As we creep closer to the halfway point of the 2021 MLB season, two teams that were projected to win their division at the beginning of the campaign find themselves well off the pace. The St. Louis Cardinals saw their three-game winning streak end in the series opener getting blanked 4-0.
They continue to struggle offensively and are just one game over .500 following the setback. The Braves had lost two straight and six of seven before taking the opener. The Cards send veteran Adam Wainwright to the bump on Saturday where he’ll be opposed by Atlanta lefty Drew Smyly.
This NL matchup takes place on Saturday, June 19, 2021 at 7:15 p.m. ET from Truist Park in Cumberland, GA. The game will air live on FOX .
Cardinals vs Braves Odds (Saturday, June 19)
Money Line: St. Louis Cardinals +105 | Atlanta Braves –115 [BET NOW]
Total: 9.5 [BET NOW]
Season So Far
The season hasn’t gone according to plan for either team, but there is still plenty of time to turn things around. The Cards were shutout for the fourth time this season and for the second time in five games in the series opener. They scored a total of seven runs in that span with the UNDER going 5-0.
They got solid pitching in that stretch allowing them to win three of the five contests, so there is a silver lining. In their nine previous games the Cards allowed over seven runs per contest while twice surrendering double figures and going 1-8.
The addition of Nolan Arenado was huge and was expected to make the Cards are top offensive club. Instead, they find themselves near the bottom of MLB with a .228 team batting average with just over four runs scored per game.
For the most part Arenado has done his job with a .269 average, 12 home runs and a team-high 44 RBIs. Unfortunately the rest of the roster has failed to consistently muster enough offense.
The three-time defending NL East champion Braves are hopeful a strong outing from Charlie Morton can change their fortunes. They entered the series with St. Louis off a pair of 10-8 losses to Boston and had lost six of seven overall to fall five games below .500 for the first time since the end of the 2017 campaign.
The Braves have been one of the least profitable teams in MLB down 899 units on the moneyline 1156 units on the run line.
With Jack Flaherty still on the IL, the role of staff ace has fallen to Adam Wainwright (4-5, 3.95 ERA), a job he handled spectacularly during the early part of his career. He’s turned in three straight quality starts with the Cards winning the last two and three of his last four outings. Last time out Wano allowed two runs on four hits with six strikeouts over 6.0 innings taking a ND in a 4-2 win over Miami.
After a rough start to the season Wainwright has been solid pitching to a 3.00 ERA over his last five starts. The run started with 8.0 shutout innings against the Cubs however the offense couldn’t get untracked in a game the Cards lost 2-1 in 10 innings. Pitching on the road has been an adventure for the veteran righty. In four away starts he’s allowed six runs twice and boasts an 8.20 ERA surrendering 25 hits and six homers in 18.2 frames.
The Braves counter with lefty Drew Smyly (3-3, 5.63 ERA), who has been victimized by the long ball this season. His inability to pitch deep in games also puts a strain on a bullpen that has a collective ERA near 5.00.
Smyly completed five innings for the first time in three starts last time out in a win over the Marlins allowing two runs and six hits for his first victory in six starts. Another encouraging sign was that he didn’t give up a home run. In his previous four starts he coughed up six homers. For the season Smyly has allowed 15 homers, the third highest total in MLB.
Smyly pitches to contact relying on his defense to make plays. Unfortunately he’s allowed more hits than innings pitched in each of his last three starts and has a 1.41 WHIP on the season. He’s made just four starts at home this season with a 7.45 ERA and eight homers allowed over 19.2 innings. The Braves are 0-4 in those games.
Cardinals vs Braves Prediction
Our best bets: St. Louis Cardinals +105 and OVER 9.5
The good news is that one of these scuffling teams is going to get a win. The Cards have seemingly figured out their issues on the hill and it’s hard to imagine Smyly and the Atlanta pen keeping the offense down again. Wainwright has struggled on the road and the Braves are looking to capture the mojo that led them to a lot of wins the last few years. We could see enough runs to cash the OVER with the Cards leaning on their veteran hurler to pick up a win.
Check out today’s MLB odds.