Cardinals Vs Marlins Odds: Flamethrower Hicks Makes First MLB Start

Jordan Hicks #49 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on June 9, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Cardinals won 6-4.
Image Credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Rarely is the word “intriguing” used to describe a matchup between the perennially successful St. Louis Cardinals and the chronically underachieving Miami Marlins. Yet “intriguing” is the operative word for Wednesday’s series finally in South Beach, where the latest Cardinals vs Marlins odds show Miami as a small -136 home favorite.

Wait, aren’t the Cardinals 7-3 and the Marlins 4-7? And hasn’t St. Louis beaten Miami eight straight times? How is that intriguing? And HOW are the Marlins favored?

The answers — all of them — are on the pitching mound.

First, St. Louis right-hander Jordan Hicks, who has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in his big-league career, will make his first major league start. You know, the guy who routinely throws 103-plus mph. Taking on a weak Miami offense in a pitcher-friendly park seems like a cushy spot for Hicks, but the 25-year-old has struggled with command across his first three MLB seasons.

Starting opposite Hicks is Miami right-hander Pablo Lopez, who’s no slouch himself. His 3.07 ERA in 2021 serves as the evidence, as does the fact he’s given up just one run in 10.1 innings this season. No wonder this matchup has a 7.5 total with -115 juice to the Under.

Can the Cardinals continue their mastery of Miami in this expected low-scoring pitchers’ duel? breaks down Cardinals vs Marlins odds and ends in our betting preview for Thursday’s top matchup.

Odds via WynnBet and updated as of 11:40 a.m. ET on April 21.

St. Louis Cardinals (7-3) vs Miami Marlins (4-7)

Pablo Lopez #49 of the Miami Marlins delivers a pitch during the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at loanDepot park on April 15, 2022 in Miami, Florida. All players are wearing the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day.
Image Credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

First Pitch/TV: 6:40 p.m. ET/MLB.TV
Moneyline: Marlins -122/Cardinals +112
Run Line:
Marlins -1.5 (+152)/Cardinals +1.5 (-185)
7.5 (Over -105/Under -115)

Pitching matchup: RHP Jordan Hicks (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.75 WHIP) vs. RHP Pablo Lopez (1-0, 0.87 ERA, 0.97 WHIP)

Season series: St. Louis leads 2-0 after winning the first two games of this three-game series.

Did you know: Since the start of the 2021 season, the Under is 7-0-1 in this rivalry. The reason? The Cardinals have surrendered a total of seven runs during their eight-game winning streak vs. the Fish. St. Louis pitchers have posted three shutouts, allowed a single run three times, and yielded two runs twice.

About the Cardinals

Hits & Misses: St. Louis entered this season with an expected win total of 84. That was second in the NL Central, trailing only the Brewers at 90. The Cards have gotten off to a strong start in their effort to usurp Milwaukee from that preseason perch. They enter Thursday having won four of their last five games, including the first two of this series by a combined score of 7-1. St. Louis sits alone atop the NL Central, a half-game ahead of the Brewers. Currently, the Cardinals rank tied for 4th in runs per game (5.0) and 6th in wRC+. On the mound, they are tied with the Giants for fewest runs allowed in MLB (30) and sport MLB’s best bullpen ERA (1.76).

On the Mound: As a reliever, the flamethrowing Hicks has lit up the radar gun in previous seasons, recording pitch speeds of 105.1 and 104.3 mph. Now the Cardinals will experiment with Hicks as a starter, even though the Houston native is expected to toss no more than 55 pitches Thursday. Hicks has made two appearances as a reliever this season, allowing a total of one hit and two walks while striking out five in four scoreless innings. Whether or not you’re a Cardinals fan, it will be interesting to see how Hicks — who opted out in 2020 and missed most of last season with arm issues — transitions into the starting rotation.

Key injuries: Relief pitcher Alex Reyes continues to sit on the 60-day injured list with a shoulder ailment.

About the Marlins

Hits & Misses: The Marlins started the season by losing four of its first give games, all on the road to the Giants and Angels. Returning home, Miami took three of four against NL East foe Philadelphia before dropping the first two games to St. Louis. The offense has been the biggest issue, as the Marlins rank 20th in MLB in runs scored (3.64) and have the league’s 12th highest strikeout rate (24.3%). Miami has scored three or fewer runs in seven of its 11 games.

On the Mound: Lopez has looked very good across two starts this season, and the Marlins won both of those contests. He’s the sole reason Miami is favored in this game. Lopez gave up one run while striking out six across five innings in the Marlins’ 2-1 victory at San Francisco on April 9. The 26-year-old Venezuelan was even better in his second start Friday, throwing 5.1 scoreless innings and earning a 7-1 win against Philadelphia. Lopez is coming off a sneaky-good 2021 campaign in which he posted a 3.07 ERA with a 10.08 K/9 rate across 102.2 frames. In other words, his pair of strong starts in 2022 shouldn’t be too surprising.

Key injuries: The Marlins are down a few relief pitchers with Dylan Floro (shoulder) and Paul Campbell (elbow) both on the 10-day injured list.

Notable Trends

  • St. Louis is 5-0 in its last five against the NL East
  • St. Louis is 12-3 in its last 15 as an underdog
  • Miami is 1-4 in its last five as a home favorite and last five vs. the NL Central
  • Under for St. Louis is on runs of 5-1 overall and 6-2 on the road
  • Under for Miami is on runs of 7-3 overall and 7-2 vs. the NL Central
  • St. Louis is 38-14 in its last 52 games in Miami
  • Under is 15-5-2 in the last 22 Cardinals-Marlins battles

Marlins vs Cardinals Odds and Action

UPDATE 5:45 P.M. ET: The Marlins opened as a -125 home favorite at WynnBet around midday Wednesday, then jumped to -132 Wednesday evening before dialing back to -125 overnight. Currently, though, WynnBet has Miami pegged at -122, with the Cardinals +112 on the take-back. St. Louis is seeing the majority of the action, with 65% of tickets and 62% of cash on the visitors. The total opened at 8/Under -125 but quickly dipped to 7.5/Over -115. The juice then shifted to -110 both ways before settling at the current price of 7.5/Under -115. Nearly three-quarters of all wagers and almost every dollar (98%) is on the Under.