Sports bettors looking for something to do on Saturday night might have to focus a lot on the baseball card. UFC 262 is going on, but most of the NBA games are in the afternoon and there is only one night game in the NHL.

Fortunately, there are a few night games in MLB, including the matchup between the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Diego Padres. It will be Adam Wainwright for the Redbirds and Chris Paddack for the Friars at Petco Park in the middle game of this weekend set. Paddack and the host Padres are in the -130 range with a total of 7 at BetUS Sportsbook.

St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals have been playing quite a bit better than expected, especially on offense this season. Despite the one-run loss on Friday in a 5-4 decision, the Cardinals had some decent swings against Joe Musgrove and the Padres bullpen. St. Louis hasn’t had a lot of batted ball luck with a .274 BABIP, but has made a lot more hard contact than previous seasons.

If nothing else, it provides some hope that the Cardinals will start swinging the bats a little bit better as the season goes along. Their 95 wRC+ is pretty much on par with where they have been the last few seasons, but the influx of hard contact should eventually pay dividends.

St. Louis may not have the best offensive stats, but the Cardinals are a team that has done an excellent job defensively this season. One of the benefactors has been Adam Wainwright. Waino has a 3.80 ERA with a 4.02 FIP. His 77.3% LOB% has allowed him to keep that ERA under 4 and that has a lot to do with how the defense has played behind him, especially as more of a pitch-to-contact guy.

Wainwright actually has a few more strikeouts this season compared to previous seasons, but nobody will ever mistake him for being a strikeout guy with a cutter/curve combo designed to induce ground balls and weaker contact. At least Wainwright has a pretty decent bullpen behind him. The Cardinals pen has issued a lot of walks, but still heads into this game with an ERA well under 4 and a FIP well under as well.

San Diego Padres

Chris Paddack is always such a wild card in his starts because he has a really limited arsenal. Paddack is mostly a fastball/changeup guy and it seems as though the Padres have made a concerted effort to focus on optimizing those two pitches instead of working with him on something new.

Paddack has a 4.78 ERA, but also boasts a 3.08 FIP, so positive regression should be coming sooner rather than later for him. A LOB% in the low 50s is the reason why his ERA is so much higher than his FIP. Paddack has really strong K/BB numbers, but has had problems getting out of innings, so he’s run up that ERA a little bit.

The Padres offense is a massive underachiever right now. San Diego has one of the highest walk rates in baseball with a really low strikeout rate, but has a .276 BABIP, so balls in play have not found enough holes, despite a lot of hard contact. San Diego has been one of the unluckiest teams on high-velocity contact and once those fortunes normalize, this is a team ready to go on a big run.

San Diego’s bullpen has posted a 2.73 ERA with a 3.63 FIP even though there have been some injuries to relievers and depth guys that would be multi-inning relievers at the MLB level. A lot of credit goes to the guys that have been able to consistently pitch well late in games, especially with the lower margin for error with the San Diego offensive struggles.

Cardinals vs. Padres Free Pick

The Padres are a team to bet on right now. You should be buying stock in them, as a lot of their underlying metrics suggest much better fortunes sooner rather than later for this team. While Wainwright could very well have a higher ceiling than Paddack, there are a lot of compelling reasons for betting on the Padres and once they really get it going, you won’t see lines like this for long.

Pick: San Diego Padres