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Phillies vs. Cardinals series odds, predictions and preview

St. Louis is a lukewarm favorite in its Wild Card Series against Philadelphia

Aaron Nola of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on October 03, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
Aaron Nola of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on October 03, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)Read moreLogan Riely / Getty Images

The Philadelphia Phillies are back in the postseason for the first time in 11 years and according to the oddsmakers, they’ve got a decent chance of extending the party past the Wild Card Round.

They may be underdogs against the St. Louis Cardinals in their three-game series in the Gateway City this weekend, but we’re talking about slight margins here as oddsmakers have Philadelphia sitting at +114 and the Cards at -134. In other words, if St. Louis wasn’t the home team for all three games, we’d be talking about the Phillies as favorites.

Phillies vs. Cardinals Series Prediction: Pick

Phillies +114

Phillies vs. Cardinals Series Prediction: Analysis

It makes sense that the market views the Phillies and Cardinals as near equals this season. Sure, St. Louis finished with six more wins and had a much stronger run differential (+135 to +62), but the Cards had the luxury of padding their record in a very soft Central Division that featured a pair of 100-loss teams and another one that finished 74-88.

Philadelphia, meanwhile, had to watch from afar as the Mets and Braves each posted 101-win campaigns.

You can only beat the teams on your schedule, but the Cardinals were a bit of a flat-track bully this season, going 48-28 against the NL Central but just 45-41 versus the rest of the MLB.

You can continue building the argument for the Phillies when you look at the projected rotations for this series. Rob Thomson will almost certainly use Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola in Games 1 and 2, while the Cardinals are dealing with some level of uncertainty heading into the weekend. Adam Wainwright, who many expected to start Friday in the opener, has not yet been confirmed as the starter by the team and has recently been dealing with a dead arm. The Cards could go to Miles Mikolas, and there is a good chance they carry a handful of secondary starters (i.e. Steven Matz, Dakota Hudson, Jose Quintana) to create some flexibility if any starter pitches himself into trouble.

Both Wainwright and Mikolas posted strong seasons in 2022, but it’s clear that the Phillies could have the edge in both matchups, especially considering Wainwright’s form.

Overall, the 41-year-old pitched to an impressive 3.71 ERA and 4.10 xFIP in 191.2 innings, but things came undone for the Cardinals legend down the stretch. Wainwright made six starts in September and October, posting a 7.22 ERA and 5.32 xFIP in 28.2 innings. Wainwright’s strikeout-to-walk ratio in that span was about even.

Like Wainwright, Mikolas also posted strong year-long numbers with an ERA of 3.29 and a 3.80 xFIP, but he’ll need to be on song against Nola, who is coming off a superb season for the Phillies.

» READ MORE: Mets vs. Padres series prediction and preview: San Diego is a live underdog

As for the bullpens, the numbers point to this edge going to St. Louis, but it’s hard to glean much from the season-long numbers because we’re likely to see a bunch of non-traditional usage from both teams in a three-game series.

St. Louis also boasts the stronger statistical profile offensively, but the difference is pretty negligible, especially when you consider the quality of competition. The Cards finished the year with a .326 wOBA, .745 OPS and 114 wRC+, while the Phillies were not too far behind at .322, .739 and 106, respectively.

Outside of the fact that this series will be played in St. Louis, the advantages for the Cardinals seem relatively thin, while the Phillies will likely have the biggest – and most important – edge in the starting pitching department.

Thus, it makes sense that the Cardinals are a lukewarm favorite, even at home. This series looks like a coin flip, and bettors so far are treating it as such, meaning the Phillies have value to win it at +114.

Phillies vs. Cardinals Wild Card Series Odds:

  1. Phillies: +114

  2. Cardinals: -134

» READ MORE: Full sports betting coverage from The Philadelphia Inquirer

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