Giants vs. Brewers Betting Odds & Picks: Why to Back Milwaukee Early (Aug. 7)
John Fisher/Getty Images. Pictured: Brandon Woodruff.
- After taking the opener, the Brewers look to take the series from the Giants on Saturday night.
- Brandon Woodruff will toe the rubber for Milwaukee, while Aaron Sanchez will make the start for San Francisco.
- Michael Arinze breaks down the betting value in the matchup and makes his pick below.
Giants vs. Brewers Odds
|Over/Under||8 (-115 / -105)|
|Time||Saturday, 7:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday afternoon and via PointsBet.|
The Brewers will resume their series with the Giants after a walk-off 2-1 win in 10 innings. Corbin Burnes pitched seven frames of one-run ball for Milwaukee in the game, and now it’ll be Brandon Woodruff’s turn to show off his quality on the mound.
Aaron Sanchez for San Francisco will oppose him.
Friday’s victory pulled the Brewers to within three games of the Giants for the best record in the National League. They’ll try to trim that lead even more while also extending their two-game winning streak.
Let’s take a look to see who has the edge in this matchup between two NL heavyweights.
San Francisco Giants
Sanchez will make his first start and third appearance after missing nearly three months with a biceps injury. Despite originally being in the rotation at the beginning of the season, this is really more of a spot start after a vacancy opened up due to a shoulder injury to teammate Anthony DeSclafani. The Giants rotation didn’t miss a beat when Sanchez went on the IL, so it’ll be interesting to see what direction they go in when all their starters are back healthy.
It’s always tough when you lose your job due to injury, especially when you’re not pitching particularly poorly. In six starts and eight appearances, Sanchez is 1-1 with a 2.97 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. He hasn’t pitched more than five innings in any of his starts this season, and some of that might be by design after coming off a shoulder capsule injury that forced him to miss the entire 2020 season.
That shoulder injury might have led to a dip in his velocity, as his average fastball was 90.3 mph vs. 93.5 mph in 2019. In fact, Sanchez’s fastball averaged 95.4 mph for three straight seasons from 2015-17.
It appears the decrease in velocity is something he’s well aware of because he’s no longer using a fastball as his dominant pitch for the first time in his career. Per Baseball Savant, Sanchez is throwing a curveball 31.3% of the time, while his sinker now ranks second in terms of usage at 29.5%.
While his velocity has dropped, we haven’t seen that result in a massive dip in strikeouts.
The reality is that Sanchez has never been an elite strikeout pitcher. In 2019, his 7.88 strikeouts per nine innings were the highest of his career. This season, he’s at 7.02. And although he’s cut down on his walks, his 3.78 walks per nine innings is still too high. He walked four batters in three innings against the Diamondbacks in his last outing but escaped without surrendering a run.
I doubt the result will be similar if that occurred against the Brewers.
That could explain why Sanchez’s 3.85 xERA and 4.01 FIP make him a possible candidate for regression.
August couldn’t come any faster for Woodruff. He lost his last two starts and finished July with an 0-3 record and a 3.56 ERA. It’s not as if he pitched all that poorly either. He allowed more than three runs in only one of his five starts in the month.
Overall, Woodruff is 7-6 with a 2.26 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP. His 2.93 xERA and 2.69 FIP point to a slight regression, but both would still be considered elite.
Woodruff has had quite the year across the board when considering the following career highs: 2.19 BB/9, 0.69 HR/9, .177 AVG, .238 BABIP, and a 3.9 WAR. You could easily argue that he should have a higher win percentage this season with those numbers. The right-hander has gotten the job done with an impressive five-pitch arsenal (four-seamer 32.5%, sinker 29.1%, curveball 16.5%, changeup 12.7%, slider 9.2%).
It’s not uncommon for pitchers to be more dominant with certain pitches. However, that’s not the case for Woodruff. His ability to throw all five pitches almost at least 10% of the time puts real doubt in the hitters’ minds about which pitch to expect. That makes it even more difficult to discern any potential patterns in pitch selection. According to FanGraphs, each pitch in his arsenal has an above-average run value, and there isn’t anything common about that.
This will be Woodruff’s first start against the Giants, but four players in their lineup have a total of 32 at-bats against him. Unfortunately, it’ll be hard to find any positives given their .062 AVG / .088 OBP / .094 SLG slash line.
My model makes the Brewers a -186 favorite in this matchup, with the Giants a +168 underdog. Milwaukee has now been steamed as high as -200 at some sportsbooks. While I think there’s value on San Francisco at +168 or higher, my initial research was centered on making a case for Milwaukee off a game after allowing one run or fewer. This season, the Brewers are 17-8 in this spot for 6.57 units.
However, I’m not a proponent of laying 2-to-1 odds, so I’d much rather play this game on the first five run line. In this scenario, Milwaukee is 11-4 for 5.85 units as a favorite after allowing one run or less in its previous game.
You’ll have to shop around for a sportsbook that offers a 0.5-run line in the first five.
If you’re unable to find one, a similar option would be to play a three-way money line for the first five innings. Since PointsBet has this available with Milwaukee at -131, I’ll look to place my action there.
Pick: Brewers F5 RL-0.5 (-131)