Phillies vs. Cardinals MLB Odds, Pick & Preview: Back St. Louis in Key National League Matchup (Friday, July 8)

Phillies vs. Cardinals MLB Odds, Pick & Preview: Back St. Louis in Key National League Matchup (Friday, July 8) article feature image

Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images. Pictured from left: Dylan Carlson #3 and Nolan Arenado #28 of the St. Louis Cardinals.

  • The St. Louis Cardinals host the Philadelphia Phillies in a matchup between NL Wild Card contenders.
  • Zach Wheeler gets the start for the Phillies and Adam Wainwright will start for the Cardinals.
  • Alex Hinton provides his best bet below.

Phillies vs. Cardinals Odds

Phillies Odds-105
Cardinals Odds-115
Over/Under7.5 (-110/-110)
Time8:15 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The NL Wild Card race has gotten a lot more interesting in the past week. The St. Louis Cardinals entered last weekend's series against the Philadelphia Phillies with a game-and-a-half lead over the Phillies for the third and final Wild Card spot in the National League. The Phillies took two of three from the Cardinals at home.

The Cardinals then went to Atlanta where they lost three of four to the Braves. Meanwhile, the Phillies took two of three from the Washington Nationals. Now, the Phillies and Cardinals enter this four-game series tied  for that third spot.

Starting pitchers Zach Wheeler and Adam Wainwright faced off against each other on Sunday Night Baseball and it resulted in a 4-0 Phillies victory. Now, the Cardinals are back home where they are 24-16. Will home cooking help the Cardinals?

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Philadelphia Phillies: Will Wheeler's Road Struggles Continue?

After a second place finish in the NL Cy Young Award voting last season, Zach Wheeler has followed it up with another strong campaign. The 32-year is 7-4 with a 2.66 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 88 1/3 innings. Wheeler's advanced metrics are strong as well as he has a 2.49 FIP, .227 xBA, 2.75 xERA and a .277 wOBA. However, Wheeler has been much better at Citizen Banks Park. In six road starts this season, he is 2-2 with a 4.45 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP.  The Cardinals will take advantage if Wheeler falters on the road again.

The Phillies offense has been hot of late, averaging 5.9 runs over their past 10 games. Outfielder Kyle Schwarber has been one of the hottest hitters in the game. In June, Schwarber hit 12 home runs to go along with 27 RBIs and a 1.065 OPS. He continued his hot streak with consecutive two homer games on Tuesday and Wednesday against the Nationals. However, Wainwright has had his number as Schwarber is just 5-for-29 with a homer against him.

Conversely, Rhys Hoskins has owned Wainwright. He is 6-for-10 with three home runs against him, including a home run on Sunday night. Hoskins is hitting .317 with nine home runs and 17 RBIs over the past month. First baseman Derrick Hall has gotten his career off to a hot start with four home runs in his first eight career games.

St. Louis Cardinals: Can Arenado Stay Hot?

The Cardinals got back in the win column Thursday and will to turn to Adam Wainwright to continue the momentum. Wainwright is 6-6 with a 3.26 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP in 96 2/3 innings. Like Wheeler, Wainwright is much better in his home ballpark. In seven starts at home, Wainwright has a 2.25 ERA, 43 strikeouts in 44 innings and a .238 opposing batting average.

The Cardinals bats have gone cold over the past week, but they still rank 7th in the majors in runs scored. Any lineup that features Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt in the middle of it will have a great chance to score a ton of runs on any given night.  In July, it has been Arenado doing the heavy lifting. The Cardinals third baseman saw his six game hitting streak end on Thursday, but he is hitting .500 with three homers and six RBIs (all against the Phillies) this month.

Goldschmidt is hitting .358 with three home runs and seven RBIs in his past 15 games. Of his 19 home runs this season, 15 have come against right-handed pitching.

Phillies-Cardinals Pick

Zach Wheeler and Adam Wainwright have been two of the best starting pitchers this season. In the National League, Wheeler ranks 8th in WAR while Wainwright ranks 21st. However in this matchup, the numbers favor Wainwright. Wheeler has had some struggles on the road while Wainwright has excelled at home. Additionally, Wheeler has averaged an inning fewer in his road starts this season.

The Cardinals would much rather deal with the Phillies bullpen than Wheeler. If the Cardinals get Wheeler out of the game early, that will only improve their chances. The Cardinals have the better bullpen in this matchup and are also the better defensive team. All in all, I expect it to add up to a Cardinals victory.

Pick: Cardinals ML

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