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October 13, 2015 (2:00 PM ET)

There are 2 baseball picks tonight. Scroll down to view the second selection.

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1: Take St. Louis Cardinals as underdogs on the Money Line (+112) against Chicago Cubs risking 3% to win 3.36%.
(Lackey and Hammel must start for wager to have action)

The St Louis Cardinals find themselves in a somewhat unfamiliar situation tonight, down 2-1 in their series with the Chicago Cubs, with their postseason lives on the line. The fact that this is a win or go home type matchup, we expect the Cardinals to be completely locked in and ready to leave everything they have on the field in this contest.

They will send the veteran John Lackey to the mound in this ultra-important game. Lackey is coming off a 4-0 shutout in the opening game and brings with him a ton of postseason experience. This is the reason why so many teams had been interested in Lackey's services the past few seasons. It is because he is a veteran and has been in these high pressure situations before and has shown his ability to elevate his game in this type of moment. We expect him to do that one again in this contest.

The Chicago Cubs may have taken Game 3, however it was a far from perfect outing. They had success because of the long ball and mistakes made by Michael Wacha and the pitching staff. To allow 6 different players to hit home runs is inexcusable at this point in the season. Had it not been for those mistakes, the Cardinals would likely not be in this situation they currently find themselves in. We don't expect Lackey to have the same struggles tonight. He's pitched extremely well in his last few outings with a 1.98 ERA and just a 0.818 WHIP and should have an edge on the mound tonight against his counterpart.

Jason Hammel hasn't exactly been sharp recently and struggled down the stretch. After the All-Star break he saw his ERA balloon all the way up to an unimpressive 5.10 over 14 starts. Hammel does have some postseason experience having made 4 career starts, but has posted and 0-1 record and a 4.80 ERA in the process. This is also his first start in nearly two weeks, so he may come into this contest a bit over-rested. He also hasn't had much success against St Louis this season having gone just 1-2 with a 5.74 ERA in 3 appearances giving up 7 runs over the course of just 11 innings!

This is unchartered territory for the Cubs right now and it will be interesting to see how they handle the pressure of this moment. We believe there is a reason why a club as hot as the Cubs are at the moment went from being a -220 favorite yesterday to just -120 today. That is a huge shift in odds and there is a reason for that. That being said these types of games are extremely familiar for Mike Matheny and his group and when their backs are against the wall that’s when this Cardinals team seems to be at their best. Let’s not forget that this is the team with the best record in baseball this season (100 wins) and won’t go down without a fight. This will likely be a closely contested game, but the Cardinals should do enough to keep their postseason run alive and come away with the victory.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Cardinals are 26-7 after a loss by 2 runs or less!
  • Lackey is 4-1 against the Cubs with an ERA of 1.65 and a WHIP of 1.102!
  • Cardinals are 91-45 when the total was set between 7 to 8.5 runs this season!

2: Take LA Dodgers on the Money Line (-152) against NY Mets risking 4.56% of the bankroll to win 3%.
(Kershaw and Matz must start for wager to have action)

Clayton Kershaw will make the start tonight for the Dodgers on short rest and he’s arguably their best shot at salvaging their postseason. LA was completely dominated offensively by the Mets yesterday as their pitching staff gave up 13 runs in a 13-7 loss to Matt Harvey and the Mets. Although Kershaw usually sticks to a regular pitching rotation during the regular season, this will ironically be the third time in 3 postseason appearances that he will start Game 4 of the NLDS on short rest.

Kershaw remains one of the most dominant pitchers in the regular season and rarely has a poor outing. His postseason numbers however are not up to the level that many have been accustomed to seeing from him, but we believe that changes tonight. He already took the loss in Game 1 of this series and we'd be hard pressed to think that he is handed a defeat twice in the same series, especially pitching up against a rookie in Steven Matz. Kershaw has been great against Mets in his career holding this current group to just a .190 batting average! Not only has he been holding this offense in check but only 2 of the 22 hits he's given up have gone for extra-bases! He's been dominant against this club and LA needs him to continue that to stave off elimination.

Steven Matz has been impressive this season, going 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA. In just over 35 innings he has amassed 34 strikeouts, which show that hitters are still somewhat unaccustomed to his delivery and mechanics. While he no doubt has had some impressive performances, he is still a rookie with just 7 Major League starts under his belt and this is a big stage he will be appearing on. It is an incredibly daunting task to stand up there on the mound with all of the pressure mounting on your shoulders. Matz is a wildcard, but we do expect nerves to affect him in this contest and the fact that he last pitched on Sept 24th will only add to his struggles in this contest. 

Kershaw's "struggles" in the postseason have no doubt influenced this line a bit and we are now getting a great pitcher, in a must win situation at reduced odds. The recent offensive explosion exhibited by the Mets last night no doubt has influenced bettors as well, but we believe their offense will be much harder to come by in this contest. The Dodgers have a chance to keep their postseason run alive with a chance to send this series back to LA on Thursday. They have had great success in this venue having won 10 of their last 15 visits to CitiField. Behind the arm of their best pitcher we expect the Dodgers bats to come alive and come away with a closely contested victory.

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