NL Wild Card Game 1: Phillies vs. Cardinals Preview


October 7

The St. Louis Cardinals are set to play host to the Philadelphia Phillies for Game 1 of their three-game wild card series today from Busch Stadium.Philadelphia Phillies (-110) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (-106) Total: 6.5 (O -128, U +104)

St. Louis and Philadelphia have a history against one another in the postseason, with the last time these teams met taking us back to the Cardinals’ World Series win in 2011. The Red Birds spoiled the Phillies’ party, and The City of Brotherly Love hasn’t been back to the dance since. Down the stretch, the Phillies did everything they could to sink their playoff hopes, but they snuck into the playoffs and will face off with the NL Central champs. Game 1 of this series is set to feature the visitor’s right-hander Zack Wheeler, while the Cards will turn to trade deadline acquisition Jose Quintana. The Phillies righty was dominant, posting a 12-7 record with a 2.82 ERA and 163 strikeouts, while the Cards lefty has a 3-2 record with a 2.01 ERA and 48 punchouts since being acquired from Pittsburgh. Wheeler has been a different pitcher on the road this year, compiling a 3.84 ERA in 13 starts. What’s interesting to follow is that the Phillies’ veteran will be making his first postseason start, and with his numbers on the road slipping, it’s hard to have a ton of confidence, even with his success against the Cardinals. St. Louis should be able to do enough in Game 1 to secure a tightly contested home victory, even if that comes late after Wheeler exits the ballgame and turns things over to the bullpen. 

Best Bet: Cardinals moneyline (-106)

With the high-quality pitching matchup set to kick off this series, it’s not surprising that a relatively low total has been set at 6.5. Both starters have found success against the opposition and should be able to carry that into the Wild Card round. In a combined three starts, neither Quintana nor Wheeler has allowed an earned run this season against the opposition. Wheeler made two starts against St. Louis and pitched 14 shutout innings, while Quintana didn’t allow an earned run in one start against the Phillies. Those numbers should make you feel more confident in the under today. The over 6.5 is listed at +104, while the under is sitting at -128. Even though the price point of the over is appealing, don’t be fooled by that number and side with the under this afternoon. 

Best Bet: Under 6.5 (+104)

The Philadelphia Phillies offense has been hit-and-miss for most of this season, despite ultimately ending up in the upper echelon of runs scored in the National League. In addition, they strike out in the middle half of the league and have shown to have some trouble against Quintana. The left-hander made one start against the Phillies, but he pitched five and 2/3 innings of shutout baseball and struck out four batters. Quintana has been lights out at home since being acquired by the Red Birds, giving some confidence he can go deep into this game and exceed his alternate strikeout prop of four or more batters. 

Best Prop: Jose Quintana 4+ Strikeouts (-111)

Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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