Milwaukee, Wisconsin is just the kinda place where you could imagine them putting something beer in the water to make things feel a lot better. This baseball season, however, Brewers fans have been chugging down the beers and for once it hasn’t been solely to drown their collective sorrows. Through the opening month of the season the Brewers, who were unfancied in a stacked National League Central division, own the best record in all the Majors with an impressive 22 wins and 11 losses before Tuesday’s home stand against the Arizona Diamondbacks got underway.
St Louis Cardinals -141
Milwaukee Brewers +190
Cincinnati Reds +700
(All odds provided by Intertops.eu are accurate as of today and subject to change)
The success has been built on the kind of big picture antics made famous by Billy Beane and the Michael Smith book Moneyball with a team that loves hitting just about as much as Beane loved his teams to get on base at the Oakland Athletics, leading one Sports Illustrated writer to dub it ‘Brewerball’. This being the case it’s highly unlikely that any sports bettors even considered the Brewers as post season candidates in the Spring given its 88-loss season last year. Should bettors be taking a look at those odds now though?
When it comes to winning games and notching up hits then ride the Brewers whilst you can. The team is just the fourth team to win 20 games in the first month since the advent of the Wild Card and two of those teams went on to win over 100 games and plough deep furrows into the post-season.
Pitching is another area where the team has excelled through a five man rotation led by aces Yovani Gallardo [2-1, 2.47 ERA] and Kyle Lohse [4-1, 2.72 ERA] that are more than holding their own against some of the best hitters in the game.
That’s all well and good but it’s worth taking an extreme note of caution when it comes to the team’s divisional record given that a large percentage of its games pit the club against the likes of reigning the NL champion St Louis Cardinals and two 2013 wild cards in the shape of the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates.
The record so far doesn’t make particularly good reading given that eight of its 11 losses have come at the hands of teams in the NL Central and of the three series it has lost this season, two have come against direct divisional opponents [Cards and Reds].
Cardinals right-handed pitcher Shelby Miller has been a particular nemesis, the youngster limiting the explosive Brewers to just four runs over the two games he has pitched. Whilst the odds may be long on the Brewers to make the playoffs and tempt bettors, the divisional toughness will extinguish any hopes of an NL Central title or even a wild card spot.
That brings us to the coming three game set with the Yankees that will be the first chance for many to see the Brewers’ bats in action and the big stage combined with a poor start to May could have an adverse effect on the team’s chances.
A saving grace for the Brewers is that Gallardo gets the ball in game one of the three game set against the Yankees’ most consistent starter Masahiro Tanaka in what will be a low scoring encounter. Kyle Lohse then gets the nod in Saturday’s clash with CC Sabathia and it’s worth jumping on the Brewers in the first two games of the set thanks to the strength of the two starters on the mound.
Betting Instinct tip – Get on Milwaukee to beat the Yankees on Friday night. They’re +120 with AllYouBet.ag
JAMIE HINKS (jamiehinks) is an experienced content writer who has focused on the gambling industry and technology, and has an obsession with football and all US sports. You can follow him on Twitter here and on Google+ here.