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 Friday.
Look for the road favorites to continue to feel some pressure Friday night after seemingly having their division in hand as Michael Wacha and the St. Louis Cardinals (88-71, 37-41 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Trevor Cahill and the Arizona Diamondbacks (63-96, 32-46 home) in the first game of a regular season ending three-game series from Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ at 9:40 ET.
The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Arizona as a decided home underdog for this contest at current odds of +147.
Beware of Pirates!
The Cardinals appeared to be well on their way to another National League Central crown less than a week ago, but three losses in the last four games to the lowly Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds have suddenly left St. Louis with just a one-game lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the division! One bit of good news is that the Cardinals won the season series from the Pirates and would host a 163rd game to decide the division winner if necessary.
The Diamondbacks have no such playoff concerns as they will finish this season as the worst MLB picks in the National League, and one more defeat in their last three games would ensure that they will finish with the worst record in the Major Leagues. At least they cannot lose 100 games though as they are currently at 63-96. Even with that being said however, they are dangerous underdogs here given the recent form of tonight’s starting pitchers.
Cahill Better Second Half
Cahill has awful numbers over this entire season as he is 3-12 with a 5.55 ERA and 1.60 WHIP, and he was pulled from the starting rotation after going 0-4 with a 9.17 ERA in his four April starts. However, take note of how much that ERA has gone down between than and now, and that is not only because Cahill was effective after being demoted to the bullpen but also because he has pitched much better since re-entering the rotation on July 18th.
You see, Cahill has made 12 starts since being re-inserted and he has allowed three earned runs or less in nine of them! Granted that is not reflected in his 5.48 ERA since the All-Star break because his three bad starts were very bad as he allowed 17 runs in 12.1 innings in those starts, but still most pitchers would take his 75.0 percent Quality Start percentage since being given this second chance.
Wacha Not There Yet
Now, Wacha was a key piece to the Cardinals’ run to the World Series last year when he went 4-1 with a 2.78 ERA during the regular season and then followed that up by allowing two runs or less in four of his five post-season starts including being the winning pitcher in World Series Game 2 over the Boston Red Sox.
And Wacha was off to another promising start this season as he had a 2.79 ERA until going on the Disabled List in June with elbow problems and missing nearly three months. He just recently made his return vs. the Milwaukee Brewers on September 4th, but he is clearly not himself as of yet as he has a 6.17 ERA and 1.63 WHIP with only seven strikeouts in 11.2 innings over three starts since his return. Those numbers do not exactly exude confidence in a large road favorite.
Struggles on the Road
Finally, neither Wacha individually or the Cardinals as a team have been great bets on the road. The Cardinals are just 1-9 in Wacha’s last 10 starts away from home overall and they are 1-7 the last eight times he has been installed as a road favorite! Furthermore St. Louis is only 37-41 on the road overall for -7.75 units based on wagering one unit per game.
With all of this in mind, Arizona looks like a nice spoiler at rather hefty odds at home in Phoenix on Friday.
MLB Pick: Diamondbacks +147