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Cardinals vs. Padres Game 1 Betting: Odds, Picks, Preview (Wednesday, Sept. 30)

Cardinals vs. Padres Game 1 Betting: Odds, Picks, Preview (Wednesday, Sept. 30) article feature image

Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Fernando Tatis Jr.

Cardinals vs. Padres Game 1 Odds

Looking for Thursday’s Game 2? Click here.

Cardinals Odds +140 [Bet Now]
Padres Odds -165 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 8 (-110/-110) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 5:08 p.m. ET

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For the first time since 2006, the San Diego Padres are back in the playoffs. They rode one of MLB’s best offenses all the way to a 37-23 record, which was the second-best record in the National League. However, it’s not all sunshine and roses coming into the postseason as two of their main starting pitchers, Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger, are battling injuries.

On the other side,  after having to pause their season due to an outbreak of COVID-19, the Cardinals rebounded to finish 30-28. The Cardinals rank in the bottom half of MLB in almost every important statistical category. They are by far the most overrated team in these playoffs, but could luck out by avoiding both Lamet and Clevinger in first round.

Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP  is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning.

Offensive Matchup

St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis’ offense has been right around average all season, with a .306 wOBA and 93 wRC+. Paul Goldschmidt has led St. Louis’ offense this season with a .392 wOBA, but outside of him it’s been bleak. The rest of the Cardinals bats haven’t lived up to expectations this year, but they should have a good opportunity against a struggling Chris Paddack in Game 1. 

San Diego Padres

San Diego has been a top-five offense all season long. It has the fourth-best wOBA (.341) and the fifth-best wRC+ (115) in baseball, but most of its success has come against right-handed pitching. San Diego has only a .327 wOBA against lefties, which is much lower than its output against righties (.347) this year.

Fernando Tatis, Manny Machado and Wil Myers have carried the Padres offense all season long, combining for 48 homers and 132 RBIs. Outside of those three guys, the Padres haven’t seen much production. So if Kim can get through the top of the order, he could be very effective in his playoff debut.

Starting Pitching Matchup

Kwang Hyun Kim vs. Chris Paddack

2020 Stats (via Fangraphs)

Kwang Hyun Kim, LHP

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Kwang-hyun Kim has been a fantastic surprise for the Cardinals after coming over from the KBO. He’s posted some really good numbers in 2020, including a 1.62 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. However, he’s been a tad fortunate to this point in the season, as his xFIP is all the way up at 4.52.

Kim mainly uses a fastball/slider combination, and so far it’s held opposing hitters at bay. Both pitches have combined to allow only a .183 average to opponents.

Even though he’s been on point with those two pitches, he’ll have a tough matchup against this Padres lineup that is top-five versus both fastballs and sliders.

Chris Paddack, RHP

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Chris Paddack hasn’t lived up to expectations in 2020. However, it’s mainly due to the fact that he’s been pretty unlucky. He’s posted a 4.73 ERA, but his xFIP is almost a full run lower at 3.77. His main issue this year though has been giving up the long ball, as he’s surrendered 14 home runs in only 59 innings.

Paddack has struggled with his fastball in 2020, allowing a .309 average to opponents. That is a big issue since he throws his fastball over 58% of the time. The only pitch that has been effective for Paddack is his changeup, allowing only a .215 wOBA to opponents. Paddack wasn’t San Diego’s first choice due to injuries to their top two starters, so the Padres may be in a bad spot in Game 1.

Bullpen Matchup

St. Louis’ bullpen has been a bit fortunate this season, as it has a 4.00 ERA, but its xFIP is all the way up at 4.66, which ranks 23rd in MLB. However, it really improved over the past two weeks of season, posting a 3.60 ERA and a 4.15 xFIP.

San Diego counters with a pen that ranked fifth in xFIP this season. The Padres made a number of acquisitions at the deadline to try and improve their bullpen. Those acquisitions have done wonders, as over the second half of the season the Padres posted the third-best ERA and the best xFIP in MLB.

Weather Report

It’s going to be hot in Southern California on Wednesday, which should aid both offenses.

Projections and Pick

I think the pitching matchup in Game 1 is a lot closer than the current line suggests. Paddack’s struggles shouldn’t warrant him being a -165 favorite, especially given how good Kwang Hyun-kim has been this year.

Therefore, I am going to back the Cardinals in Game 1 for the first five innings at +135, and the full game  at +140. I would bet both numbers to +125.

The PICKS: Cardinals First Five Innings Moneyline +135, Full Game Moneyline +140

[Bet Now at PointsBet, and win $125 if the Cardinals get a hit.]

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