By Ken Boehlke

San Francisco Giants vs. St. Louis Cardinals

Series Price – SF (+120) STL (-140)
World Series – SF (+300) STL (+220)

Series Pick: It’s official now, no matter what the rosters look like, no matter how many times Clayton Kershaw gets the ball, no matter what the score may look like in the 7th inning, the Cardinals will eventually wind up winning. They just finished their four-game series win against a Dodgers team that, on paper, was better than them in every way. But the postseason magic is not just with the Cardinals when it comes to this series. The Giants have lost just one playoff game in their last 11 and are looking to head to their third World Series in five years.

Adam Wainwright will get the ball in the opener and try to right the ship after his miserable start against the Dodgers to open the NLDS. Wainwright allowed six runs on 11 hits while not making it out of the fifth inning. Don’t expect this poor performance to last when he takes the hill in Game 1. Two years ago he struggled mightily in his first playoff start against the Nationals and then rebounded against these very Giants with a dominant seven-inning effort. San Francisco will likely turn to either Yusmeiro Petit or Jake Peavy to start the series instead of pushing the envelope with Madison Bumgarner. No matter who it is, the edge will go to St. Louis in the opener. But as the series continues, the Giants will have the starting pitching advantage in most games.

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Aside from the first game in the Cardinals-Dodgers series, no game had more than three runs from either team. Therefore, this series will come down to a few important aspects. First, timely hitting. Guessing which team is going to be better in that category is like trying to predict the stock market. However, the second key to this series will be the bullpens. The Giants pen has been unbelievable. In the NLDS, San Francisco used its bullpen in 19.1 innings. They allowed just four runs and a ridiculous .136 batting average against. The Cardinals pen was good, but not even close to those numbers.

This series is so close that it would be surprising if it doesn’t go to seven games. In breaking down the series, it really appears as though the Giants are the better team and should be able to hold off this Cardinal team. But there’s just something about St. Louis that makes it almost feel foolish to pick against them again. This being said, the price is just too good for San Francisco. In a series that truly appears to be a tossup, it would be crazy to lay almost a buck and a half when there’s a +120 available. The Cardinals will probably win, but for the sake of gambling, the better play in on San Francisco.

Pick: San Francisco Giants (+120)

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Read more about the 2014 MLB Playoffs.

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