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Cardinals, Reds And Pirates Try To Maintain A Torrid Pace In The N.L. Central

Posted by Dale "Skip" Lalonde on 6/12/2013 7:18:52 PM

The best divisional race in baseball is found in the National League Central Division, as the St. Louis Cardinals are trying to fend off the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Game 1: St. Louis Cardinals @ New York Mets – Thursday, June 13

Sports betting lines will certainly favor the Cardinals in this game, but not by a substantial margin. This is a matchup in which either starting pitcher could dominate and thereby take hold of the proceedings. St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright has been outstanding in 2013, but so has New York starter Matt Harvey.

Both men have been machines this season, pumping out one high-quality start after another and eating up innings to minimize the strain on their respective bullpens. Wainwright’s movement on his pitches and Harvey’s explosive young arm have made them very difficult for opposing hitters to deal with. One can just as easily see the Mets winning this game, not because they’re a better team (they’re not), but because Harvey is equally as capable as Wainwright of tossing a gem.

Since the Cardinals will likely enter this game having won the first two installments of this three-game series in New York, go with the Mets in what should be seen as a slight but hardly substantial upset. The sense here is that Harvey will in fact outduel Wainwright in a contest that feels like a 2-1 nailbiter all the way.

MLB Betting Pick: New York Mets

Game 2: Cincinnati Reds @ Chicago Cubs – Thursday, June 13  

When the best online betting sites really focus on the particulars of this tilt, they will be split on how to handicap it. On one hand, the pitching matchup is very even. Mat Latos, the starting pitcher for the Reds, has an ERA of 2.87 while Chicago starter Jeff Samardzija owns a comparable ERA of 3.18. There’s not a whole lot of separation between the two men, leading handicappers to expect a close contest.

However, the point of differentiation between these two teams is that Chicago’s bullpen hemorrhages a lot more often than Cincinnati’s bullpen does. The Cubs are one of many big-league teams who falter in the latter innings and run into problems with the back end of their bullpen. The men tasked with getting the final three to six outs of a game have not done their job with particular consistency for the Cubs. This is what should enable the Reds to win this ballgame on Thursday in the Windy City.

MLB Betting Pick: Cincinnati Reds

Game 3: San Francisco Giants @ Pittsburgh Pirates – Thursday, June 13  

Unlike online poker, the dealers in a baseball game depend on their release points. Both Matt Cain and Charlie Morton, the two starters in this contest (Cain for San Francisco and Morton for Pittsburgh), have been struggling with their release points. Cain and Morton are lugging bloated ERAs of just over five runs into this tilt. The numbers in and of themselves offer little reason to move in one direction with this pick. However, Cain is a much more proven pitcher than Morton, and that’s what should enable a bettor to go with the Giants here.

MLB Betting Pick: San Francisco Giants

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