Cardinals vs. Nationals odds, line: 2019 NLCS Game 1 picks, predictions from advanced computer model

The St. Louis Cardinals look to take the first step towards their 20th World Series appearance when they host the Washington Nationals on Friday in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. The Cardinals (91-71) are taking part in their 10th NLCS since 2000 and shooting for their fifth World Series appearance since 2004, while the Nationals (93-69) are taking part in just their second NLCS and first since 1981, when they were based in Montreal and lost in five games to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Game time is scheduled for 8:08 p.m. ET at St. Louis. The Cardinals are -130 on the money line, meaning a $130 wager would net $100, while the over-under for total runs scored is set at eight in the latest Cardinals vs. Nationals odds. You'll want to see the MLB predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model before laying any Cardinals vs. Nationals picks down.

This model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, entered the first full week of the 2019 MLB Playoffs up over $1,100 for $100 players on top-rated MLB picks. The model was especially strong on top-rated money line picks this season, entering the week on a profitable 158-130 run. Anyone who has been following it is way up.

Now the model has dialed in on Nationals vs. Cardinals. We can tell you it's leaning over eight runs, and it also says one side of the money line has all the value. You can only see that pick at SportsLine.

The Cardinals have been one of baseball's most successful franchises through the years and just completed their 12th straight winning season and 19th in 20 years. St. Louis has made 29 playoff appearances, clinching 19 pennants, and is making its 14th NLCS appearance. A big reason the Cardinals have advanced this far is the big inning. St. Louis had five multiple-run innings in its three postseason wins, including a four-run and 10-run outburst which broke Atlanta's back in the NLDS.

Offensively, the Cardinals have been led by left fielder Marcell Ozuna (.429). After a so-so regular season, Ozuna has stepped to the forefront of the St. Louis offense with four multi-hit games and is 9-for-21 with three doubles, two home runs and five RBIs. Also finding his hitting stroke in the playoffs is Tommy Edman (.316), who was 6-for-19 with three doubles, one triple and two RBIs against the Braves.

But just because St. Louis has history on its side, does not mean it is the best value on the Nationals vs. Cardinals money line.

That's because the Nationals have been on fire, winning 14 of their last 17 games, including a Wild Card victory over Milwaukee and the NLDS series triumph over Los Angeles, which included a pair of wins at Dodger Stadium. The Nationals will send right-hander Anibal Sanchez (11-8, 3.85 ERA) to the mound in Game 1. Sanchez had a strong NLDS outing in Game 3, allowing one run over five innings with nine strikeouts. He faced the Cardinals once during the regular season, giving up three runs in five innings in an April matchup.

Washington has the edge over St. Louis in a number of offensive categories, including batting average (.265 to .245), on-base percentage (.342 to .322) and slugging percentage (.454 to .415). The Nationals were 13th in MLB in home runs during the regular season with 231 compared to 210 by the Cardinals. Second baseman Howie Kendrick (.250) powered the Nationals into the NLCS with a grand slam in the top of the 10th inning in the decisive fifth game against the Dodgers. He was 5-for-20 in the series, and drove in five runs.

So who wins Nationals vs. Cardinals? And which side of the money line has all the value? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Nationals vs. Cardinals money line you should be all over, all from the advanced model that has crushed its MLB picks, and find out.

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