The Philadelphia Phillies will host the St. Louis Cardinals in the final game of their three-game series on Sunday. The Phillies took the opener on Friday as a -141 money line favorite, and the Cardinals won on Saturday 9-4 as a -107 favorite.
The Cardinals currently have 25/1 odds to win the World Series, tied for 10th best odds. The Phillies' odds to take the Fall Classic are 40/1.
Molina and Arenado lead the Cardinals offenseThe St. Louis Cardinals entered the 2021 season with high expectations as the +110 preseason favorite to win the NL Central. The Cardinals have lost five of their last seven games but did earn a 9-4 victory over Phillies on Saturday.
In the offseason, the Cardinals made an upgrade to the roster, trading for Nolan Arenado from the Rockies. Arenado hit at least 37 home runs in five straight seasons from 2015 to 2019. Arnedo has been an immediate contributor, batting .291 with 10 RBI and tied for the team lead with four home runs. Veteran catcher Yadier Molina has been the offensive MVP thus far, batting .340, with four homers and 12 RBI. Dylan Carlson is also off to a hot start with three homes and 10 RBI.
On Sunday, John Gant will make his third start of the season. Gant is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA and 1.78 WHIP, after having the Marlins and Nationals so far this season. Gant pitched in 17 games last season but did not start posting a 2.40 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. In four career appearances against the Phillies, Gant has pitched 11 1/3 innings and has a 4.76 ERA.
Phillies look to bounce back from lossThe Philadelphia Phillies started the season with four straight wins, but things have evened out since, and they head into Sunday, having lost four of their last five games. The Phillies pitching staff is 13th in baseball with a 3.92 ERA, and they are 11th as a team allowing 4.2 runs per game overall. Making a start for the Phillies on Sunday is Aaron Nola, who is 0-1 with a 3.45 ERA in three starts this season. In six career starts against the Cardinals, Nola is 4-2 with a 3.24 ERA and 1.00 WHIP.
FINAL: Cardinals 9, Phillies 4 pic.twitter.com/dxMCjj0z53— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) April 18, 2021
The Phillies are 23rd in MLB, averaging 3.9 runs per game and 13th with a .238 batting average. Leading the Phillies bats are Jean Segura with a .333 average and Didi Gregorius batting .320 with two homers and 10 RBI. The Phillies are also getting productive seasons from their catcher, J.T Realmuto batting .302 with two homers and nine RBI, and franchise player Bryce Harper with a .396 on-base percentage, two homers, and six RBI.
- Cardinals are 4-1 in their last 5 road games.
- Cardinals are 4-1 in Gants last 5 road starts.
- Phillies are 1-5 in their last 6 games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Phillies are 1-8 in Nolas last 9 starts during game 3 of a series.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Philadephia is a big favorite here but doesn't hold a significant advantage overall. The Cardinals are better defensively than the Phillies, ranking 18th in MLB in defensive runs saved compared to 23rd, and the bullpens are also comparable with Phillies ranking 18th with a 4.14 relief pitching ERA compared to the Cardinals who are 21st with a 4.23 ERA.
Aaron Nola provides an edge over Gant, but the Cardinal's offense is much more potent than Philadelphia's. The Cardinals are sixth in MLB, averaging 5.1 runs per game, and are third averaging 1.4 home runs per game. The Phillies are just 27th in MLB, averaging 0.8 home runs per game. I think Gant will pitch solid enough to give the Cardinals a chance here. The favorite has taken each of the first two games in this series, but that trend should change on Sunday. Take the St. Louis Cardinals, who have tremendous value as a sizable underdog.
Full-Game Total Pick
There have been an average of 10.4 runs scored in Cardinals games this season, and even with a struggling offense and solid pitching staff, the Phillies have combined for 8.1 runs per game with their opponents. Only 36% of the games for both teams this season have gone under the total, and I will roll with the over on Sunday.