The Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals will close down a four-game series at Busch Stadium in St. Louis this Sunday afternoon, so here’s the best MLB betting pick for this National League Central showdown along with the latest odds update on William Hill Sportsbook.
The Bucks and Cards have already met twice earlier in the season, and St. Louis dominated Pittsburgh, going 5-0 in the process, including a couple of wins at Busch Stadium (8-5 and 5-2). However, the Pirates bounced back and won the opening clash of this set last Thursday, 8-2, as +141 road dogs. The Bucs pulled off another upset as +160 underdogs on Friday, 5-4, and opened at +150 to win the third contest that’s excluded from this analysis.
The Pirates have improved at the plate
The Pittsburgh Pirates own the lowest-scoring offense in baseball, tallying just 3.61 runs per contest on a .231/.302/.356 slash line. They’ve improved a lot lately, slashing .270/.342/.374 over their last six games overall, and the Pirates have won five of their previous seven contests mostly thanks to their offense.
On the other side of the ball, the Pirates have recorded a 4.54 ERA in the last two weeks (21st in the majors). Their relievers sport the 12th-lowest ERA in baseball (3.88), but over the last couple of weeks, they’ve recorded a pedestrian 5.02 ERA.
Tyler Anderson will take the mound Sunday, and the 31-year-old lefty is 3-7 in 14 starts this season. Anderson is winless since May 9, and over his last seven starts, he’s gone 0-4. Tyler owns a 4.82 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 69/21 K/BB ratio across 80.1 frames of work. He’s 0-2 with a 7.90 ERA in three career starts against the Cardinals.
The Cardinals have been terrible lately
The St. Louis Cardinals fell to 36-40 on the season following that 5-4 defeat to the Bucs on Friday. They sat at the fourth spot of the AL Central standings, seven games behind the top-seeded Brewers and seven ahead of the bottom-placed Pirates.
The Cards have dropped 16 of their last 21 games overall. Over the last two weeks, they’ve recorded a horrible .194/.275/.290 slash line, and the Cardinals have slugged just eight dingers in their previous 14 outings.
The Cardinals’ pitching staff has registered a 4.19 ERA through the last 14 games (15th in the majors). Johan Oviedo will toe the slab Sunday, and he’s 0-3 with a 4.62 ERA and 1.49 WHIP in eight starts and one relief appearance in 2021. The 23-year-old righty met the Pirates once last year and was charged for a loss, yielding a couple of earned runs on four hits in five innings of work.
- 2-11 in the last 13 games on the road
- 9-2 in the last 11 games against Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals Pick:
The Cardinals desperately need to get things going offensively, and the clash against the Pirates’ pitching staff is certainly a great opportunity for the Cards’ bats. St. Louis’ offensive woes won’t last for too long, as the Cardinals have so much firepower on their lineup.
Also, I’m expecting the Cardinals bullpen to step up and slow down the Pirates who’s been excellent at the dish as of late. The Cards are slowly losing the pace in the AL Central, and I think they’ll bounce back in this one against the divisional rivals.
Pick: Take St. Louis Cardinals at -150
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals Total:
The current Cardinals are slashing .342/.377/.814 against Tyler Anderson. The Bucks’ left-hander has allowed 11 earned runs on 21 hits and four walks through his previous three starts, so Anderson could be in trouble Sunday.
On the other side, Johan Oviedo has yielded six runs (two earned) last time out. Therefore, I’m going with the over, though St. Louis to win is my best betting pick here. Six of the Cardinals’ last seven games produced nine or more runs in total, as well as five of the Pirates’ previous seven contests.
Pick: Go over 9.0 runs at +105