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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:56 PM

NL Wild Card Best Bet

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Tuesday's MLB Betting Preview
Milwaukee at Washington (TBS, 8:08 p.m. ET)

Really meaningful baseball is back in all of our lives now with the playoffs set to go on Tuesday night, and Wild Card games can be a great way to kick off what should be a great October. Yet, generally speaking, since these Wild Card games were instituted in 2012, you generally don't want to close with a plus-sign beside your name in the ML prices.

MLB Wild Card History & Trends (2012-2018)

Only three underdogs (outside of general pick'em range) have gone on to play in the Divisional round, so Brewers and Rays backers have that working against them.

The price seems to matter more than the site for these games, as road teams do own a 8-6 SU advantage overall, doing most of that damage in the National League with a 5-2 SU record. Even without Yelich available, a Milwaukee/LA Dodgers series has the narratives there to make that NLDS very interesting, but again, working a make-shift bullpen day on the road as (more importantly) big underdogs, against the great Max Scherzer isn't exactly ideal for Milwaukee.

Opening Odds: Milwaukee (+165) vs. Washington (-180), Total 7.5

Line Movements | Expert Picks

Really tough spot for the Brewers overall, on the road, at the end of essentially a tough week-long road trip, their fourth city in a little over a week, off getting swept in Colorado, starting a guy they know can't stretch out much past three or four innings, against the great Max Scherzer and a Nats team that's won eight in a row. Did I leave anything out? Oh yeah, no reigning NL MVP available in your lineup.

Tough to make a case for the Brewers with all that stacked up in your face, but that may be precisely why there is a case on Milwaukee; it's hard to figure how they'll get it done. But I mean, it's not like Scherzer has been Scherzer since returning from the IL, sporting a 6.11 ERA in his final three starts of the year. I mean, it's not often you'll find three-game stretches in Scherzer's career where he had more hits allowed than innings pitched.

Washington's bullpen tightened up things down the stretch to secure this home playoff game, but now with the stakes amped up does the tightened pressure of the scenario have them revert back to their gas can-like ways? I mean the scores the last two times these two played this year finished 16-8 and 15-14. A relatively short, ineffective night from Scherzer puts that Nats bullpen in the spotlight early, and who knows how good of a thing that can be for Washington.

2019 Meetings (Brewers 4-2, Over 4-2)

May 6 - Milwaukee (-110) 5 vs. Washington 3, Over 7.5
May 7 - Milwaukee (-113) 6 vs. Washington 0, Under 8
May 8 - Milwaukee (-200) 7 vs. Washington 3, Over 8.5

Aug. 16 - Washington (-155) 2 vs. Milwaukee 1, Under 9
Aug. 17 - Milwaukee (+115) 15 at Washington 14, Over 10.5
Aug. 18 - Washington (-105) 16 vs. Milwaukee 8, Over 11

Basically what I'm saying here, is the case for Milwaukee can be there, but with all that's facing them in terms of negative situational angles, it's tough to consider pulling the trigger on the Brewers. It's also saying that I want no part of Washington here as even on an eight-game winning streak I'd have a tough time trusting them in a close game late.

A Woodruff-to-bullpen outing for Milwaukee should let the Nats offense click early, but teams are putting high stress innings on Scherzer much earlier these days, and a 3-3 type game going into the closing third of the game is very reasonable.

An early offensive explosion by the Nats against Woodruff, or a late implosion by the Nats bullpen likely has the 'over' get there with ease in either case, but even in a close game, I think we see a few more runs then this number suggests.

Washington's scored 4+ runs in eight straight games, and 6+ runs in six of those games. Get to that number early and even a 6-2 Nats win in a dominant outing by Scherzer gets the 'over' home. All those negative scenarios that have the Brewers fighting uphill from the start have them struggling to keep their opponent off the scoreboard early a real issue.

Washington likely wins, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't rooting for Milwaukee, but the 'over' is the play.

Best Bet: Over 7.5 runs

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