Buy or Sell: Will the Cardinals Go Over Their Win Total?
The St. Louis Cardinals have been a polarizing team to watch through the first half of the MLB season, which has given them some value with their win total.
The Redbirds not only have a realistic shot at winning the NL Central, but they’ll also have a path to the playoffs through a Wild Card spot if the Milwaukee Brewers continue holding their division lead.
Regarding the postseason, St. Louis has seen line movement in their favor, which has them at -158 to make the playoffs. The Cardinals currently trail the Philadelphia Phillies by half a game for the final Wild Card position in the National League while trailing the Brewers in the NL Central by that same number. With that, there’s likely more value targeting the Cards’ season win total, set at 86.5, with both the over and under holding an equal value of -110.
Inconsistencies have plagued the Cardinals’ rotation this season, and it’s an area that John Mozeliak will need to upgrade ahead of the trade deadline. The Cards’ offense has scored 431 runs this year, leading the NL Central, and is tied for fifth in the NL. St. Louis owns a 50-44 record, so they’ll need 37 victories in 68 games to hit the over. In other words, that’s a .544 winning percentage, which is higher than the team’s current .532 win rate at the All-Star break.
Many factors play into whether or not the Cards can perform at that level in the remaining 68 games, but it’s difficult to expect them to go on a 17-game win streak as they did in 2021 en route to 90 victories. Looking at their schedule the rest of the way, St. Louis has the easiest strength of schedule, which is promising for a team that’s done well against poor opposition. The Cardinals play the Washington Nationals seven times, the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs eleven times, the Pittsburgh Pirates nine times, the Arizona Diamondbacks three times, and the Colorado Rockies six times. That portion makes up 47 of the Cards’ 68 remaining games, with their most challenging competition coming with seven games remaining against the division-leading Brewers. It’s hard not to see this as a significant advantage for the Cardinals in the second half, which should make bettors bullish on St. Louis buy into them eclipsing 86.5 wins.
Paul Goldschmidt is the current front runner to take home the NL MVP award and is a dangerous weapon in the infield and at the plate. The Cardinals have also received contributions from some of their rookies, lengthening their lineup. What this all might come down to is whether or not St. Louis can find a solution at the deadline for their rotation or if Steven Matz and Jack Flaherty can stay healthy. The Cards have a deep farm system and can withstand the loss of a few prospects to upgrade their pitching.
Buying into the Cardinals winning more than 86.5 games is something bettors should be targeting.
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