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NLDS Game 1 St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves

Over/Under: 9

First pitch: 2:02 p.m. PT


Probable pitchers: Miles Mikolas (9-14, 4.16 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (8-8, 3.75 ERA)

What a journey it’s been for Mikolas to get to this point. The 31-year-old was out of the majors and pitching in Japan from 2015-17 before resurfacing with the Cardinals. Mikolas immediately rewarded their investment with an All-Star campaign last year and now, he’s their Game 1 starter in the postseason’s opening series.

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I was a big fan of Mikolas even before he went overseas, you may recall, upon noticing the potential he flashed during his last pre-Japan stint in MLB with the Texas Rangers (I even interviewed him after that season). Still, though, I’m not sure he’ll come all the way through in this particular assignment, the biggest of his life.

First off, the extra time off could have a considerably negative effect on the right-hander, with his last start being more than 10 days ago. At the very least, it serves as an interruption to the rhythm Mikolas was in after he posted a 3.34 ERA in his five September starts.

In this spot, he’s out of routine and having to adjust against a really tough Braves lineup that will have young star Ronald Acuna back from injury.

Not only that, he’ll be having to pitch on the road in this one, something that could tilt his output toward being unfavorable. Mikolas had an ERA away from St. Louis (5.40) this year that was more than two full runs higher than at home (3.01). Additionally, Atlanta recorded an .817 OPS as a team in their games at SunTrust Park, which was sixth-best in baseball.

Keuchel, too, has had an interesting trek throughout the year (not to mention last offseason) — his first as a non-Houston Astro — considering he didn’t sign till late. Of course, that wasn’t his fault (tied to draft pick compensation).

The former American League Cy Young Award winner was real solid in his 19 starts for the Braves, going 8-8 with a 3.75 ERA, but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest he was, well, very fortunate to end up with those numbers. Just look no further than his 1.37 WHIP.

But we will anyway. His 4.72 FIP was almost a full run higher than his ERA, which is always notable when there’s that much of a discrepancy and indicates regression may be ahead. Play: OVER 9 (-120)

Yesterday’s Result: Rays-Athletics Under 7.5 (WIN)

2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*

Regular Season: 89-78-12, +1.05 units

Playoffs: 2-0, +1 unit

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit (playoffs 0.5 unit)

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