Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Milwaukee Brewers Betting Odds, Pick, Prediction: Can Bucs’ Bats Get to Brandon Woodruff?

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Milwaukee Brewers Betting Odds, Pick, Prediction: Can Bucs’ Bats Get to Brandon Woodruff? article feature image

Michael Owens/Getty Images. Pictured: Mitch Keller.

  • The Brewers are a big favorite over the Pirates on Wednesday afternoon, as they look to get to Brandon Woodruff.
  • Pittsburgh excels against fastballs (at least relative to its other pitch values) and at this price, are worth a bite on the moneyline.
  • Get D.J. James' full Pirates vs. Brewers preview and pick below.

Pirates vs. Brewers Odds

Pirates Odds+200
Brewers Odds-240
Time1:40 p.m. ET
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Mitch Keller will take the hill for the traveling Pittsburgh Pirates against Brandon Woodruff and the Milwaukee Brewers.

Keller just flat-out is not getting the results he deserves. Woodruff, meanwhile, had a tough time mowing down Cubs hitters in his first start and then bounced back with a five-inning shutout performance against the Cardinals.

That said, this Milwaukee team has not yet shown its ability to hit the ball. It struggled on offense a bit last season as well, so this may be a recurring theme, even with the firepower on its pitching staff.

Pittsburgh will not have a strong season, but it has shown some flashes early this season.

Given there's not much of an early difference in the offensive approaches of these two, there's value in taking the Pirates on the moneyline here.

Keller & Pirates' Bullpen Should Take Care of Business 

Keller has solid peripherals at the moment. Thus far, he finds himself in the 79th percentile in average exit velocity and the 84th percentile in hard-hit percentage with a 3.37 xERA. His regular ERA stands at 9.39, but this looks to be just noise at the moment.

Now, Keller may throw his fastball over 50% of the time, but he mixes in his curveball and slider nearly 40%, too. Against righties dating back to Opening Day 2021, only Hunter Renfroe from the Brewers' lineup holds an xwOBA of at least .320 on sliders and curves from righties.

Since Keller has shown he's willing to mix these pitches in more often, compared to a weak 2021 campaign, he may have some success against this Milwaukee lineup.

After Keller finishes pitching, the Pittsburgh bullpen has impressed early this season. It ranks seventh in WPA. It may be getting a bit lucky with a 2.72 ERA versus a 4.38 xFIP, but if Keller can actually get past four innings of work, there are alternatives behind him.

Anthony Banda, Duane Underwood Jr., Chris Stratton, and Wil Crowe have been the Pirates’ go-to pen options, so they have the artillery needed to throw off the Brewers’ lineup.

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Does Milwaukee Have Any Advantages?

Brandon Woodruff's 5.00 xERA is a little concerning, but this is mainly skewed by an awful start against Chicago. The sample size is small.

However, he does utilize his sinker and four-seamer over 60% of the time. On these pitches from righties, the Pirates have six hitters with an xwOBA of at least .330 since the beginning of 2021. This is where the edge is.

Woodruff has shown he can be a bit overvalued here in the early going against teams that feast on the fastball, like the Cubs.

Milwaukee notably has one of the best bullpens in the league, so getting to Woodruff is key here. But given the depth in Pittsburgh’s own bullpen, this advantage is somewhat negated.

Finally, Milwaukee held only a 92 wRC+ against righties last season. So far, this number is about in line at 95 wRC+. That said, the Brewers are in the middle of the pack with a .336 xwOBA and 88.8 MPH average exit velocity. This says these numbers may be in line with how they may look all season.

They have not been particularly unlucky, and given their difficulty with right-handed off-speed pitches, it will not happen in this game. The Pirates have the hitting edge.

Pirates-Brewers Pick

Since the Pirates have a fastball-hitting lineup against right-handers, Woodruff may be in for a tough early showing. Expect him to stabilize because he's facing the Pirates, but the first or second time through the order, Pittsburgh can churn out a few runs.

Since the Pirates have a few arms behind Keller, they will need him to make it through four or five innings. Anything afterward is a bonus.

Keller has been extremely unlucky in the early going, so he should be able to roll against a poor Milwaukee lineup.

Take the Pirates at +200, and play to +185.

Pick: Pirates +200 (Play to +185)

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