Cards vs. Brewers: Odds, preview, prediction

September 20th, 2021

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Cardinals vs. Brewers Odds

Cardinals Odds: +185

Brewers Odds: -225

Over/Under: 8 (-110/-110)

Time: 7:40 p.m. ET


Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

As MLB teams make their final playoff pushes, the NL Central has looked like the best division in baseball.

The Brewers were the third team to clinch a playoff spot, and are a lock to win the division. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have won eight straight games and now sit three games up in the NL Wild Card race.

Both teams will most likely make the playoffs, but only one has something to play for in this series.

That’s where the value lies in this game.

The Red-Hot Cardinals

When the Cardinals acquired J.A. Happ and Jon Lester at the Trade Deadline, I thought their season was over. The rotation didn’t seem good enough, and the lineup had been slumping all season.

How wrong I was.

Adam Wainwright transformed into a Cy Young candidate following his 40th birthday, while Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt have re-ignited the Cardinals’ offense. Since the eight-game winning streak started, the lineup has posted a .839 OPS and a .352 wOBA, both stats that rank among the top five in MLB during the stretch.

The Cardinals send Jake Woodford to the mound, which isn’t the most ideal scenario. Woodford has an xERA around 5.00 on the season, with very poor batted ball statistics.

However, he has managed three quality starts in September, posting a 2.03 ERA over 13 1/3 innings. But his xFIP during those innings is still 4.99, and his .243 BABIP indicates he’s been more lucky than good.

Milwaukee Is Cruising

While the Brewers are on cruise control, they’re still playing excellent baseball. Milwaukee has won seven of its last 10, and 19 of its last 30.

The strength of Milwaukee is its starting pitching, as its rotation features three of the best arms in MLB. However, the rest of the team hasn’t played all that great.

Since September started, the Brewers’ lineup ranks 18th in wRC+ (97) while their bullpen ranks 24th in FIP (5.41). But those two units have been excellent throughout the season, and I think the Brewers have taken their foot off the gas.

However, Milwaukee is still 10-6 this month, proving its rotation can win games even when the rest of the team isn't at its best.

But I’m slightly worried about today’s starter. Freddy Peralta has been an elite starting pitcher all season, but his numbers have lagged in recent weeks.

After striking out seven or more batters in 12 of his first 13 starts, he’s hit that mark just three times in his last nine. During that stretch, he’s posted an xFIP over four and his velocity has slightly dropped.

However, Peralta dominated in Detroit in his last outing, tossing six shutout innings while striking out nine and walking none. Maybe my worries are misplaced.

Cardinals-Brewers Pick

Given the two teams' current situations, I think it’s worth taking a shot with St. Louis tonight.

Given how well they’ve been playing, the Cardinals shouldn’t be as high as +185 on the moneyline. The starting pitching matchup heavily favors Milwaukee, but Peralta's recent performances make him fade material at -225.

While Milwaukee has an 11 1/2-game lead in the division with just 13 games to play, St. Louis is still battling for that top Wild Card spot. The hungry dog runs faster, and this hungry dog is offering big plus-money odds.

It’s a smaller-sized wager, but the Cardinals are worth a play at this price.

Pick: Cardinals ML (+185)