Zerillo’s Brewers vs. Nationals Live Betting Guide: Prices, Situations to Target in NL Wild Card

Zerillo’s Brewers vs. Nationals Live Betting Guide: Prices, Situations to Target in NL Wild Card article feature image

Michael McLoone, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Craig Counsell

  • The Milwaukee Brewers are +155 underdogs against the Washington Nationals in tonight's National League Wild Card Game.
  • Sean Zerillo shares his analysis and strategy for live-betting opportunities using statistical trends about Milwaukee's bullpen and Nats' starter Max Scherzer.

Brewers vs. Nationals Wild Card Betting Odds, Live Betting Strategy

Probable starters: Brandon Woodruff (11-3, 3.62 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (11-7, 2.92 ERA)

  • Brewers odds: +165
  • Nationals odds: -195
  • Over/Under:  7.5
  • First pitch:  8:08 p.m. ET on TBS

Odds as Tuesday afternoon. Check out PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).

When considering how you should live bet on a baseball game, you should first predict how you see the game playing out in advance. And while it is impossible to script out a baseball game, there are stats, trends and other data points (i.e. managerial tendencies) that can help you identify a +EV betting opportunity in-game.

On Tuesday, Max Scherzer faces Brandon Woodruff and the Brewers in the NL Wild Card game, and you can probably assume that the Nationals will be looking to get at least six innings from Mad Max (averaging 6.37 IP per start in 2019).

Meanwhile, the Brewers seem likely to pitch Woodruff for two innings, before switching to a combination of Jordan Lyles, Brent Suter, Drew Pomeranz and Josh Hader.

The pitching changes might occur when a pitcher turns over the Nationals lineup, or they could come after the Brewers bat through the pitcher’s spot in their order.

This season, Craig Counsell pinch-hit for the pitcher spot more frequently than any manager except for Joe Maddon, and I would expect him to take advantage of every offensive out, and every player on his bench.

The Brewers will look to place this game in a close/save situation for closer Josh Hader, who led all of baseball with a 47.8% strikeout rate, and a 22.7% swinging-strike rate in 2019.

Without Christian Yelich, Hader is the key cog on Milwaukee’s roster and the pitcher whom I would look to build your live betting strategy around for tonight.

If you see Hader warming up in the bullpen:

  • Preparing to pitch the eighth inning or later, bet the live under if the listed total is one run or higher than the current score.
  • With a tie game or a Milwaukee lead, bet the Brewers moneyline.
  • With a Nationals lead, bet the Brewers game spread

Typically, I don’t lay juice higher than -160 on any baseball bet, which, if you only bet full game moneylines, you would need the teams you bet on to win at a 100-win pace in order to break even.

Generally, -160 is my natural cutoff point – but if the Brewers hold the lead in the eighth inning with Hader on the mound, I would increase the cutoff to -250. In the ninth inning, I would go as high as -600.

In a tie game, with Hader about to pitch in the late stages, I would take any plus-money price on Milwaukee.

That being said, the Brewers could jump out to an early lead on Scherzer, who has posted a 4.74 ERA (3.74 FIP, 3.05 xFIP) over his past seven starts since missing time with back and shoulder ailments.

In that case, I wouldn’t be particularly interested in betting on the Nationals, as the Brewers have a significant bullpen edge. But any live price over +200 on Washington, down one run in the seventh inning or earlier, is worth a long look.

As for the Brewers, I would wait until the later stages (or, I should say, the Hader stages) of the game to consider playing the game live.

Hader’s dominance is one of the more natural things in baseball to predict. He posted a 1.42 ERA (1.85 FIP, 2.15 xFIP) over his final 12 appearances (19 innings) this season, after a stretch where he allowed runs in six of seven games in late July and early August.

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