Neither the Washington Nationals nor St. Louis Cardinals were favored to win their NLDS but both did – winning Game 5 on the road, no less. Now they meet in the playoffs for the second time ever with Game 1 of the NLCS on Friday night in St. Louis. The Birds are slight MLB betting favorites for the opener but the Nats are slight series favorites.
How to Bet Nationals vs Cardinals NLCS Game 1 Odds & Game Info
- When: Friday, 8:08 PM ET
- Where: Busch Stadium
- Probable pitchers (away/home): Anibal Sanchez/Miles Mikolas
- TV: TBS
- Live Stream: TBS Live
- Radio: SiriusXM
- NLCS Game 1 Odds: St. Louis Cardinals -135 (Total 8)
Nationals vs Cardinals Series History
St. Louis won five of seven regular-season meetings, going 3-1 in D.C. and 2-1 at home. The Cards hit .236 as a team overall vs. Washington pitching and scored 26 runs despite just four homers. Washington totaled only 17 runs and four homers, hitting .222.
These clubs met once in the playoffs previously, with St. Louis staging a stunning Game 5 rally in the 2012 NLDS in Washington to win 9-7. The Cardinals were down 6-0 after three innings and still 7-5 in the top of the ninth. In that inning, St. Louis got a tying two-out, two-run single from Daniel Descalso and a go-ahead two-run single from Pete Kozma. Neither is with the team. In fact, only a couple guys overall on either roster from back then.
- Clear: 8°C/47°F
- Humidity: 55%
- Precipitation: 1%
- Cloud Cover: 3%
- Wind: 8 mph WNW
- Stadium Type: Open
Why Bet on Washington?
The Nationals had never won a playoff series before and looked dead on Wednesday at the NL top-ranked Dodgers but rallied for a stunning 7-3 10-inning victory. Washington had been 0-3 in their previous NLDS Game 5s (2017, 2016, 2012).
It was is the first time in both the Dodgers and Nationals/Expos franchise’s history that either team played extra innings in a winner-take-all game. The Nats tied it with homers in the bottom of the eighth from Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto on back-to-back pitches from Clayton Kershaw.
Washington won it in the top of the 10th on Howie Kendrick’s grand slam off Joe Kelly. The Dodgers decided to walk Ryan Zimmerman with runners on second and third and no one out to face Kendrick. Oops! Kendrick’s grand slam was just the 2nd extra innings grand slam in postseason history. Nelson Cruz had the only other one, a walk-off grand slam in the 11th inning of Game 2 of the 2011 ALCS, for the Rangers, against the Tigers. Oddly, both came with the score tied at 3.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo is unsure about the status of Kurt Suzuki (wrist, head) for Game 1 or even the entire NLCS. Suzuki took a Walker Buehler fastball off his left wrist and head in the seventh inning and had to be removed from the game. Yan Gomes would take over behind the plate.
What about Sanchez?
It’s expected to be Anibal Sanchez (11-8, 3.85) on the mound because Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin both pitched Wednesday and Max Scherzer did Monday. Sanchez struck out nine while allowing one run over five innings in a no-decision in last Sunday’s NLDS Game 3 against the Dodgers. The right-hander allowed four hits and a walk over his five innings, with only a Max Muncy solo homer in the fifth inning counting against him.
Sanchez lost his only start vs. the Cardinals this year, allowing three runs over five innings.
- Runs: 5.35
- Hits: 8.94
- Walks: 3.60
- Strike Outs: 8.08
- Runs: 4.46
- Hits: 8.23
- Walks: 3.21
- Strike Outs: 9.44
Why Bet on St. Louis?
Even though the Cardinals had a worse regular-season record than Washington, St. Louis gets home-field advantage because it is a division winner and the Nationals weren’t.
The Cards didn’t have to sweat Game 5 in Atlanta on Wednesday at all as they scored 10 runs in the top of the first and rolled 13-1. The 10 runs tied an MLB record for runs in a postseason inning and was the most ever in a first inning. St. Louis became the first team in MLB postseason history to score 10 runs in an inning without hitting a homer. The 12-run differential matched the largest margin of victory in Cardinals postseason history. They also won 13-1 in Game 6 of the 1982 World Series against the then-American League Milwaukee Brewers.
The Cardinals scored double-digit runs in an inning just once this season, a 10-run performance in the sixth inning against the Cincinnati Reds in July, and they averaged less than five runs per nine innings in 2019. Of the 10 teams that qualified for the playoffs this year, the Cardinals scored the fewest runs (764). No player crossed the 100-RBI threshold.
Against the Braves
Ace Jack Flaherty allowed just one run over six innings while allowing four hits and striking out eight on Wednesday. There was some controversy in this one, as the Cardinals decided to leave the starter in for 104 pitches despite the big cushion. Flaherty is now in line to start Games 3 and 7, which isn’t the worst scenario of this series if it goes to Game 7.
Paul Goldschmidt had a big series against the Braves, hitting .429 with four doubles and two home runs with just two strikeouts. Closer Carlos Martinez didn’t, serving up two home runs in Game 1 and blowing the save in Game 3. Martinez had a 3.17 ERA in the regular season and allowed just two home runs in 48⅓ innings.
What about Mikolas?
Bit of a surprise the Cards will go with Miles Mikolas (9-14, 4.16) over Adam Wainwright in Game 1. Mikolas pitched five innings of one-run ball against the Braves in Game 1 of the NLDS. Mikolas, who walked just 32 batters in 32 starts this year, opened with back-to-back walks in the first. However, he was helped by Ronald Acuna Jr getting thrown out stealing, and he was able to escape with just one run on the board. He was excellent the rest of the way.
Mikolas faced the Nats twice in the regular season, including a recent Sept. 17 start that saw him allow three runs in six innings.
- Runs: 4.73
- Hits: 8.28
- Walks: 3.46
- Strike Outs: 8.78
- Runs: 4.07
- Hits: 7.92
- Walks: 3.36
- Strike Outs: 8.65
Nationals vs Cardinals NLCS Game 1 Betting Trends
- Under is 3-0-2 in the last 5 meetings in St. Louis
- Nationals are 4-2 SU in their last 6 games on the road
- The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Washington’s last 9 games played in October
- Cardinals are 5-2 SU in their last 7 games when playing at home against Washington
- The total has gone OVER in 4 of St. Louis’ last 5 games at home
Expert Final Score Prediction for Nationals vs Cardinals
Washington Nationals 2 – St. Louis Cardinals 4