MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Cardinals vs. Brewers Betting Preview (April 8)

MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Cardinals vs. Brewers Betting Preview (April 8) article feature image

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images. Pictured: Adam Wainwright (50).

  • The Brewers are favored over the Cardinals on Thursday afternoon.
  • Corbin Burnes was brilliant for Milwaukee in his first outing, but the Brewers have given their pitchers almost no support through the first week of the season.
  • Michael Arinze gives his Cardinals vs. Brewers pick and preview below.

MLB Odds: Brewers vs. Cardinals

Brewers Odds-139
Cardinals Odds+120
Over/Under7.5 (-117/-105)
Time4:15 p.m. ET
Odds as of Thursday morning and via DraftKings.

After a six-game road trip, the Cardinals will finally return to St. Louis for their first home game of the season. They're riding a three-game winning streak and are 4-2 on the season.

Milwaukee will send Corbin Burnes to the mound. He dominated in his first start against the Twins despite taking the loss, posting 11 strikeouts with just one hit and one run allowed.

Burnes will be opposed by Adam Wainwright, who will try to bounce back from a rough start where he allowed six earned runs in 2 2/3 innings of work.

Let's jump right into this matchup, as I'll look to draw your attention to a few things that I've identified that could work in Wainwright's favor.

Can Brewers' Corbin Burnes Finally Figure Out the Cardinals?

Burnes began his career as a reliever, but last year he made nine starts in 12 appearances. He's now made 14 starts in his career and has an overall record of 12-7 with a 4.35 ERA. One team Burnes hasn't really been able to figure out is the St. Louis Cardinals. He was 0-1 with a 4.32 ERA in two starts against them last season, and in seven career appearances against them, he's 1-2 with a 6.41 ERA.

The Cardinals' current lineup has 45 at-bats against Burnes. They're hitting .356 against him with a .493 wOBA and a .400 ISO. That includes five home runs.

There's no question that the Cardinals' hitters see the ball well against Burnes. If we use FanGraphs to look at his performance last season, which to date is the best of his career, we'll find that Burnes throws his sinker (30.8%) more than any other pitch in his arsenal.

And if we also use last year's pitch value standard to assess the Cardinals, we'll find that the pitch they were most successful against was the sinker (5.2 runs above average).

Burnes may need to consider using more of his secondary pitches to succeed against the Cardinals this time around.

Brewers Offense Among Worst in the League So Far

There's something about the Brewers that seems to bring out the best in Adam Wainwright. He's 18-11 with a 2.50 ERA when facing them. And in two starts last year, he was 1-1 with a 3.29 ERA.

Milwaukee's current lineup has 83 at-bats against Wainwright and a .289 AVG / .352 OBP / .446 SLG slash line.

While you may be somewhat indifferent to those numbers, one look at their below-average .157 ISO should change your mind. That suggests to me that they haven't had success barreling up Wainwright's pitches.

While we're still working off a small sample size, Milwaukee hasn't done much through six games against any pitcher. Their .087 ISO actually puts them 28th in the league. They're also last in wOBA (.227) and wRC+ (41).

I'd expect to see plenty of curveballs thrown by Wainwright on Thursday.

Last year it was not only his most used pitch (38.3%) but also his best pitch as it was 11 runs above average, according to Pitch Info data.

And if we look at how the Brewers have fared against the pitch this season, they're -1.9 runs below average.

Brewers-Cardinals Pick

Where you want to be careful backing Wainwright is when he's facing teams that are proficient in hitting the curveball. Milwaukee is not that team. Since it has now evolved into his primary pitch, we don't need to be as concerned about any loss in velocity for the 39-year-old as we would with other pitchers.

With the analysis wrapped up, I'll share two situational trends which also favor the Cardinals in this matchup:

  • The Cardinals are 24-11 for +11.71 units in Wainwright's next start that follows one in which he allowed six runs or more.
  • A win streak of three is a good number for the Cardinals. Going back to the 2015 season, St. Lous is 40-24 with a 12.3% ROI in the fourth game after a three game win streak.

The fact that we're catching Wainwright as an underdog here is a bit of an overreaction to his last outing.

DraftKings has the best Cardinals price on the board at +120, and that's certainly good enough to get me to the window.

Pick: Cardinals (+120)

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