Cardinals vs Padres Picks and Predictions: Musgrove Adds to St. Louis' Offensive Lull

The St. Louis Cardinals' bats have evaporated in the first two games of this series vs. the San Diego Padres. With hometown hurler Joe Musgrove taking the hill for the Friars, we like that trend to continue in our MLB betting picks.

Phil Naessens - Betting Analyst at Covers.com
Phil Naessens • Betting Analyst
Sep 22, 2022 • 09:01 ET • 4 min read
Joe Musgrove San Diego Padres MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 MLB regular season is heading towards the home stretch, and we have two teams looking for postseason gold when the St. Louis Cardinals meet the San Diego Padres for their series finale.

St. Louis has an eight-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central but has failed to score a run in the first two games of this series. Meanwhile, San Diego is hunting for a wild card and has a half-game lead over Philadelphia and a two-game lead over the Brewers. 

Can San Diego keep its five-game winning streak alive? Find out in our free MLB picks and predictions for Cardinals vs. Padres on September 22.

Cardinals vs Padres best odds

Cardinals vs Padres picks and predictions

Joe Musgrove is solid, and he’ll be enough to win the first-five innings over the Cardinals.

Musgrove averages just under nine strikeouts per nine frames, and while on paper the Cardinals have the third-lowest K-rate in the league, this current collection of Cards has struck out 29 times over its last 101 at-bats. 

The Padres hurler is hard to beat when he’s racking up the punch outs and if he gets anywhere near 28%, he will dominate St. Louis over the 1st five innings.

Musgrove is a particularly tough nut to crack through the first nine batters, posting a 1.41 ERA. And if he gets cooking, he continues to shine the second time through the order with a 2.98 xFIP. 

Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty is recovering from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for most of this season. He’s likely been slapped around harder these past three starts than at any time in his professional career, and you don’t know from one day to the next what we’re going to see.

Remember when Flaherty was a Cy Young candidate? Well, he’s coughed up seven earned runs over his past 10 frames with five strikeouts and a pair of bombs. That’s not a good thing going into a matchup with the Padres. 

What we do know is San Diego has a potent lineup, and they are on fire after scuffling a bit to close out August and open September. The Padres bats are scoring runs and have received outstanding production from rookie outfielder Jose Azocar. The rook leads the Padres with a fantastic 168 wRC+ over 30 plate appearances in September.

Finally, the Padres are 8-4 this season when Musgrove makes the start as the home favorite, and I like the plus money of the F5 run line.

My best bet: Padres first five innings run line -0.5 (+105 at BetMGM)

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Cardinals vs Padres betting preview

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Moneyline analysis Over/Under analysis Trend to know Game info Injuries Weather

Moneyline analysis

The Padres' playoff hopes are hanging on by the slimmest of margins, and they need every win they can snatch. Otherwise, they’ll be watching the postseason from their sofas and blaming it all on Fernando Tatis Jr.

St. Louis isn’t in that same spot. They have a large lead over the Brewers, and with a dozen games or so remaining on their slate, they might not be as motivated as the Padres are. 

That, and being a mediocre away side barely winning 50% of their road games while facing a pitcher they haven’t had much success against during their careers isn't exactly a recipe for success.

I think -135 for Musgrove and the Friars is okay, but I like the chances of the righty winning the F5 much better at a better price.

Over/Under analysis

The 7.5 total doesn’t interest me much at all. It's hard to know what Flarehty will do and, let's face it, the Padres bullpen can be less than dependable.

The Cardinals bats have been silent this series and as we mentioned before, they don’t win as often on the road as they do at Busch Stadium, which is surprising as they score an average of 4.80 runs per game as the away side. Cards pitchers have a collective 3.29 ERA (8th in MLB) at home and that jumps up to 4.31 on the road (21st).

The Over is 4-1-0 over Musgrove’s last five starts as the favorite at Petco and the Padres plate an average of 4.93 of support for him per game. Conversely, the Over is 13-19-1 when St. Louis is the away underdog. I’ll pass.

Betting trend to know

The Cardinals are 0-7 in the last 7 meetings in San Diego. Find more MLB betting trends for Cardinals vs. Padres

Cardinals vs Padres game info

Location: Petco Park, San Diego, CA
Date: Thursday, September 22, 2022
First pitch: 4:10 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports

Starting pitchers

Jack Flaherty (0-1, 5.09 ERA): Over his past three starts, the Cardinals have gradually stretched Flaherty out to five innings with mixed results. He allowed eight earned runs with 11 strikeouts over 15 frames, and St. Louis is 2-1 in those contests.  

Joe Musgrove (10-7, 3.16 ERA): Musgrove has allowed 13 earned runs with 29 whiffs over his previous 26 frames. He owns a solid 3.26 xERA and 3.44 xFIP so far on the year. 

Key injuries

Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Weather

Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.

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