Sunday Night Baseball: St. Louis at Philadelphia

The Phillies are -150 home favorites tonight in the rubber game of their three-game set against St. Louis.

Philadelphia Phillies vs. St. Louis Cardinals Betting Preview

Line: Philadelphia -150

Total: 8

Where: Citizens Bank Park

When: Sunday, 7/3, at 7:08 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

Philadelphia will be tasked with trying to cool down Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado when the teams meet in the rubber match of a three-game series on Sunday night.

Arenado opened the series by hitting for the cycle and driving in three runs in a 5-3 loss on Friday. He hit two home runs and drove in three more runs in a 7-6 win on Saturday, as St. Louis hit four consecutive homers in the first inning of that game. Arenado is now 16 of 41 with five doubles, a triple, four home runs and nine RBIs over his past 10 outings, but the Cardinals have gone just 5-5 during that stretch.

“He’s been taking really good at bats. The guy’s on a mission. You can tell. He’s been coming up real big for us,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said on Saturday night. “He doesn’t want to give anything away. He’s ultra-competitive in every aspect of the game.”

Oddsmakers opened Philadelphia as a -130 home favorite for Sunday’s primetime meeting, but the early action has been all over the Phillies, moving the line to -150 as of Sunday morning. The total opened at 7.5 and has been bet up to 8.

The Cardinals cannot afford to give anything away right now, as they are sitting one game back of Milwaukee at the top of the National League Central standings. They are also just two games ahead of San Francisco for the final NL Wild Card spot as the All-Star break approaches.

Their offense has been the driving force behind their success this season, as they rank fifth in the MLB in batting average (.254). Arenado is the hottest bat in the lineup right now, but veteran first baseman Paul Goldschmidt has been the leader throughout the season. He has 100 hits, 19 home runs and 65 RBIs, batting at a blazing .346 clip.

The Cardinals are currently without several key players, including catcher Yadier Molina (knee), right fielder Tyler O’Neill (hamstring) and center fielder Harrison Bader (foot), who are all everyday starters. Philadelphia can relate to injury issues, as star right fielder Bryce Harper is out for at least the next month with a broken thumb.

Harper leads the Phillies in hits and batting average, and he was the leader in RBIs prior to the injury. Left fielder Kyle Schwarber has been the other big bat in the lineup—he stepped up with two hits in Friday’s win, while outfielder Odubel Herrera had three hits on Saturday.

As for Sunday’s starting pitching matchup, veteran Adam Wainwright will make the start for St. Louis, while right-hander Zack Wheeler is going to take the bump for Philadelphia. Wainwright is coming off a dominant outing, throwing seven shutout innings while striking out nine Miami batters on Monday.

The 40-year-old has nine quality starts this season and snapped a streak of six straight outings without a win in the victory over the Marlins. He is 7-4 with a 3.00 ERA in 17 career outings against Philadelphia, and he has a 3.07 ERA overall this season.

Wheeler allowed three runs on five hits in a loss to Atlanta on Tuesday, striking out eight batters along the way. He had given up just three home runs in 74.2 innings this year prior to allowing two in the first inning against the Braves.

His numbers have not been great against St. Louis in his career, as he is 1-2 with a 4.24 ERA. However, he has been excellent this season, going 6-4 with a 2.89 ERA.

The Cardinals are 4-8 in their last 12 road games, while Philadelphia is 10-5 in its last 15 games against NL opponents. The Phillies have gone ‘over’ in four of their last six games, and they have cashed the ‘over’ in 11 of their last 16 home games.

The pick: Cardinals +140

This pick was much more difficult at the opening number, but the betting action on the Phillies has provided value the other way for Sunday night’s game. I am not willing to wager (at this price) on a Philadelphia team that is without its best player in a game where there is not much between the starting pitchers. Wainwright is coming off seven shutout innings in his last start and did not seem to be bothered by the absence of Molina behind the plate. The Cardinals have been the more consistent offensive team in 2022 and Arenado has been the hottest player in baseball this weekend. I think they certainly have value as underdogs on Sunday following the early line movement.

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