After battling the Pittsburgh Pirates all week, it doesn't get any easier for the St. Louis Cardinals this weekend as they open a three-game set in Cincinnati against the Reds on Friday night.
Supporters of St. Louis on the MLB betting lines, however, have seen the Cardinals pay off against the division-rival Reds so far this season (which keeps them atop the MLB power rankings, according to OddsShark.com).
St. Louis and Cincinnati have already met nine times so far in 2013, with the Cardinals managing to pick up the victory in six of those contests on the MLB odds. Totals bettors wagering on those games watched the OVER/UNDER go 4-5.
When the teams played in Cincinnati at the start of June, the Cards outscored the Reds 22-10 and went 2-1.
After playing the Reds this weekend the Cardinals will get to head back home - where they'll take on the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers in a four-game series. St. Louis played three games in Los Angeles back in May - before the Dodgers caught fire - and picked up a pair of victories.
Overall St. Louis is 7-3 in its last 10 games against L.A. [ Find trends and angles in the MLB searchable database ]
The Reds, meanwhile, play two interleague games at home against Oakland next Tuesday and Wednesday. The other NL Central contender, the Pirates, get three games against the Colorado Rockies at home this weekend and then three games against the Miami Marlins at home early next week.
Pittsburgh is 6-4 over its past 10 games against Colorado, and just 1-2 against the lowly Marlins so far this season.
The latest MLB futures at the sportsbooks favor the Cardinals at -175 to win the NL Central crown this season, with the Pirates at +300 and the Reds at +350 on that list. St. Louis is also the 11/4 favorite to win the NL Pennant, with the Pirates at 6/1 and the Reds at 13/2 on those futures.
The Cardinals and Dodgers are the top National League teams on the odds to win the World Series, with both of those clubs listed at a 7/1 line.
Los Angeles will warm up for its series against St. Louis next week by playing four games at Wrigley Field starting on Thursday night, marking the first meeting of the season between the Dodgers and the Cubs.
Last year Los Angeles won four of its six games against Chicago, with the OVER/UNDER going 2-3-1 for totals bettors.
Los Angeles is the -300 favorite over Arizona (+300) to win the NL West at the sportsbooks, and they're at 3/1 on the NL Pennant odds. The Atlanta Braves, with the biggest division lead in baseball, are the -800 favorites to claim the NL East crown.