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Brewers vs. Pirates Odds, Picks: Bet the Under in Tuesday’s NL Central Showdown

Brewers vs. Pirates Odds, Picks: Bet the Under in Tuesday’s NL Central Showdown article feature image
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Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Brandon Woodruff (Brewers)

  • The Brewers travel to Pittsburgh to open a three-game set vs. the Pirates on Tuesday.
  • Both teams have struggled offensively while they also maintain solid bullpens this season.
  • D.J. James breaks down the matchup and explains why the value lies on the total.

Brewers vs. Pirates Odds

Brewers Odds -164
Pirates Odds +151
Over/Under 7.5 (-115 / -105)
Time 6:35 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Brandon Woodruff and Mitch Keller will face off for the second time in the last two weeks, as the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates duel.

After allowing seven earned runs against the Cubs in his opening outing, Woodruff has picked it up in his last two starts. In his start against the Pirates, he struck out nine in six innings while allowing only three total baserunners.

Keller is more stable. He only allowed a run in that start against the Brew Crew over 5 1/3 strong innings. Not only did the last start indicate how this one would go, but neither of these teams can hit righties well this season.

The under is the play to take.

Expect Limited Offensive Production From Brewers

Woodruff is back to having more elite peripherals. He now ranks in the 79th percentile of MLB in Average Exit Velocity at 86.1 MPH. This is almost exactly where he was over the last three seasons. He also holds a 3.54 xERA.

When facing righties, the Pirates only have two hitters with a xwOBA over .335 on this young season: Ben Gamel and Ke’Bryan Hayes. Bryan Reynolds is not necessarily bad, either, but there is a significant drop-off after him.

However, the Pirates do have five hitters averaging over 90 MPH on hit balls from righties. That said, since Woodruff will not give up hard hits often, this should not matter.

Milwaukee has a 3.44 xFIP on the season. This ranks ninth in the MLB. Headlined by Josh Hader, Brad Boxberger and Devin Williams, the Brewers have one of the best back-ends of the bullpen in the league.

The Pirates put up two earned on Brent Suter last time out, but they will not be able to hit the usual suspects. After all, this Brewers’ bullpen has seven pitchers with a sub-4.00 xFIP on the season.

On the offensive side, the Brewers rank in the bottom half of the league in Average Exit Velocity. Typically, if a team is hitting the ball hard — even if it’s unlucky — the luck will eventually turn around.

There is a reason why the Brewers also rank in the bottom half of the league with a .325 xwOBA as a unit. Keller has been even more successful than Woodruff in terms of not allowing hard contact, so do not expect the Brewers to have much success at the plate.

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Pirates’ Bullpen Can Succeed

Building off of that, Keller — like Woodruff — throws around 96 MPH. He utilizes his four-seamer over 55% of the time.

On 95+ MPH right-handed fastballs, only Rowdy Tellez, Christian Yelich, Victor Caratini and Jace Peterson have shown any expected success this season (.300 xwOBA+).

This means the lower part of Milwaukee’s order will struggle with Keller, once again. Keller did only allow one earned run in his last outing against the Brewers, anyways.

The Pittsburgh bullpen has some arms this season, unlike in year’s past. The Pirates have four arms on the active roster with a sub-3.00 xFIP: David Bednar, Wil Crowe, Anthony Banda and Chris Stratton. All of these bullpen arms have a K/9 of 9+, too.

Milwaukee does not chase all that often as a team, but it might struggle since three of the four bullpen arms mentioned above are righties.

Brewers-Pirates Pick

Neither of these teams can hit the ball well, especially against right-handers. Even if the season is young, there is enough of a sample size to prove this as true — they both had similar issues last season.

Keller and Woodruff should have similarly successful outings in this game.

Eyeing the Pirates might be good on the moneyline, but the under is much more in play. Take the under at 7.5, and play it to 7.

Keller has an elite peripheral profile, and his last outing is an indication of future success this season. Woodruff, as everyone knows, is an established arm.

Pick: Under 7.5 (-115) | play to 7 (-110)

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