NL Championship Series Odds & Predictions 

NL Championship Series Odds & Predictions 

NL Championship Series Odds & Predictions 

Welcome to October sports fans! This will be the fourth time since ’87 the Giants and Cardinals have tangled in the NLCS, including the second time in three seasons. Can the Cardinals finish what they couldn’t in 2012?

2014 NLCS Schedule

Game 1 – Sat, Oct. 11 @ 8:00 PM ET
Giants at Cardinals

Game 2 – Sun, Oct. 12 @ TBD
Giants at Cardinals

Game 3 – Tue, Oct. 14 @ TBD
Cardinals at Giants

Game 4 – Wed, Oct. 15 @ TBD
Cardinals at Giants

Game 5*- Thur, Oct. 16 @ TBD
Cardinals at Giants

Game 6* – Oct. 18 @ TBD
Giants at Cardinals

Game 7* – Oct. 19 @ TBD
Giants at Cardinals

Odds to win 2014 NL Pennant
St. Louis Cardinals 5/6
San Francisco Giants 6/5

Should You Bet On The San Francisco Giants (88-74)

The Giants are up to their old tricks after winning it all in 2010 and 2012. Frisco is back in the NLCS despite winning six fewer regular season games than the NL West-champion Los Angeles Dodgers and come into this contest off a commanding 3-1 NLDS series win over Washington.

"It’s been a remarkable journey. I wouldn’t trade it for the world," veteran outfielder Hunter Pence said. "If it was easy, it wouldn’t be as fun."

San Francisco was absolutely mediocre across the board during the regular season, but just like 2010 and 2012, the Giants have heated up in a big way since the postseason started.

First, the Giants routed the Pittsburgh Pirates in their one-game wild card matchup on Oct. 1, winning 8-0 to advance into the NLDS and a date with the NL East-winning Washington Nationals.

Despite not being favored, the Nationals succumbed to San Francisco mostly because the Giants got some spectacular pitching in limiting the Nats to two runs or less in all three of their series victories.

The Giants averaged 4.10 runs per game during the regular season (12th) while also finishing 17th in home runs (132) and a dismal 29th in stolen bases with a paltry 56.

The good news for the Giants is that they were really solid in pitching during the regular season, ranking 10th in team ERA (3.50) and third in WHIP (1.17) though they did finish just 17th in quality starts and errors.

San Francisco struggled to score runs against Washington but managed to get a slew of timely hits to win the series 3-1.

In Game 2 of the NLDS, first baseman Brandon Belt became the first player ever to hit a game-deciding home run at the time that he was 0-for-6 in a game. The Giants beat the Nationals despite going 2-for-18 with no runs scored by their leadoff hitter Gregor Blanco. Frisco also won despite platooning Travis Ishikawa and Juan Perez in left field.

Including the postseason, San Francisco has won seven of its last nine games while holding the opposition to two runs or less five times.

All-star catcher Buster Posey led Frisco in batting during the regular season (.311) and was the Giants only regular with at least 500 plate appearances to bat at least .300.

The Giants did have five other players with at least 269 at-bats, hit .279 or higher, so this team can swing the bats when they want to.

Six Giants players reached double digits in home runs with four of them hitting 16 or more, though Posey (22) and Hunter Pence (20) were the only players to hit 20 or more.

When it comes to pitching, San Francisco has a legitimate staff ace in Madison Bumgarner (18-10, 2.98 ERA) and a slew of other experienced pitchers that know how to get the job done, even if they don’t have the regular season numbers to back up their ability. Even more shocking is the fact that none of these pitchers are named Tim Lincecum or Matt Cain, the Giants former staff ace and commanding No. 2.

Should You Bet On St. Louis Cardinals (90-72)

The Cardinals pulled off the ‘impossible’ by smacking around Los Angeles Dodgers staff ace – and arguably the best pitcher in baseball – superstar southpaw, Clayton Kershaw – not once in their NLDS win over L.A., but twice.

First, the unheralded Cards smacked Kershaw around for a jaw-dropping eight runs in Game 1 to win a shocker 10-9 and then the Cards closed out L.A. by scoring three runs off Kershaw in the seventh inning to win 3-2 after the Dodgers took a 2-0 lead just one inning earlier.

Surprisingly, St. Louis has only won six of its L/10 games dating back to the regular season. Like their NL counterparts in this series, St. Louis was mostly mediocre during the regular season, particularly on offense.

The Cardinals ranked a discouraging 24th in runs scored (3.82) while also ranking 14th in team batting average (.253), 29th in home runs (105) and 28th in stolen bases (57). Conversely, St. Louis was very solid with its pitching as they finished the regular season ranked 11th in team ERA (3.50), 10th in quality starts (91) and 11th in errors (89).

The Cardinals had just one player with at least 400 at-bats hit at least .300 (John Jay, .303) though they did have five regulars bat .272 or higher during the regular season, led by postseason stars, Matt Adams (.288) and Matt Carpenter (.272). Just four players managed to reach double digits in home runs, led by Jhonny Peralta’s team-high 21.

Adams smacked the game-winning home run off Kershaw in the seventh inning in Game 4 while Carpenter homered in three straight games against the Dodgers.

"I don’t think I touched the ground the whole way around the bases," Adams said. "Definitely the highlight of my career. … I will never, ever forget this."

Like the Giants, St. Louis’ strength this season has been its pitching, though only three starters managed to record double digit win seasons. Staff ace Adam Wainwright (20-9, 2.38 ERA) and No. 2 hurler Lance Lynn (15-10, 2.74 ERA) were the only starters with ERA’s under 3.00.

Wainwright however, was smacked senseless in giving up six runs on a whopping 11 hits in just 4.1 innings of their series-opening win over the Dodgers.

In closing, if you’re an MLB betting enthusiast, then you should know that both of these teams have been here before and quite recently I might add. These two teams will reprise their 2012 NLCS series which San Francisco won before going on to win their second World Series in the last four years.

Lest anyone forget, in between the Giants’ title wins in 20101 and 2012, St. Louis took home the World Series hardware in 2011.

Both ballclubs are huge overachievers that should have never won their respective division series matchups – on paper. But here they are again – and I believe you really can’t go wrong by betting on either of these equally-matched ballclubs.