Dodgers vs. Pirates Odds, Predictions & Preview: Bet Tuesday’s Favorite or Underdog?
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. PIctured: Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher JT Brubaker.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates take on the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday.
- JT Brubaker will take the mound for the Pirates, who are listed as +160 underdogs.
- MLB betting analyst Kevin Davis explains below why he's backing Pittsburgh to triumph.
Dodgers vs. Pirates Odds
|Time||7:05 p.m. ET|
Going into the season, the Pittsburgh Pirates were expected to have the worst record in the National League, while the Los Angeles Dodgers were expected to have the best record. After more than a third of the season being played, the Pirates might have a losing record, but have surprisingly exceeded expectations. In contrast, the Dodgers are in a third place in the NL West.
This week, Pittsburgh hosts Los Angeles in what might seem like a snooze fest. The Dodgers have a strong lineup with strong starting pitchers. The Pirates have an awful lineup and a few decent starting pitchers.
The question for the Pirates is if starting pitcher JT Brubaker can keep the Dodgers off the scoreboard in Tuesday's opener. If so, Pittsburgh might be able to win or at least keep it close or even get a win.
Dodgers' Buehler Enjoying Solid Campaign on Mound
While many Los Angeles starting pitchers have regressed this season, Walker Buehler has improved. In 2020, Buehler had a 1-0 record in eight starts, with a 3.44 ERA and a 3.93 xFIP. Part of the reason why Buehler had only one win is because he averaged less 4 2/3 innings per start. This season, Buehler has a 4-0 record, 2.82 ERA, 3.53 xFIP and averages around 6 1/3 innings per start.
As a result of Buehler pitching for more innings and pitching better, his WAR has doubled from 0.5 in 2020, to 1 this season. Against a weak Pittsburgh lineup, Buehler should have a big game in this spot.
Backing up Buehler is a lineup that averages 5.31 runs per game, which is the most in the league. However, I believe Los Angeles’ hitters have overperformed this season. The club's hitters have a 111 wRC+, meaning they should score 11% more runs than the league average or 4.85 runs per game.
Additionally, my model projects the likely lineup to average 4.65 runs in a typical game. Even though the Dodgers have the best lineup in the league, they're not nearly as good as they appear.
Brubaker Flying Under Radar This Season for Pirates
Outside of baseball nerds like myself and people in Pittsburgh, no one truly knows how good Pirates starting pitcher JT Brubaker has been this season. As a rookie last year, Brubaker put together a decent season.
This year, Brubaker has improved with a 4-4 record, 3.74 ERA and a 3.62 xFIP. Most impressively, while Brubaker pitched for fewer than five innings per start last year, this season he's averaging almost 5 2/3 innings per start. He might not be one of the better pitchers in the league, but as a decent player on a weak team, Brubaker gives the Pirates a chance of winning every time out.
Backing up Brubaker is a Pittsburgh lineup only averaging 3.55 runs per game, which is the league's worst. However, Pirates hitters aren't nearly as bad as they seem. Currently, Pittsburgh’s lineup has a 97 wRC+, meaning they should be averaging only 3% fewer runs per game than the league average or 4.24 runs per game. Additionally, my model projects the likely lineup to score 3.84 in a typical game.
With a lineup that is scoring .3 to .7 fewer runs than it should be scoring, Pittsburgh is likely to win a few games going forward as a heavy underdog.
The Dodgers should win, as they're one of the best teams in baseball and the Pirates are one of the worst. However, Pittsburgh has a plausible path to victory, which makes them attractive as a +160 home underdog.
Brubaker is a decent starting pitcher and should keep the Los Angeles hitters at bay. Additionally, Pittsburgh's lineup is not nearly as bad as it looks.
I like the Pirates moneyline at +160 odds as my top pick. Additionally, if the Pittsburgh +2.5 run line falls from -165 to -150 or better, I would recommend that wager as well.
Pick: Pittsburgh ML (+160)