The Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals both pulled off upsets in the National League Division Series to reach the 2019 NLCS. Game 1 is set for Friday night in St. Louis with the home team favored to take an early series lead.

The Cardinals have -120 betting odds in Game 1, according to OddsShark. The Nationals are +110 underdogs, coming off their big comeback win against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The over/under is eight.

Neither team’s ace will take the mound Friday night. Washington won’t even start one of their top three pitchers.

Anibal Sanchez gets the ball for the wild-card team with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin all having been used in the final two games of the NLCS. Miles Mikolas will be St. Louis’ Game 1 starter for the second straight series.

Sanchez pitched well in Game 3 against the Dodgers, allowing just one run and six baserunners to go along with nine strikeouts. Washington’s bullpen blew the lead so he didn’t pick up the win. The veteran had a 3.85 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP with 134 strikeouts in 166 regular-season innings.

The Cardinals scored three runs off Sanchez in five innings on April 30. It was the right-hander’s only start against St. Louis this season. Hitters on the Cardinals’ roster are hitting .289/.354/.444 against Sanchez in 90 career at-bats.

Mikolas had a similar NLDS outing to Sanchez, surrendering a run in five innings to the Atlanta Braves. He had an up-and-down season with a 4.16 ERA, but he’s allowed three runs or fewer in seven straight starts.

One of those starts came against the Nationals. Mikolas gave up three runs and eight hits in six innings at home to Washington in a loss on Sept. 17. In May, the 31-year-old held the Nationals to one run in six innings of work.

Miles Mikolas St. Louis Cardinals
Miles Mikolas #39 of the St. Louis Cardinals delivers the pitch against the Atlanta Braves during the tenth inning in game four of the National League Division Series at Busch Stadium on October 07, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Washington’s top hitters have had tons of success against Mikolas. Howie Kendrick has eight hits in 11 at-bats with a home run. Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto are a combined 9-17 off the Cardinals’ right-hander.

Mikolas didn’t exit his only NLDS start with a lead, but the Cardinals came back against a bad Braves’ bullpen. St. Louis beat Atlanta twice with late-game rallies before ending Game 5 early with a 10-run first inning.

Sanchez didn’t pick up an NLDS victory because Washington’s bullpen couldn’t hold the lead. Don’t expect one of the Nationals’ starters to pitch a late inning this early in the series.

Playing at home with a better set of relievers, the Cardinals are the best bet to take Game 1.

Game 1 Prediction: St. Louis over Washington, 5-4