Brewers vs. Cardinals Odds, Prediction, Preview: The Underdog To Bet Friday Night (Sept. 3)
Justin Berl/Getty Images. Pictured: Adam Wainwright.
- The Cardinals look to continue their postseason push on Friday night against the Brewers.
- The series opener features a great pitching matchup, with Adam Wainwright starting opposite Freddy Peralta.
- MLB betting analyst Tanner McGrath breaks down the matchup and makes his pick below.
Cardinals vs. Brewers Odds
|Time||Friday, 8:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds.|
The Cardinals and Brewers are making the National League Central seem like one of the strongest divisions in baseball right now.
The Brewers just took two of three from the Giants and upped their record to 29 games over .500, while the Cardinals took two of three from the Reds and are now just 2 1/2 games back in the race for the second NL wild-card spot.
The two teams have had their ups and downs this season, particularly at the plate, but they’re playing their best baseball at the right time as we enter September.
I’m wildly excited for this series opener, as we’re getting an elite pitching matchup between old man Adam Wainwright and Freddy Peralta. So as these two prepare to square off, let’s dive into who’s got the edge on Friday night.
St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis had such high hopes entering the season but has largely disappointed. It’s been a combination of injuries to the pitching staff and underwhelming offensive performance.
While they’re still dealing with the former, the Cardinals have seemed to solve their issues. Over the past 30 days, they have posted top-10 marks in OPS (.781) and wOBA (.337) while ranking sixth in wRC+ (113).
Some of that is due to Nolan Arenado, who’s putting together a fine season after mostly underwhelming in the first half. However, the catalyst of the offense recently has been Paul Goldschmidt, who’s batting .355 with a 1.069 OPS since Aug. 1. Plus, in that 28-game span, Goldy has walked 13 times to just 17 strikeouts, and he’s smacked 17 extra-base hits (nine doubles, one triple and seven home runs).
Plus, perhaps the most important part of the Cardinals’ recent success has been tonight’s starting pitcher.
Starting pitcher: Adam Wainwright (RHP)
In his age-40 season, Uncle Charlie was just named the NL Pitcher of the Month for August:
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 2, 2021
Those seem like some astonishing numbers, but Wainwright has been doing this all season. He’s averaging almost 6 2/3 innings per start over his 26 outings this season, and he’s posted an ERA under 3.00 in the process.
Wainwright becoming the Cardinals’ ace is the sole reason they’ve managed to tread water this season. And if St. Louis makes the playoffs, fans will have Wainwright to thank.
As he’s gotten older, Wainwright’s had to change his arsenal and get a lot craftier. This season, he’s hammered batters with a curveball-sinker combo that’s holding his opponents to a combined BA under .200 and a combined wOBA under .240. The two pitches have combined for a whopping -24 Run Value number.
It’s crazy to think that Wainwright can only get stronger as the season progresses, but he’s proved he’s capable of that so far. As a baseball bettor, I’m keeping a close eye on Uncle Charlie down the stretch.
The Brewers have the best pitching rotation in baseball and if their lineup produces at even a below-average level, they’re a legitimate World Series contender.
Milwaukee’s batting order struggled to reach that level over the first two months of the season. However, since June 1, Milwaukee ranks among the top-10 teams in OPS (.759) and wOBA (.328). As a result, they’ve posted a whopping 53-28 record during that stretch while building an insurmountable 10-game lead in the NL Central, entering Friday night.
And since that July 1 date, all the rotation has done is lead the league in FIP (3.23) and xFIP (3.72) while pitching the eighth most innings of any staff. Today’s starter is a big reason for that unit’s success.
Starting pitcher: Freddy Peralta (RHP)
Peralta is a buzzsaw. Not only does he average almost 5 2/3 innings per start, but he also ranks among the top five percent of qualified pitchers in:
- xERA (2.59)
- xBA (.166)
- xSLG (.272)
- xwOBA (.248)
- Strikeout Rate (34%)
While a main part of his game is missing bats and overwhelming pitchers, Peralta has paired that with great batted-ball statistics. He’s allowing just an 86.4 mph average exit velocity and a 32.3% hard-hit rate – both stats that rank among the top 10% of qualified pitchers in the league.
The big change Peralta made this season was adding a consistent slider to his arsenal, tossing less fastballs and curveballs to do so:
It hasn’t been his most effective pitch, as his fastball has produced a -22 Run Value, but he’s still allowing just a .145 BA and a .222 wOBA on the slider this season. And perhaps more importantly, his slider has the highest Whiff rate of anything in his arsenal (44.1%), and it’s quickly become his most dangerous strikeout pitch:
The Brewers are obviously the class of the division, and it’s going to be hard to fade Peralta at home when he’s posted a 2.00 ERA and a .77 WHIP at Miller Park.
However, between how the offense is playing and Wainwright starting, the Cardinals simply shouldn’t be such big underdogs.
We’ve already tracked sharp money coming in on St. Louis, so I’m going to follow that and take the underdog value in this spot. I’m willing to play Uncle Charlie and the Cards at anything better than +150.
Pick: Cardinals ML (+160, play to +150)