Milwaukee Brewers @ Pittsburgh Pirates
Thursday 20 July, 21:35 (BST)
Divisional rivals Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers are finishing off their four-game series tonight at PNC Park. The visiting Brewers still lead the National League Central division with a record of 52-45, despite dropping the first three games in the series against Pirates. Pirates are still in contest, hanging third in NL Central and seven wins behind the last Wild Card playoff-spot.
With surging Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, the NL Central is wide open, with all four teams within six wins. Each game counts and Brewers have seen their comfortable lead melt with four straight losses. Against Pirates, the games have been as close as it gets: 3-2, 4-3, 4-2. The narrow losses should put a chip on Brewers shoulders and they're likely to push all-in for the series finale.
Starting on the mound for the Pirates is a second year ace Jameson Taillon, who has been in great form starting 12 times with a record of 5-3. He posts an ERA of 3.06 - the best of Pirates starters. However, his hits allowed average of .271 is not remarkably good. Pirates are also 15th in runs allowed at home, with 4.63.
Brewers' starter is Jimmy Nelson, who is 8-4 in 19 starts this season and boasts an ERA of 3.27. Nelson places among the top-20 of all qualified MLB starters in all important statistical categories. Brewers are allowing the 3rd least runs on the road in the MLB with 4.04.
Despite somewhat struggling in the previous three games, Brewers have edge over the Pirates offensively. They place 7th overall in runs per game, averaging 4.87. The Pirates on the other hand are 24th with an average of 4.19. At home, the Pirates are even worse: 29th with 3.67 average.
Current market on the Betfair betting exchange heavily favours the home team, Pirates. However, backing the visitors offers best value with current odds of [2.24].
In Accuscore simulations, Milwaukee Brewers are marginal favorites with 50.4%. It's likely to be just as close a game as the previous three, but this time it's the Brewers turn to take the W.
Value bets should be placed for Brewers when the odds reach [1.99] and for the Pirates with odds of [2.02] or better.
In the simulations both teams score on average 4.3 runs each. Pirates rely on Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen, Josh Harrison and Josh Bell to score, while Brewers most likely scorers are Domingo Santana, Eric Thames, Jesus Aguilar and Travis Shaw. The home run king for the game is most likely Brewers' Eric Thames, with a 25% chance to hit a homer.
Starters for both teams are top-notch and neither is likely to collapse according to simulations. Both average 5 allowed hits and 2.3 runs. Same goes with the relievers. However, Brewers' heavy hitters are more likely to hit a home run to win the game: Brewers hit on average 1.23 home runs as opposed to Pirates 0.94.