Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Saturday.
The team with the worst record in baseball may actually be undervalued Saturday night when Tom Koehler and the Miami Marlins (38-52, 14-29 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Chad Billingsley and those Philadelphia Phillies (30-62, 19-25 home) in the second game of a three-game series from Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA at 7:05 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Florida.
The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Philadelphia as a home underdog for this contest at current odds of +118.
Phillies Beat Fernandez Last Night
The Phillies were expected by many to be the worst team in the Major Leagues this year and unfortunately that has come to fruition as they are the only team in the league with a winning percentage below .400, and decidedly so at .326! They were the winning MLB picks in the series opener here last night though, beating Miami ace Jose Fernandez 6-3 to snap a five-game losing streak that ended the first half of the season.
The Marlins on the other hand were expected to compete for a playoff spot before this season, but that has not happened as they are only one spot above the Phillies in fourth place in the National League East at 11½ games behind the first place Nationals, a standing that cost former manager Mike Redmond his job in favor of general manager Dan Jennings. Of course, losing Giancarlo Stanton to a broken hand has not helped matters for Miami.
Koehler on Our Fade List
After beating Fernandez as a decided +165 underdog on Friday, the Phillies now turn up as home underdogs again vs. Koehler, who has managed to go 7-5 pitching for a losing team with a good 3.40 ERA. However, things are not quite as they seem with those numbers and we recommend Koehler being a prime pitcher to fade coming out of the All-Star break.
For starters his command ratio is nothing to speak of, as he is averaging an ordinary 6.24 strikeouts vs. a high 3.03 walks per nine innings. When you also factor in allowing over one home run per game at 1.19 per nine innings and benefitting for a .260 BABIP allowed, the resulting 4.49 FIP and 4.31 xFIP are better indicators of Koehler’s true ability.
Secondly Koehler has severe home vs. away splits that make him even more vulnerable as a road favorite, as he is just 3-4 with a lofty 5.07 ERA and 1.47 WHIP away from home this year. Koehler has always had discernable splits with a career 3.34 ERA at home and 4.54 ERA on the road, but he has taken things to another level this season.
Billingsley Unbeaten vs. Marlins
Granted, the veteran Billingsley is not what he once was. The now 30-year-old is 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA in his first season with Philadelphia, although to be fair that is over just six starts and he has been a bit better since coming off of the Disabled List on July 2nd, including holding his former team the Dodgers to two runs in six innings in Los Angeles in a 7-2 upset win in his second start back.
And Billingsley is now facing a team that he has never lost to, as he is 4-0 with a 2.76 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in eight career games (seven starts) vs. the Marlins with 49 strikeouts in 42.1 innings vs. just 17 walks. This 2015 Miami version is just 25th in the majors in scoring with 3.70 runs per game overall, and that is despite the disabled Stanton having 27 home runs and 67 RBI in 74 games at the time he went down.
Road Struggles vs. Righties
Finally, just the Marlins’ 14-29 overall road record alone should be enough to make one think twice about backing them as decided road favorites, and on top of that they are also just 2-7 in their last nine road games vs. right-handed starters.
All in all, as bad as the Phillies are, Miami simply does not deserve this much road favoritism so take a deep breath and back Philadelphia as a home underdog on Saturday.
MLB Pick: Phillies +118