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MLB Odds, Pick, Prediction for Brewers vs. Nationals: Betting Preview for Brandon Woodruff vs. Max Scherzer (Sunday, May 30)

MLB Odds, Pick, Prediction for Brewers vs. Nationals: Betting Preview for Brandon Woodruff vs. Max Scherzer (Sunday, May 30) article feature image

Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff.

  • Two aces square off on Sunday in D.C. when Brandon Woodruff starts opposite Max Scherzer.
  • The Brewers are going for a series sweep after taking both ends of a Saturday doubleheader.
  • Matthew Trebby breaks down the matchup below and delivers his best bet for the game.

Brewers vs. Nationals Odds

Brewers Odds +105
Nationals Odds -125
Over/Under 6.5
Time Sunday, 1:05 p.m. ET
Odds as of Sunday morning via PointsBet.

You want a pitchers’ duel? You got it on Sunday in Washington, D.C.

Brandon Woodruff starts for Milwaukee opposite former Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, who is enjoying a bounce-back campaign in 2021 for Washington. Meanwhile, Woodruff has established himself among the league’s elite arms thanks to a stellar beginning to the season.

Let’s dig in here to see where the betting value lies in this contest.

Woodruff Proving He Belongs in Cy Young Discussion

Woodruff has been sensational this season, according to every single metric.

After breaking out as a true ace last season, Woodruff has put himself in contention for the National League Cy Young Award. He has a 1.41 ERA, although his 2.35 xERA and 2.81 xFIP indicate that might rise a bit. He is also striking out 10.27 batters per nine innings, walking just 1.97 and allowing a .194 BABIP.

He’s a stud, averaging about 6 1/3 innings per start, although he’s pitched at least seven in each of his last three outings. After allowing three runs in four innings on Opening Day, his ERA is 1.05 this season.

Milwaukee is 7-3 with him on the mound, and run support has been an issue. The Brewers have scored nine combined runs over Woodruff’s last four starts. All of those have come in two games, which were both wins.

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Milwaukee was above only the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates in terms of OPS with runners in scoring position entering Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader, but the sixth inning offered some form of hope. The Brewers scored four runs and went 2 for 3 with runners in scoring position.

The hits came from Kolten Wong and Willy Adames, who are the top of the order and could thrive with the lChristian Yelich and Avisail Garcia behind them.

Wong does what not many in the Brewers’ lineup do well: make contact. Milwaukee’s contact rate is among the lowest in baseball, which makes the former St. Louis Cardinals second baseman an ideal fit atop this lineup.

Adames was open about his dislike for hitting at Tropicana Field, and his career splits show it in a big way. Adames entered Saturday with a career .628 OPS at home, compared to an .864 rate on the road.

There’s reason for optimism with this Brewers lineup, although this game might not be the time it comes together.

Scherzer Returns to Elite Form

So far, Scherzer has put a subpar (by his standards) 2020 behind him.

The Nationals’ ace registered a 3.74 ERA last season in 12 starts, his highest since 2012 in Detroit. Scherzer is averaging about 6 1/3 innings per start this season and thriving. His 2.27 ERA is the lowest of his career, and his 2.77 xERA and 3.06 xFIP indicate he’s been very close to his best.

The biggest difference in Scherzer’s numbers are his walks. His 3.07 free passes per nine innings in 2020 were his most since 2010. That number is down to 1.85 this year. Also of note, his BABIP against this year is .242 compared to .355 in 2020.

Fewer walks and hits generally are a recipe for success in the majors.

Offensively, Washington ranks 14th in MLB in OPS, but there is potential for much more. That reason is Juan Soto, whose on-base percentage is higher than his slugging. It’s a matter of time until Soto finds his power stroke, at which point the Nationals become a much harder out for opposing pitchers.

Trea Turner has been great in the leadoff spot ahead of Soto, building off what appeared to be a breakout 2020 season at the plate in terms of power. Kyle Schwarber has also provided some impressive pop in the cleanup spot, while Josh Bell has showed some signs of life recently.

Brewers-Nationals Pick

Woodruff has been an under machine and hasn’t faced off against Scherzer.

Seven of Woodruff’s 10 starts have gone under this 6.5 runs total. While I do see reason for optimism with Milwaukee’s offense, it’s likely to come against a pitcher who isn’t a future Hall of Famer.

I like Milwaukee to win the game, as well, and would consider playing that as long as it’s a plus number, but the biggest value for me is the total.

Pick: Under 6.5 Runs

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