MLB Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Kansas City Royals vs. Milwaukee Brewers (Sunday, Sept. 20)

MLB Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Kansas City Royals vs. Milwaukee Brewers (Sunday, Sept. 20) article feature image
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Ed Zurga/Getty Images. Pictured: Kansas City Royals pitcher Brad Keller.

  • The Kansas City Royals and Milwaukee Brewers go to battle during Sunday's MLB action.
  • Brad Cunningham thinks the Royals are undervalued for the first five innings in Milwaukee.
  • Check out Cunningham's full preview with updated odds below.

Royals vs. Brewers Odds

Royals Odds +132 [Bet Now]
Brewers Odds -155 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 8 (-115/-105) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 2:10 p.m. ET

Odds as of Sunday at 1 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


 

With 10 games left in the season, the Milwaukee Brewers can’t afford to drop any more games. They are tied with the Cincinnati Reds for the eighth and final seed in the National League and need to finish the season strong if they want to make the playoffs.

The Royals are out of the playoff picture, but have been red hot over the past 10 games, winning seven of them. They will try and play spoiler with pitching ace Brad Keller on the mound.

Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP  is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning.

Kansas City Royals

The Royals offense has been below average this season, putting up a .309wOBA and 92 wRC+. However, they’ve been on fire over the past week, accumulating a .345 wOBA and 115 wRC+, which is the fourth best mark in MLB.

Much of the Royals’ struggles this season have come against righties, as they rank 23rd in terms of wOBA. However, they’ve been great versus fastballs (9.9 weighted fastball runs) and rank ninth overall. They’ll have a good matchup against Josh Lindblom, who has been struggling with his fastball this year.

Royals Probable Starter

Brad Keller, RHP

Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Keller has been fantastic so far this season, posting a 2.06 ERA. However, he’s been a bit fortunate as his xFIP is all the way up at 4.44. He’s been stellar with his control, as he’s yet to give up a home run in his starts.

Last year, Keller struggled with his fastball and sinker, allowing a wOBA over .340 on both pitches. He’s been much better with those two pitches this year, yielding a wOBA under .300.

Keller’s best pitch, by far, is his slider, as it has accounted for 17 of his 26 strikeouts. He’s improved the pitch from 2019, as opposing hitters have managed only a .111 average against it this season.

The Brewers have struggled versus both fastballs and sliders this year, so Keller will have a good matchup.

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers lineup has been below average all season, checking in with a .313 wOBA and 92 wEC+. Most of the Brewers’ hitting woes this season have come against righties, as they only have a .301 wOBA and 81 wRC+, each of which ranks 26th in MLB. They’ll have a tough matchup against Keller, who has been one of the best right-handers in baseball this season.

Brewers Probable Starter 

Josh Lindblom, RHP

Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Lindblom has been in and out of the majors for the past decade. This year, though, is the first time he’s able to get consistent innings in the starting rotation. So far, it hasn’t gone well for him, as he’s posted a 5.28 ERA and 4.18 xFIP through eight starts.

Lindblom has struggled with his main two pitches, as opposing hitters are hitting for a .270 average against his fastball and cutter. His secondary pitches have been on point, holding opposing hitters under a .300 combined wOBA and producing a whiff rate of more than 30 percent.

Lindblom will have to feature his secondary pitches a lot, since the Royals are mainly a fastball hitting team.

Bullpens

The Royals bullpen has been average, accumulating a 4.09 ERA an a 4.51 xFIP as a group. Those numbers rank in the top half of baseball. Milwaukee counters with the league’s best bullpen, ranking first in terms of xFIP.

Projections and Pick

I think the starting pitching matchup in this game is a mismatch, going in Kansas City’s favor. However, I want to avoid the bullpen mismatch, so I am going to back the Royals for the first five innings at +108 (DraftKings). I also would bet that number up -125.

Pick: Royals First Five Innings +108 (play up to -125)

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