Phillies are MLB Betting Favorites to Kick Off Series vs. Cardinals

Posted by Jordan Walters on Thursday,May 17, 2018 11:05, EDT in

In this writer’s opinion, the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals are in the same boat this year: Not likely to win their respective division but definitely both should contend for the two NL wild-card spots. They open a series in St. Louis on Thursday with the Cards as MLB betting favorites.

How to Bet Phillies at Cardinals MLB Betting Odds & Game Info

When: Thursday, 7:15 PM ET
Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Probable pitchers (away/home): Vince Velasquez/Luke Weaver
TV: MLB Extra Innings
Stream: MLB.tv
Radio: 94.1 FM (Philadelphia) / 1120 AM (St. Louis)
Opening MLB Betting Lines: Cards -125, Phillies +115 (8.5)

Why Bet on Philadelphia?

The Phils enter having won two straight and six of seven. They wrapped up an interleague set in Baltimore on Wednesday with a 4-1 win. Cesar Hernandez tripled and homered, scoring two runs. Hernandez was retired in his first two at-bats, but he belted a leadoff homer in the top of the sixth inning and then tripled and scored on a Rhys Hoskins double in the top of the eighth. The second baseman Hernandez is batting .267/.383/.427 with five home runs and seven stolen bases in 40 games this year.

Hector Neris got the final out in a non-save situation Wednesday. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler called for his closer with a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning despite Edubray Ramos striking out the first two batters in that frame. Neris needed the confidence boost as he has stumbled a bit in May and holds a 5.06 ERA and 1.50 WHIP for the year.

Who Will Take the Mound for Philadelphia?

The Phils start Vince Velasquez here. Velasquez (3-4, 5.05) picked up the win last Thursday against the Giants, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk while striking out 12 batters across six innings. Velasquez struggled early on in this one, serving up two homers in the first two innings to put the Phillies behind 3-0. He flipped a switch after the second long ball, however, retiring 15 of the next 17 batters he faced — 11 via strikeout — before exiting with his fourth quality start of the season. Velasquez’s 12 strikeouts, which were the most he’s recorded since he turned heads with a 16-strikeout game in 2016, offer a glimpse of what he’s capable of doing when pitching well.

Velasquez struck out 11 of the Giants as his four-seam fastball jumped from 93.1 mph through the first seven batters he faced to 94.2 mph through the final 17. “Look,” Kapler said, “there’s a brilliant pitcher in there. And every time we look out at him, no matter what the outcome of the game is, we always see that that brilliant pitcher exists. And it wasn’t there in every moment today. But it was there in flashes.”

Why Bet on St. Louis?

Are the Cardinals a safe MLB betting pick on Thursday?

The Cards snapped a three-game skid with a 7-5 win at Minnesota on Wednesday. Hitting out of the seventh spot in the Cardinals’ batting order, struggling Matt Carpenter doubled twice and added a single. One of Carpenter’s doubles plated a run in the seventh inning. Carpenter sat out three straight games over the weekend and then went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his return to action Tuesday. It was the three-time All-Star’s first three-hit game since July 18 of last season.

Tommy Pham singled and hit a solo home run Wednesday.  Pham led off the game with a single and scored on a Dexter Fowler single. He later extended the Cardinals’ lead with an opposite-field solo home run off of Phil Hughes to lead off the eighth inning. The longball was Pham’s eighth of the season. Bud Norris recorded five outs to notch his ninth save in nine tries in the win. Greg Holland made a mess of things in the eighth inning, giving up a run before getting pulled with the bases loaded. Norris let a run score on a wild pitch but retired all five batters he faced.

Who Will Start for the Cardinals?

It’s young Luke Weaver on the mound here. Weaver won Friday after allowing four hits and one walk with four strikeouts in five scoreless innings against the Padres. It was an encouraging outing for Weaver (3-2, 4.91 ERA), who had allowed 18 runs over his previous four starts (9.00 ERA). He struggled with his command during that stretch, recording 10 walks and 15 strikeouts. He was better on Friday, walking just one batter and throwing 60 strikes out of 92 pitches. It was Weaver’s first win since April 13.

Weaver made his second career start at Philly’s Citizens Bank Park, and took the loss tossing 5.0 innings exactly seven days after his MLB debut at the Cubs. He is 1-1 with a 4.08 ERA in three career starts (5 app.) vs. N.L. East opponents.

The Cardinals, who are hitting .226 as a team, are batting .265 with an .815 OPS and 5.59 runs/game in their wins, as opposed to .175 with a .518 OPS and 2.41 runs/game in their losses. St. Louis is fourth in the majors in one-run wins.

Latest MLB Betting Trends

  • Philadelphia is 8-1 ATS in its last 9 games
  • Philadelphia is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Philadelphia’s last 6 games
  • St. Louis is 3-13 ATS in its last 16 games
  • St. Louis is 7-2 SU in its last 9 games at home
  • The total has gone UNDER in 10 of St. Louis’s last 14 games

Expert MLB Betting Prediction

Take the Cardinals as well as the over 8.5 runs.