St. Louis Cardinals Odds: MLB Win Totals, Projections, Possible Bets

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Written By Mo Nuwwarah | Last Updated
Cardinals odds

Welcome to TheLines.com’s 2024 Spring Training preview of MLB odds. We’ll preview every team’s 2024 season with a focus on MLB win totals and World Series odds. We’ll evaluate each team’s roster and see if there are any wagers worth considering. Today, we’ll look at St. Louis Cardinals odds. Click this link to catch up on our other 2024 MLB betting previews.

After years of metronome-like consistency as an above-average but not elite team, the Cardinals experienced a shocking fall in 2023 to 71 wins and a basement finish. They opted to run it back with the same lineup for this year, simply subbing in some budget-acquisition arms and hoping for rebound seasons.

Will St. Louis return to its competitive ways, or are they set up for failure once more?

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Cardinals Odds: An Overview And What The Projections Say

First, let’s compare the market on Cardinals odds to publicly available projections from FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus.

  • 2023 wins: 71
  • Market wins: /
  • FanGraphs wins: 83.7
  • Baseball Prospectus wins: 84.3

The Cardinals were quite unlucky last year, and everyone foresees a large bounce-back campaign. In fact, despite the last-place finish, the Cards are the consensus favorites to win the division.

The franchise isn’t known for splashy free-agent moves. True to form, they opted for low-cost acquisitions while banking on internal development. Kyle Gibson and Lance Lynn likely didn’t grace many fans’ wish lists, although Sonny Gray should provide some real improvement to a pitching staff that struggled through a weak season.

Evaluating The Cardinals Roster

Bats And Defense

On paper, the Cardinals had a rather fearsome lineup last season. In practice, they finished with a league-average output, quite a disappointment given the quality of the names on the card.

Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, and Willson Contreras are back to lead the kids into battle. Contreras crushed the ball last year (.373 xwOBA), but his poor framing was a serious drag. Heading into his age-32 season with plenty of wear on the tires, that isn’t likely to reverse. The projections expect a bounce back from Arenado, but at age 36, the finish line may be in sight for Goldschmidt, with Cooperstown likely to follow.

The key to pushing this unit forward will come from the young bats. St. Louis has accumulated an impressive collection of them. Brendan Donovan, Nolan Gorman, Alec Burleson, Jordan Walker, Dylan Carlson, and Masyn Winn are all well on the right side of 30.

The problem is that all of those guys look deficient on one side of the ball. The Cardinals simply don’t have many complete players. Gorman, Burleson, Donovan, and especially Walker are weak on defense. Walker put up worst-in-class numbers there. Winn’s bat doesn’t look ready, while Carlson hasn’t hit at an above-average level since 2021, though the projections are still bought in.

Tommy Edman and Lars Nootbaar, two of the more complete players on the roster, are slated to start the season on the IL.

There’s a lot of potential here but also a lot of uncertainty. The glovework in particular looks like it will be a weak point again, with Arenado, Carlson/Edman, and Winn the only plus performers.

Pitching

Pitching was a notable issue (one of many) for the Cardinals last season. The only teams with worse SIERA marks were Washington, Colorado, and Oakland. SIERA is a decent predictor of future ERA, so needless to say, that’s not company the Cards want to keep.

Given the names slated to start in the rotation, 2024 isn’t looking a whole lot better. If Miles Mikolas, Lance Lynn, Kyle Gibson, and Steven Matz aren’t getting you excited, well, you probably aren’t the only one. That’s basically a group of No. 4 starters, and Matz is the youngster of the group (by a lot) heading into his age-33 campaign. In other words, all have probably left their best days well behind them.

Gray should bring some stability even if he isn’t a true ace, but he’s starting the season on the IL as well with a hamstring ailment.

There are a couple of tantalizing prospects in Tink Hence and Tekoah Roby, but 2025 looks like a more realistic target for both. Roby is the closer of the two after he pitched well in about 50 Double-A innings last season.

The bullpen should be solid, but much rides on the health of closer Ryan Helsley. He’s an elite option but was limited to 33 appearances last season. Everyone else is quite middling. If Helsley can’t stay upright, this unit could wind up as a weak point.

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Possible Bets On Cardinals Odds

I’m low on the Cardinals for 2024. Maybe I’m just scarred by my midseason belief that the Cards would turn things around in 2023. But I’m surprised by how much belief there is in this team, considering I see quite a bit of downside.

Yes, the lineup looks strong, but the defense still has question marks.

And that pitching. Oh boy, that pitching is an eyesore. When Miles Mikolas is slated to start the season as the No. 1, you’re looking at a seriously deficient group. Kyle Gibson has been cranking out league-average innings for more than a decade, but that’s the ceiling here heading to his age-36 season. I understand that I am buying low on Lance Lynn, but again, the best case looks like average innings. Steven Matz simply cannot be relied upon.

And the relief corps is heavily reliant on one guy. Given the built-in inconsistencies of relief pitching, that’s scary.

The only way I see the Cardinals enjoying real contention is if multiple pitching prospects make the jump and succeed. That’s a tough way to live, given the attrition rates and uncertainty there. It wasn’t one of my bigger plays, but I took some Under 85.5 wins.

Best of luck if you decide to bet on the Cardinals’ odds this spring.

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