Reds vs. Cardinals MLB Best Bet: Side with St. Louis in Series Opener

profile image of Willie.Bee

MLB Pick: Cardinals ML (-128) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

Heritage Sports logo
Cardinals ML (-128)
Visit Site

Now is as good a time as any for Cincinnati or St. Louis to mount a serious challenge to Milwaukee in the NL Central, and maybe a long weekend series between the Reds and Cardinals will reveal which one, according to the MLB odds, is ready to do just that.

If you’re looking for additional value picks, be sure to visit our YouTube channel for more insights on betting.

Cincinnati Reds vs. St. Louis Cardinals

Thursday, June 27, 2024 – 07:45 PM at Busch Stadium

The 4-game set in St. Louis gets underway with a couple of hurlers who are each looking to pick up their seventh win. Andrew Abbott (6-6, 3.40) gets the nod for the Reds opposite Miles Mikolas (6-6, 4.68) of the Cardinals, and Bovada (visit our Bovada Review) has St. Louis on a -135 moneyline in front of the home fans.

Brew Crew All Alone on Top of NLC

Milwaukee was the favorite to win the NL Central, so it’s no surprise to see the Brewers at the top of the standings. What has been a surprise is Milwaukee sporting a 6-game cushion after the forecast called for a tight race in the division.

Cincinnati is the only team other than Milwaukee with a positive number in the run differential column, but the Reds have not been able to turn that into a winning record as they enter the series 6-games under .500 and 10½ behind the Brewers.

St. Louis is the only team in NL Central besides Milwaukee with a winning record, and yet the Cardinals have the worst run differential mark in the division at -31.

Both the Reds and Cardinals have favored the ‘under’ on the MLB odds. The Reds arrive in St. Louis on a 2-game skid while the Cardinals return home after splitting a doubleheader in Atlanta on Wednesday.

Reds Have Split Abbott’s 8 Road Starts

Abbott has been a very consistent arm for the Reds this year, with just one ugly effort among his 15 assignments. That start did come against the Cardinals, however, about a month ago when the Redbirds swatted a pair of long flies and scored six times in Abbott’s seven frames of a 7-1 loss.

The southpaw is coming off a season-high 10 strikeouts in a 5-2 win at home over the Red Sox last Friday. Cincinnati is 8-7 overall when the former 2nd-round pick out of the University of Virginia takes the mound, and Abbott owns a respectable 3.47 ERA in the eight road starts.

After posting a 5.54 ERA across his first 12 starts in April and May, Mikolas has settled in nicely to enjoy a nice month of June. Three of his four starts this month have stayed ‘under’ the totals at top sportsbooks as he’s pitched to a 2.49 ERA, and the Cardinals are 3-1 in those contests.

Mikolas missed facing the Reds when the clubs met in Cincinnati near the end of May, and he has struggled against them the last two seasons going 2-4 with a 6.02 ERA in seven outings. Cincinnati infielder Jonathan India has taken Mikolas deep three times in 21 plate appearances.

From the Trainer’s Table…

Part of Cincinnati’s struggles so far this season can be traced to the injury list, with pitcher Nick Lodolo the most recent addition to the injured list due to a finger issue. Lodolo was leading the team with 8 wins and a 2.96 ERA before the injury.

Cincinnati is also missing a pair of infielders, Jeimer Candelario (hamstring) and Christian Encarnacion-Strand (wrist). Candelario missed Wednesday’s game and his status is uncertain for this series in St. Louis.

Given how fragile players are these days, the Cardinals are in pretty good shape on the injury front. They just got catcher Willson Contreras back after the catcher missed about six weeks with a forearm strain, and outfielder Lars Nootbaar (oblique) is close to beginning a rehab assignment.

Rivalry Notes, Mother Nature & a Free Pick

This is the second meeting between the clubs this season. They met for a Memorial Day set in Cincinnati, and St. Louis took two of three – each victory as a small underdog – while the totals stayed ‘under’ the bar in all three contests.

The Cardinals eked out a 7-6 edge in the 2023 series against the Reds, with the squads splitting the six games at Busch Stadium. Totals ran 4-2 O/U in those contests. Including the series earlier this year, St. Louis has won 21 of the 35 meetings since the start of the 2022 campaign.

Under partly cloudy skies with a light NE breeze (in from center) and temps in the mid-80s at first pitch, my free MLB pick for the series opener is on the Cardinals to take care of business against the Reds.

MLB Pick: Cardinals ML (-128) at Heritage Sports

Heritage Sports logo
Cardinals ML (-128)
Visit Site

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.