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NL Championships Betting Analysis: Giants vs. Cardinals

All eyes will be on the NLCS on Saturday night, when two playoff rivals face off against each other to see which one will get to go to the World Series. St. Louis will be trying to get some payback against the team that eliminated them from the NLSC in 2012, while the Giants will be trying to make it to the World Series for the third time in 5 years.

San Francisco Giants vs. St. Louis Cardinals, NLCS Game 1, Saturday, October 11, 8:07 PM. ET.

The Giants surprised a lot of experts by making the playoffs, because they were dealing with injuries and inconsistent play all season, but they managed to tough it out, and make it as the second playoff team. Once they were in, they picked off where they left off in 2012, and extended their playoff winning streak to 10 games, before finally losing to the Nationals in game 3 of the NLDS. They still managed to close out the series in 4 games, and will be hoping for the same type of success against the Cardinals.

The Cardinals also had to work hard to make the playoffs; they started the season slowly, and were behind the Milwaukee Brewers for most of the year, before turning things around, and winning their division by two games. They have also been very sharp in the playoffs, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in four games. They will now turn their attention to the Giants, who won the regular season series between them 4-3.

Pitching Matchups

Madison Bumgarner will start game 1 for the Giants, and Adam Wainwright will start for the Cardinals.

Madison Bumgarner has been the one consistent player on the Giants roster this year, he won a career high 18 games this season, and finished with 219 strikeouts, which was another career high. He was rewarded for his effort with the start against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Wildcard game, and he responded with a complete game shutout. In his next start against the Nationals, he gave up two runs in seven innings, but the Giants lost the game. He will have more time to rest before the start of the NLCS, and should sharper on the mound.

Adam Wainwright seems to get better every year, he had another brilliant season, winning 20 games, and finishing with a 2.38 ERA. His great season playoff experience earned him the first start for the Cardinals in the NLDS, but he was rocked by the Dodgers, giving up 6 runs in 4 innings, but the team managed to get a 10-9 victory. The Cardinals will expect him to pitch better in game 1 of the NLCS, based on his last performance against the Giants, when he gave up 0 runs in 7 innings, and the fact that he will be pitching at home, where he lost only three games all year.

The Cardinals lost to the Giants in 7 games when they last faced each other in the NLCS, they had a 3-1 series lead, but couldn't finish off the Giants because San Francisco's pitching staff limited them to one run over the last three games of the series. This time around, the Cardinals have the home field advantage, which should give them the advantage if this series goes to seven games again. Their pitchers don’t have to worry about the Giants scoring a lot, because they averaged a .222 batting average in the NLDS, but they do have to worry about the Giants base running, which is how they have been hurting their opponents this season.

The Giants don't have the pitching rotation they had in 2012, former Cy Young award winner Barry Zito, who was one of the heroes of the 2012 season is no longer with the team, fellow two time Cy young winner Tim Lincecum has lost some of his velocity, and hasn't played yet in the playoffs, and Matt Cain, underwent a season ending surgery in August. Despite their losses, the Giants have still found ways to win, they will face a tough test against Wainwright, who shut them out when he faced them in 2012, but they know that they need to win this game, to set the tone for the series, and take the home field advantage away from the Cardinals. 

Personal Pick: The Giants have been underdogs during their playoff run, but continue to prove their doubters wrong, which is why I expect them to win this game.

This series is probably going to go the distance, because these two teams have had a lot of post season success lately, and are very familiar with each other. Hopefully, it will be as entertaining as their previous meeting in 2012.

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