Cardinals vs. Nationals Best MLB Bets, Picks & Predictions: Can Mikolas and Cardinals Coast to a Win?

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Ready to lock in your MLB bets? OddsJam’s MLB expert breaks down his top pick and prediction for today’s slate. Find the bet @BalesSJustin is eyeing below.

Cardinals vs. Nationals Betting Preview

7:05 p.m. ET

Anibal Sanchez and the Washington Nationals will host Miles Mikolas and the St. Louis Cardinals tonight. I’m backing a scorching hot offense with a pitcher that can throw deep into the game for this bet. 

Sanchez has only thrown 10 innings this season, but he owns an 0-2 record with a 6.30 ERA. He’s also struggled with a 4.45 xFIP. The limited innings are concerning, but Sanchez owns an xFIP over 5.00 over his last 229 innings. 

The right-hander isn’t a dominant strikeout pitcher, entering this game with a 22% strikeout rate. This is also significantly higher than what he’s posted the last two seasons. Sanchez isn’t a groundball pitcher by any means, as he owns 46.4% groundball and flyball rates in 2022. 

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The biggest issues with Sanchez are his control and the long ball. He’s struggled with a 9.8% walk rate through 10 innings. He’s also given up a 2.70 HR/9 in 2022. He’s issuing free passes and allowing offenses to take advantage of that. 

The sample size isn’t large enough to trust this season, but Sanchez has been a better option at home throughout his career. I don’t truly believe that matters, though, as it’s clear that he’s a shell of himself at this point. 

Sanchez gets a terrible matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals tonight. They currently rank second in the MLB in team wOBA (.373) and third in slugging percentage (.481) over the last 14 days. 

St. Louis also ranks ninth in the league in average (.247), 12th in slugging percentage (.398), and 11th in OPS (.714) against right-handed pitching this season. 

I initially wanted to look completely into the pitch mix for Sanchez and how St. Louis performs against it, but this is an odd situation. Sanchez is using so many different pitches this season without finding much success with any of them. 

In short, I favor the Cardinals’ offense by a wide margin against the right-hander who has consistently struggled. 

On the other side, Mikolas will draw the start for St. Louis. He’s thrown extremely well this season, recording a 7-8 record with a 2.87 ERA through 20 starts. He’s due for some regression, as he owns a 3.83 xFIP, but this may not be the matchup for that. 

Mikolas doesn’t boast elite strikeout stuff. Oddly enough, he isn’t truly a groundball pitcher either, as he owns a 44.3% groundball rate. He can get groundballs when he needs with his sinker, but he’s a pitcher that relies heavily on soft contact. He owns an elite 20.2% soft-hit rate to go along with only a 26.7% hard-hit rate. 

Mikolas has seen mixed results in recent starts, but he’s had some tough matchups. Even with those, he’s given up 3 or fewer earned runs in eight of his last nine starts. He also threw six or more innings in seven of those nine starts. 

Mikolas gets a great matchup against Washington, who’s been struggling offensively in recent games. They rank 24th in the MLB in team wOBA (.287) and 28th in slugging percentage (.340) over the last 14 days. 

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Washington’s found some success against right-handed pitching this season. Still, they rank ninth in the MLB in average (.247), 21st in slugging percentage (.380), and 17th in OPS (.696) against righties this season. 

This isn’t an offense that I’d shy away from, especially with someone who has been as consistent as Mikolas. A major key here is that Mikolas has the ability to throw deep into this game. Every inning after the fifth gives him a great chance to record a win. They simply need to be winning by that point in the game. 

Still, the Cardinals have -130 odds to be leading the game after the fifth inning. They feature an above-average bullpen, and it’s unlikely that they’re going to blow it in the few innings that Mikolas isn’t throwing. 

Essentially, St. Louis has -170 odds to win the game and -130 odds to be leading after the fifth inning, but we’re getting +115 odds on Mikolas to record the win. He’s thrown five or more innings in each of his last 19 starts, and he should be set up for the win tonight.

Cardinals vs. Nationals Pick: Miles Mikolas to Record a Win | +115 at DraftKings

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