National League Division Series Game 1: St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers

Date/Time: October 3, 6:37 p.m. ET

TV: FOX Sports 1

MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook

Probable Starters: STL: Adam Wainwright (0-0, 0.00) v. LAD: Clayton Kershaw (0-0, 0.00)

Moneyline: Los Angeles -190

Total: 5.5

Unless Adam Wainwright and Clayton Kershaw meet again in Game 4 or 5 of this series, there may not be a better pitching matchup during the entire 2014 playoffs. Two of the game’s elites face off in a crucial game one from Chavez Ravine when the Los Angeles Dodgers host the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals are in the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons and the Dodgers are in for the second straight season.

Adam Wainwright has a tough task in this game, as he faces off against the NL Cy Young Award winner and potential NL MVP. The thing is, Wainwright was pretty good in his own right. The Cardinals ace was 20-9 with a career-best 2.38 ERA. His strikeout rate dropped and his incredible walk rate from 2013 normalized to mirror his career averages, but his command was impeccable. Wainwright allowed just 10 home runs over 227 innings. Wainwright is no stranger to the postseason, with 18 career appearances and nine starts. In the nine starts, the Cardinals are just 4-5, but Wainwright has a 2.95 ERA over 58 innings.

Clayton Kershaw will add some hardware to his collection this offseason with another Cy Young Award and possibly an MVP trophy as well. But, it’s the World Series ring that he really wants. Kershaw was brilliant this season with a 21-3 record and a 1.77 ERA. In 27 starts, Kershaw gave up more than three runs one time. He gave up one run or less in 17 of his 27 starts. Amazingly, Kershaw has struggled in his playoff appearances. Kershaw has a 4.23 ERA in 38.1 playoff innings. That includes a few relief appearances. In his six starts, he has allowed 18 runs, but seven of them came in one start against the Cardinals in last year’s NLCS.

Wainwright is 4-5 with a 2.90 ERA in his career against the Dodgers. That covers 77.2 innings with 11 starts and three relief appearances. He was a tough luck loser in his lone start against them in 2014 with eight innings of one-run ball. The Cardinals are 23-9 in Wainwright’s 32 starts for a profit of more than 10 units.

Kershaw is 5-5 with a 3.46 ERA in 14 career starts against the Cardinals. This season, Kershaw made two starts against the Cardinals and struck out 21 batters in 14 innings with a 1.93 ERA. The Dodgers are a league-best 23-4 in Kershaw’s 27 starts for a profit of 15.82 units.

Free MLB Pick: St Louis Cardinals

Clayton Kershaw is elite, but Adam Wainwright is one of the few pitchers whose names can be mentioned in the same sentence as Kershaw’s. This is a big price to pay on Kershaw, so the value is on Wainwright. Wainwright only needs to win this game one out of every three times to break even on the line and that seems reasonable. The Dodgers could very well win, but laying two dollars in the playoffs with as even of a pitching matchup as one can get against Kershaw seems a bit extreme.