Brewers vs. Twins Odds, Preview, Prediction: Is There Any Value at Target Field? (August 28)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images. Pictured: Adrian Houser.
- The first-place Brewers look to even their series against the Twins on Saturday night.
- Milwaukee has been in first place for most of the season, while Minnesota has disappointed in the AL Central.
- Tanner McGrath breaks the matchup down below.
Brewers vs. Twins Odds
|Time||Saturday, 7:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday and via PointsBet|
As the Brewers cruise through the National League Central without issue, the Twins are cruising to a high draft pick of their own.
As such, Milwaukee has opened as a pretty hefty favorite on Saturday night, especially with one of their better starters on the mound today.
But the Twins haven’t been playing terrible baseball lately, and perhaps it’s worth taking a shot on them as a big home underdog today. Let’s dig in and find where the best bet will lie in this game.
As mentioned, Milwaukee has nothing to worry about. The Brew Crew has a fairly stable 7 1/2-game lead in the NL Central, while their biggest rival in the division race is fighting for a wild-card spot.
It’s well-known how good this pitching staff is, and Adrian Houser is a key part of the rotation — albeit in the back half. He’s pitched 107 innings over 20 starts this season with a 3.44 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP.
Houser is a sinker-baller who is quite effective at forcing ground balls (60.6% ground-ball rate), and his pitch-to-contact strategy (just 6.88 K/9) is pretty good at forcing weak contact (87.5 mph average exit velocity, 80th percentile among qualified pitchers).
However, it’s clear Houser is due for a bit of regression. He pairs those stats with a 4.35 xERA and 4.28 xFIP. While he doesn’t allow a lot of fly balls, he has issues with keeping them in the park when he does (16.6% HR-to-FB rate), and his low BABIP (.268) should regress to league average (.300), resulting in more hits and runs.
However, Houser needs to just put together five solid innings, and he can pass the baton off to a top-10 bullpen and an underrated offense.
It’s important to note the relative effectiveness of this lineup recently. For a team that couldn’t score a run in the first half of the season, Milwaukee ranks in the top 10 this month in OPS (.767) and wOBA (.329).
When the Brewers are scoring runs at even a league average rate, their pitching staff makes them a World Series favorite. Pair that with an offense that has been getting it done lately, the Brewers are a whopping 20-10 over their last 30 games.
The Twins were one of the best offenses in the league in recent years, but they’ve been merely league average recently.
Over the past 30 days, the Twins have posted an exact league average 100 wRC+. With Byron Buxton hurt and Nelson Cruz plying his trade in Tampa now, Minnesota is relying on guys like Josh Donaldson and Jorge Polanco to produce. Those two have been good, but not good enough to pick up Andrelton Simmons and his 62 OPS+.
The Twins pitching staff has been excruciatingly bad, though. Today, they’re relying on the rookie southpaw Charlie Barnes and his 6.56 ERA. He pairs that with a 7.03 xERA and allowed seven runs on eight hits and five walks in his last outing (five innings pitched against the Yankees).
Barnes is also going to rely on his sinker (44.7% of the time), but he’s forcing just a 37.5% ground-ball rate and allowing an average exit velocity of 91 mph. Plus, that pitch is due for serious regression, as opponents have posted a .371 wOBA but a .417 xwOBA.
Andrew Albers turned back the clock yesterday, tossing 5 1/3 scoreless innings in a 2-0 Twins victory. In fact, the Twins have pulled out victories in three of four games against the Brewers this season, granted their last series happened in the first week of the season.
On Saturday night, I think the Twins are interesting underdogs yet again. Against left-handed pitching on the road this month, the Brewers have posted just a .617 OPS and a .274 wOBA. Their 72 wRC+ in that situation is the seventh worst in MLB through that span.
With that, I don’t feel comfortable taking either side in this one. Milwaukee is a rightful favorite, but I don’t like Houser or how the offense hits lefties enough to pay the -155 juice. I want to bet the Twins, but I would need something closer to +160 to justify them as underdogs.
I think the under may be worth a sprinkle. The total has gone under in four of Minnesota’s last five home games, and has gone under in four of Milwaukee’s last six road games.
Pick: Pass | Twins ML if +160 or better | Lean Under 10