The Minnesota Twins have lost five of six games ahead of Wednesday's contest against the Milwaukee Brewers, who seek to improve to .500 on the season.
What's most discouraging about the Twins' recent skid is all those defeats came at the hands of clubs with a losing record. Milwaukee is included there, after the Brewers won Tuesday's meeting 6-4 to even the three-game series at one apiece.
Continue reading for abe Insights' betting preview, which features advanced statistics, a breakdown and analysis of the primary wagers and the best odds available upon publication.
Date: Wednesday, August 12
Time: 7:10 p.m. ET
TV: Fox Sports 1
Implied Probabilities: Twins 56%; Brewers 45%
Spread: MIN -1.5 (+120); MIL +1.5 (-137)
Moneyline: MIN -129; MIL +120
In this rubber game, the absence of slugger Josh Donaldson will continue to hurt, but the Twins should at least have a big edge in starting pitching. Kenta Maeda is slated to take the mound against Milwaukee southpaw Eric Lauer.
Maeda was a key offseason addition to Minnesota's rotation after spending four prior seasons with the Dodgers. He's delivered the goods thus far, with a 2-0 record and 2.65 ERA in three starts. Meanwhile, Lauer is 0-1 with a 9.53 ERA in 5.2 innings.
.224 vs. .174: This first stat matchup doesn't compare the two teams in question. Rather, it shows last year's MLB-leading isolated power figure for the Twins, contrasted with their 13th-ranked total from 2020. That 50-point difference largely accounts for Minnesota's inconsistency and recent losing.
3.42 vs. 3.99: The Brewers' relievers, headlined by closer Josh Hader, lead all of MLB in Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP). Even if Lauer gets roughed up, Milwaukee's bullpen should keep it close, though the Twins place a respectable 11th in this category.
14.2 vs. 1.5: FanGraphs' Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games shows Minnesota ranking first among all teams, whereas the Brewers are in 11th out of 30 teams. If this turns out to be a tight score, the Twins' defensive effort could prove to be the difference.
Tonight's interleague series decider could prove to be a crucial, landmark moment for both sides as they navigate uncertainty, waves of losing and the sheer unpredictability of this truncated, 60-game schedule.
If Minnesota can right the ship before hosting for a seven-game homestand, that'd be big. But these two teams meet for another series beginning on August 18, so with a winning Wednesday, the Brewers could get a psychological edge on the Twins for that set, in addition to bolstering their Wild Card prospects.
With the playoff field expanding to 16, there's some opportunity for Milwaukee to make it despite a sluggish 7-8 start. However, the Brew Crew probably aren't catching the Cubs in the NL Central, and one of the final two berths is going to the NL West's third-place finisher in all likelihood.
The AL Central is right there with the NL West among baseball's most competitive divisions. Although Minnesota is still out in front at 11-7, the Indians (10-8) are one game back, the Tigers (9-5) are a half-game out and the resurgent White Sox (9-9) are a mere two games off the lead.
Minnesota is 11-for-18 in hitting the Under during the 2020 campaign, per TeamRankings.com. Since the Brewers are a 50-50 split and Maeda is on the hill, look for the majority of bets to trend to the Under run total.
The clubs are close enough on the other primary lines to advocate for either side. However, given the Twins' greater power in the lineup and edge in starting pitching, look for Minnesota's spread and moneyline to win the popular vote for wagers.
Note: Odds current as of 2:10 p.m. ET on Wednesday, August 12.
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