The Pittsburgh Pirates head to Busch Stadium on Tuesday night to open a two-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals, so here’s the best betting pick for this National League Central showdown along with the latest odds on BetRivers Sportsbook.
These two divisional foes already met in a three-game set at PNC Park in Pittsburgh earlier this month, and the Cardinals swept the Pirates, playing as slight favorites in two of those three contests. This time, the Cards are -135 home favorites to win the opener, while the Pirates are +127 dogs with a total of 7.5 runs.
The Pirates hope to snap a seven-game skid against the Cards
The Pittsburgh Pirates are coming off a 4-1 home loss to the San Francisco Giants this past Sunday. They split a four-game set against the in-form Giants, so the Bucs enter the Cardinals series with a 17-23 record. Pittsburgh is sitting bottom of the NL Central at the moment, and the Pirates are winless in seven straight encounters with their next rival.
The Bucs own the lowest-scoring offense in baseball, averaging only 3.45 runs per game. They are 22nd in the majors in batting average (.228) and 24th in on-base percentage (.304), but the Pirates’ slugging percentage of .347 is the worst in the MLB.
Pittsburgh surrenders 4.55 runs per contest (20th in the majors). JT Brubaker will toe the slab Tuesday in St. Louis, and the 27-year-old righty is 3-2 with a 2.58 ERA in seven starts this season. He’s been doing a solid job all season, and Brubaker was victorious last week, tossing six frames of a one-run ball against the Cincinnati Reds.
The Cardinals look to bounce back from a tough series at San Diego
The St. Louis Cardinals just got swept by the Padres in a three-game set at Petco Park in San Diego. They fell to 23-18 on the season, but the Cards are still topping the NL Central, a couple of games ahead of Milwaukee.
St. Louis is scoring 4.39 runs per game, just above the league average of 4.37, while the Cardinals are slashing .231/.305/.399 which are not great at all. However, the Cards have slugged 53 home runs thus far, and that’s enough for the fifth-most in the majors.
On the other side of the ball, the Cardinals are yielding 4.05 runs per game (12th in the majors). John Gant will get the starting call Tuesday against the Pirates, and the 28-year-old righty is 2-3 with a 1.83 ERA in seven starts this term. Last time out, Gant threw five innings in a no-decision against the Brewers, allowing one unearned run on three hits and three walks.
- 5-12 in the last 17 games overall
- 0-7 in the last seven tilts against St. Louis
- 11-6 in the last 17 games overall
- 6-2 in the last eight games at home
JT Brubaker and John Gant already met each other on April 30 when the Cardinals outlasted the Bucs 7-3 on the road. Gant earned a victory, yielding just a run on three hits through five frames, but he also walked five and punched out just two. On the other side, Brubaker yielded three earned runs on seven hits across five innings while striking out seven.
The Cardinals certainly possess more offensive firepower than the toothless Pirates. They’ve dominated Pittsburgh lately, and the Cards are certainly fired up after that tough set against the Padres. I’m looking for St. Louis’ offense to make the difference and score a few runs off Brubaker.
Pick: Take St. Louis Cardinals at -135
Although both these teams are batting below the league average, I’m not expecting a proper low-scoring affair on Tuesday. Brubaker and Gant both have some issues in their play, and I’ve already mentioned that their previous duel ended up in the 7-3 victory by the Cards.
Furthermore, neither bullpen has impressed lately, so I’m backing the over. St. Louis ‘pen sports a 3.98 ERA (17th in the majors) and sits right behind the Pirates’ relievers who own a 3.87 ERA.
Pick: Go over 7.5 runs at +100