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The Los Angeles Dodgers will host the St. Louis Cardinals for the 2021 NL Wild Card Game on Wednesday, October 6 at Dodger Stadium. Both teams are coming into this game on a tear, as the Cardinals recently ripped off a 17-game winning streak while the Dodgers have won 18 of their last 21 games. Los Angeles is heavily favored in this game, however, given that they won 16 more games than St. Louis during the regular season.
Which team will advance to face the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS? Let’s go over my best bets and predictions for the 2021 NL Wild Card Game. All Cardinals vs Dodgers odds and lines are current as of Wednesday, October 6.
Cardinals vs Dodgers NL Wild Card Game Predictions
St. Louis Cardinals @ Los Angeles Dodgers, October 6, 8:10 PM EST on TBS
Probable Starting Pitchers:
- Adam Wainwright, Cardinals (17-7, 3.05 ERA)
- Max Scherzer, Dodgers (15-4, 2.46 ERA)
The NL Wild Card Game will feature a pitching matchup between two of MLB’s most accomplished aces in Adam Wainwright and Max Scherzer. Wainwright has 184 career regular-season wins under his belt and has been dominant in the playoffs with a 2.89 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 109 career postseason innings. Scherzer, on the other hand, is a three-time Cy Young winner who has also excelled in the playoffs, compiling a 3.38 ERA and 1.13 WHIP across 112 postseason frames.
Both are veteran, battle-tested starters who have won World Series rings and pitched in dozens of big games. While Scherzer is the better pitcher at this stage in their careers, Wainwright is certainly capable of keeping St. Louis in the game. The Cardinals won 13 of his 15 starts in the second half, largely because he completed at least six innings 14 times while compiling a 2.50 ERA during that span.
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While Wainwright will have his hands full with the Dodgers’ star-studded lineup, he nearly pitched a complete game the last time he faced them. Wainwright went 8 1/3 innings in his lone start against Los Angeles this year, pitching St. Louis to a 5-4 victory on September 8.
The Cardinals will be counting on him to pitch deep into this game as well. Their bullpen was one of the shakiest in baseball this year, posting MLB’s seventh-highest xFIP (4.65). St. Louis relievers will be extra vulnerable against LA’s juggernaut offense, which led the NL with 5.12 runs per game.
Similar to Wainwright, Scherzer is also coming off an outstanding second half. He’s been lights-out since joining the Dodgers at the trade deadline, notching a perfect 7-0 record with a 1.98 ERA and 1.96 FIP in 11 starts with his new team.
He also led the majors with a 0.86 WHIP this season while striking out 11.8 batters per nine innings. Against a Cardinals offense that scored fewer runs than the league average and ranked fifth-worst among NL teams in OBP, Scherzer should be able to go six or seven innings while limiting scoring opportunities for St. Louis. Even if his ace struggles, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has MLB’s second-best bullpen at his disposal in terms of ERA (3.16).
Given LA’s advantages on offense, in the bullpen, and with the starting pitching matchup, the Dodgers should be able to win this game at home (where they’re 58-23 this year) and advance to the NLDS. My model agrees as well, giving them a 71.8% chance to win and making them our MLB bet of the day.
Cardinals vs Dodgers NL Wild Card Pick: Dodgers 71.8% Win Probability (Kevin Davis Model)
Read all of our 2021 NL Wild Card Game Betting Tips
Cardinals vs Dodgers NL Wild Card Game Best Bet
Best Bet: Dodgers Moneyline (-219) at Caesars (would bet up to -220)
Wager: 1 Unit
Even as a heavy -205 favorite per our MLB gameday odds, the Dodgers are worth wagering on. They’re arguably the best team in baseball this year, while the Cardinals needed a historic winning streak just to reach the postseason. Los Angeles is the much stronger team on paper and superior to St. Louis in virtually every way, making them the obvious choice here.