Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an MLB overlay that has a better chance of cashing than its odds, offering long term value. Here is their Underdog Value Play for Tuesday.
Similar to the opening game of this series last night, we actually see value Tuesday night in a game does not have any playoff implications when Johnny Cueto and the Cincinnati Reds (71-80, 31-45 away) again pay a visit to fellow right-hander Jake Arrieta and the Chicago Cubs (66-84, 36-36 home) in the second game of a three-game series from Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL at 8:05 ET in a game available on WGN.
The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Chicago as a small home underdog for this contest at current odds of -102.
Still Fighting to Avoid Cellar
It is not too often that you will see us take a team in this space that is not at plus odds, but although the Cubs are -102 right now, they are still the underdogs with Cincinnati installed as the -108 favorite. And the Cubs are showing some spunk at home as they try to avoid another last place finish, as the 1-0 win over the Reds last night evened their record at 36-36 at historic Wrigley Field this year, not to mention bringing us joy as Cub-backers in that contest.
While the Cubbies still appear to be giving effort, the Reds seem to have given up since falling out of playoff contention as they have simply been unable to score runs with an offensive depleted by injuries, and this team that went to the playoffs last year is suddenly not an impossible MLB pick to finish last in the National League Central as the Reds now lead the Cubs by 3½ games, a margin that could be 1½ by the end of the day tomorrow!
Great Pitcher, No Run Support
Granted the Reds have their ace Johnny Cueto on the mound tonight, and he has truly been one of the best pitchers in the National League this year especially considering he is pitching for a struggling offense. Cueto tossed eight scoreless innings and allowed three hits vs. the St. Louis Cardinals in a 1-0 win last Thursday, leaving him at a remarkable 18-8 on the year with a tiny 2.15 ERA and 0.96 WHIP with 220 strikeouts vs. only 59 walks in 222 innings!
Now we are not about to deny Cueto’s greatness, but that 1-0 final last time out is becoming too typical from a Cincinnati offense that is 28th out of 30 Major League teams in scoring this season with 3.70 runs per game and 27th in batting at .239, and things have only gotten worse lately with so many of the Cincinnati stars hurt.
The Reds are batting just .221 overall and averaging a scant 2.80 runs over their last 10 games, and last night’s shutout loss marks the fourth time in the last five games that Cincinnati has scored two runs or less.
Arrieta to Keep Reds’ Bats Quiet
No matter how great Cueto is, you cannot win if you cannot score and the Cubs’ starter Arrieta is more than capable of keeping the Cincinnati bats silent. Arrieta is having a breakout season for Chicago and probably deserves better than an 8-5 record, as he has a 2.82 ERA, 1-07 WHIP and 144 strikeouts in 140.2 innings vs. only 39 walks. He has maintained his fine form too, allowing two runs or less in five of his last six starts.
Furthermore Arrieta has been at his best in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field, where he is 4-1 with a remarkable 1.83 ERA and 0.91 WHIP with 57 strikeouts vs. 15 walks in 10 home starts covering 64 innings. The only time Arrieta faced the Reds at Wrigley this season, he allowed two runs on just three hits in seven innings of a 7-3 victory with nine strikeouts and not a single walk.
Horrible on the Road
And do not forget that besides now being a .500 club at home, the Cubs’ quest to escape the basement also gets a boost here from Cincinnati’s horrendous play on the road, as the Reds are now 7-25 in their last 32 road contests!
Despite the presence of Cueto on the mound for the Reds, expect the Cubs to get over the .500 mark at home in Chicago on Tuesday.
MLB Pick: Cubs -102