Daily Bet: Cardinals (+120) at Nationals

The first five Thursday night NFL games of the season stay under the total, both in the first half and in the game. So I finally decide to jump on the Thursday-night under bandwagon in last night’s Steelers-Titans contest and—shocker of shockers—an 82-yard touchdown pass puts the first-half over the total, then a blocked punt in the second half leads to a score that helps push the game over the number. I cannot stress this enough, people: You’d have better luck taking passing lessons from Mark Sanchez than you would following my NFL advice right now.

On the bright side, my baseball opinion has been strong for months, including this week, with
winners on Tuesday (A’s over Tigers) and Wednesday (Orioles-Yankees under). So it’s back to the diamond today as the Cardinals and Nationals meet in a winner-take-all Game 5. Washington certainly has the momentum after Thursday’s walk-off, season-saving 2-1 victory. But the Nationals are incredibly lucky to be in this spot, considering they barely eked out a Game 1 victory (3-2)—St. Louis’ two wins were by a combined score of 20-4 — and considering they’ve left
about 472 runners on base through the first four games. OK, the actual number is 32, but you get the point: Only twice in this series has Washington gotten a key hit (luckily for them, both were game-winners).

Even though Adam Wainwright got a tough-luck no-decision in Game 1 — despite allowing one run and
striking out 10 in 5 2/3 innings — I trust the Cardinals’ right-hander in an elimination game more than I do Nats lefty Gio Gonzalez. The main reason? Wainwright has experience in such pressure-packed playoff situations; Gonzaelz does not (in his first postseason start in Game 1, Gonzalez walked seven in five innings). Finally, the Nats have won back-to-back games just twice since Sept. 12, and haven’t beaten the Redbirds in consecutive contests since winning the first two games of the season series at the end of August.

Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Thursday’s Result: Steelers-Titans UNDER 21½, first half (Loss); Steelers-Titans
UNDER 43½, game (Loss)

Record: 55-48