NL Wild Card Game Betting Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Brewers-Nationals
Ron Chenoy, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Josh Hader
- Tuesday night's National League Wild Card Game will feature the Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Nationals. Max Scherzer will start for the Nats, who are big betting favorites (-196 moneyline odds).
- Our MLB betting experts breakdown their favorite picks and predictions for tonight's game, including whether the Brewers have value as an underdog.
Brewers vs. Nationals Wild Card Betting Picks & Odds
Probable starters: Brandon Woodruff (11-3, 3.62 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (11-7, 2.92 ERA)
- Brewers odds: +165
- Nationals odds: -196
- Over/Under: 7.5
- First pitch: 8:08 p.m. ET on TBS
Odds as of Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
The hunt for October gets underway on Tuesday night as the Washington Nationals host the Milwaukee Brewers in the win-or-go-home National League Wild Card Game.
Here are our staff’s favorite bets for the first game of October:
The Bullpen Game has changed the MLB and the Milwaukee Brewers will hope the strategy pays off for them in the NL Wild Card.
Brandon Woodruff is listed as the starter for Craig Counsell’s team but he will be limited to 40 pitches before he hands the game off to one of baseball’s deepest bullpens.
Woodruff and the Brewers will take on Max Scherzer, who has pitched to a 2.92 ERA and 2.88 xFIP in 2019. ‘Mad’ Max is making his eighth start for Washington since returning from a back issue.
Scherzer has not been especially sharp down the stretch, allowing at least three earned runs in four of his five starts in September. Also noteworthy is that is the 35-year-old’s ground-ball rate dipped below his season average in the last month of the season.
This is likely Scherzer’s game to win or lose and manager Dave Martinez will not remove his ace at the first sign of trouble.
As with most MLB playoff games, this will come down to clutch hitting and which bullpen holds up. That being the case, taking an inflated underdog line with the Brewers is worth the risk.
The PICK: Brewers +160
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article listed a Ryan Zimmerman prop in this space. Zimmerman will not start for the Nationals, so the bet will be graded as ‘No Action.’
We have a ton of great props in the MLB Player Prop tool. Betting the unders on player hit props in particular feels like a +EV strategy. For starters, it’s hard to hit in baseball, and typically the pitching in the postseason is better than the pitching during the regular season.
That said, I’m going with a bit of a longer shot today. These guys have touched on Scherzer’s struggles since coming off the IL, and he’s been particularly vulnerable to the HR ball. He’s allowed an average of 1.89 HRs per nine innings over his past seven starts, and the Brewers lineup has plenty of pop against right-handed pitchers.
Keston Hiura may not be a household name yet, but he has the making of a future star. He absolutely feasted on right-handers over the second-half of the season, posting a .359 ISO and 187 wRC+. He also clobbered 12 HRs over that time frame.
His +505 odds to go yard in this contest rank just sixth on the Brewers, which is absolutely ridiculous. I’m willing to roll the dice at that price tag.
The Pick: Keston Hiura to Hit a Home Run +505
I projected the Brewers as a +143 underdog in this game, an implied win probability of 41.2%.
Their current odds (+165) imply a 37.7% win probability, a gap of 3.5% between my projection and the listed odds.
The Brewers are up against it, facing Scherzer, but they are built to play non-traditional baseball as well as any team except for the Rays – with Craig Counsell aggessively shifting his infield defensive and willing to use as many pitchers as necessary in order to get through this game.
Optimizing a group of pitchers together, to get through nine innings of baseball in the most efficient manner, is the newest “moneyball” trend in MLB.
The Brewers can’t throw out a Max Scherzer, but they’ll use four or five pitchers over the first seven innings to try to amalgamate a Scherzer-like performance, before taking the pitching advantage in the late stages with Josh Hader.
The PICK: Milwaukee Brewers +165
At the time of writing, 70% of moneyline tickets are on the Nationals to win tonight. Washington has home-field advantage, the best pitcher and Milwaukee is without MVP Christian Yelich. It makes sense that recreational gamblers would love the Nats.
However, in the MLB Playoffs it has been profitable to bet against the public.
Not only is history on the Brewers side but so is math. Based on -196 odds, the implied probability of the Nationals advancing is 66.2% if you account for the vig. Sean Zerillo’s projections give the Nats a 59.6% chance of winning and Baseball Prospectus is even more bearish than that, giving Washington a 56.2%.
The line inflated is inflated and with the public heavy on Washington smart money should take a chance on the Brewers.
The PICK: Brewers +165