Cards, Pirates Trying to Stay Afloat in NL Central

Pirates vs Cardinals Predictions: Pitt Strong Against Run Line

The St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates have spent most of the season jockeying for position at the bottom of the National League Central standings. Neither looks like a contender, though there’s still time for each club to differentiate itself from the pack.

Tuesday (7:45 p.m. ET), they open a three-game series at Busch Stadium, with rookie sensation Paul Skenes opposing Miles Mikolas. It is the first of 13 games between the clubs this season.

MLB lines have Pittsburgh as -1.5 (+118) on the run line and -132 on the moneyline for the opener, with St. Louis at +1.5 (-142) and +112. Meanwhile, the projected total is 7.5, with a slight edge to the Over at -120.

Who has the edge? Before making your Pirates vs Cardinals predictions, check out our series preview.

Pirates logo Pirates vs Cardinals Cardinals logo

📊Records: St. Louis Cardinals (31-33) vs Pittsburgh Pirates (31-34)
📍Location: Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri
📺Streaming: SportsNet PT

Pirates vs Cardinals Betting Trends

The Pittsburgh Pirates are 37-28 against the run line, including 6-2 over the last eight games. The Pirates have also been profitable for Over/Under bettors, going 33-28-4.

The St. Louis Cardinals, meanwhile, are just 31-33 against the run line, including 4-6 over their last 10 games. As for the Over/Under, St. Louis is 28-33-3.

Consider these betting trends before making your Pirates vs Cardinals predictions.

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Some Good, Some Bad

Pittsburgh is off to an optimistic start in June, having gone 4-2 on its recent homestand against the Dodgers and Twins. Three of those victories were shutouts.

Despite that, the Pirates (projected for 75.5 wins) continue teetering on the edge of another lost summer. They are last place in the National League Central at 31-34, 7.0 games behind Milwaukee.

The expanded wild card has afforded the Pirates room for opportunity, even as they sit below .500. Still, they’ll need to play better for an extended stretch to climb the division standings and stick in the NL playoff race.

Oddsmakers are skeptical of the Pirates, pricing them +500 to make the postseason. Those are among the lowest odds in baseball.

Pittsburgh has largely performed as a middle-of-the-pack club, ranking 20th in runs scored and 14th in ERA. Hence, it’s .477 win percentage and minus-23 run differential. But with a pair of promising rookies in Paul Skenes and Jared Jones fronting the rotation, there’s legitimate reason for optimism in the future.

The Pirates have been favorable for bettors, covering 56.9% of the time. That’s the sixth-highest rate in baseball.

Trailing the Pack

St. Louis’ lackluster play continues, with the Cardinals sitting in fourth place in the Central at 31-33. The Cardinals are just 4-6 over their last 10 games after splitting a four-game series against Colorado at home

Projected for 84.5 wins, St. Louis is trending below expectations. That said, like Pittsburgh, the Cardinals should remain firmly in the mix for a postseason spot so long as they continue to tread water and remain around .500.

Oddsmakers are slightly more optimistic about the Cardinals’ prospects, pricing their playoff chances at +225.

Chief among the Cardinals’ issues has been the underperformance of their core MLB players, including first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (6 HR, .656 OPS) and third baseman Nolan Arenado (6 HR, .680 OPS). The Cardinals rank just 22nd in home runs and 26th in runs scored, far worse than anticipated for a lineup built on power.

As such, they continue to lag in the MLB standings. The Cardinals haven’t had a winning record since April 6 (5-4), nine games into the season. They concluded April at 14-16 and are just .500 since.

They’ve also been difficult for bettors to trust, as evidenced by their 31-33 record against the run line.

Series Probables

⚾Game 1⚾

Tuesday, 7:45 p.m. ET
Paul Skenes vs Miles Mikolas

Skenes has been advertised, going 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA over his first five Major League starts. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft and baseball’s top-ranked prospect has 38 strikeouts compared to just six walks over 27 innings. He is +200 to win NL Rookie of the Year, trailing only Cubs pitcher Shota Imanaga (+115).

The Cardinals will counter with Mikolas, who is 4-6 with a 5.32 ERA. The veteran right-hander had a tough May (1-3, 5.18 ERA), but bounced back in his most recent outing with six strong innings in a 4-2 win over Houston last Wednesday.

Keep that in mind when making your Pirates vs Cardinals predictions.

⚾Game 2⚾

Wednesday, 7:45 p.m. ET
Bailey Falter vs Sonny Gray

Falter was strong in May, pitching to a 2.23 ERA in five starts. However, the left-hander (3-3, 3.69) was hit hard in his last start, giving up five runs over four innings in an 11-7 loss to the Dodgers last Thursday.

He faces Gray, who is 7-4 with a 3.21 ERA. Despite solid peripherals, Gray has gone six innings just once in his last six starts (May 14 against the Angels).

⚾Game 3⚾

Thursday, 2:15 p.m. ET
Mitch Keller vs Lance Lynn

Keller (8-3, 3.16) has been among baseball’s hottest pitchers, winning six consecutive starts since May 6. He has allowed just five runs over that span, watching his ERA fall from 4.41 to 3.16.

Lynn, meanwhile, is 2-3 with a 3.58 ERA. He hasn’t gone past the fourth inning since May 27, a span of three starts.

Pirates vs Cardinals Odds

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