings between the two teams
  • The Cubs are 3-2 SU in their last 5 games against the Cards, but the Cards are 11-8 SU against Chicago this season
  • The Cardinals come into this game with a losing streak of three, while Cubs are coming into the game with nine consecutive wins
  • The Cardinals went 46-30 SU against teams in the NL Central. Interestingly, the Cubs also went 46-30 SU NL Central members

Writer’s Betting Prediction

Though Lester has enjoyed a better overall recent run than his starting counterpart, his last two starts against the Cards in September both ended in losses for his team (4-3 in Sept. 20 and 4-3 in Sept. 9). I therefore don’t trust him to lead the Cubs to a win, even if the Cubs are the in-form team right now. Consequently, I expect Lackey to make a couple of mistakes, but still do enough (along with the offense) to give the Cardinals a close victory over Chicago. With both starting pitchers not being the best of defenders, both teams should be able to score enough runs to push the run total OVER.