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 Monday.
The best pitcher on the visiting team could give it good underdog value Monday night when Kyle Lohse and those first-place Milwaukee Brewers (59-47, 29-21 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Jake Odorizzi and the Tampa Bay Rays (51-54, 24-29 home) in the first game of a three-game interleague series from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL at 7:10 ET in a game available on the Sunshine Network.
The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Milwaukee as a road underdog for this contest at current odds of +121.
Rays’ Winning Streak Snapped
The Rays were once 18 games under .500 and sitting with the worst record in the Major Leagues, but they have been one of the hottest MLB picks in baseball lately while going 27-12 in their last 39 games to improve to 51-54 and they have narrowed their deficit behind the first-place Baltimore Orioles in the American League East to 7½ games. Tampa Bay did have its nine-game winning streak snapped Sunday though with a 3-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
The Brewers meanwhile continue to be one of the most pleasant surprises in the league, as in a division that became the first ever to send three teams to the MLB Playoffs last season in the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds, it is the Brewers that lead the National League Central by two games this year over the second place Cardinals. They did end a home stand on a sour note yesterday however getting shut out 2-0 by the New York Mets.
Lohse a Model of Consistency
We like the Brew Crew’s chances of bouncing back today though at a nice underdog price behind Lohse, who has pitched like the ace of the staff this season while going 11-4 with a 3.07 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and a great ratio of 101 strikeouts vs. 25 walks, and Lohse has not minded pitching on the road going 7-2 away from Milwaukee. He has allowed three earned runs or less in seven of his last eight starts including yielding exactly one run in each of his last two outings.
Lohse has become a very consistent Major League pitcher as 2014 has already marked his fourth straight season with double-digit victories, and he also appears to be well on his way to a fourth straight year with his ERA not getting out of the 3.00s, including one year in 2012 where it was 2.86. His sabremetric numbers also paint a pretty picture as Lohse has a fine 2.1 WAR.
Odorizzi with Command Issues
Odorizzi has had some nice moments for the Rays but he has also been plagued by inconsistency, resulting in a 6-8 record with a 3.97 ERA. There is no disputing that Odorizzi has nice “stuff” as demonstrated by his 10.46 strikeouts per nine innings, but he has combined that with a walk rate of 3.54 per nine that is the 10th highest walk rate in the Major Leagues among qualified pitchers, and that has been the root of his problems.
Granted Odorizzi has a 2.39 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 53 strikeouts vs. 17 walks in 49 innings over his last eight starts, but the problem here is that his mound opponent Lohse has been putting up those kinds of numbers over the last four years and is thus more proven, making taking Odorizzi as a favorite here a tad dicey.
Also remember that the Brewers have a much better winning percentage on the road at 29-21, .580 than they do at home (30-26, .538), and their 29 road wins are tied for the second most in the National League behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers. Milwaukee can make things tough on Odorizzi with an offense that is batting a solid .262 vs. right-handers on the road this year, with the Brewers’ road scoring average of 4.56 being higher than the Rays home average (4.23).
Add this all up and Milwaukee appears to offer nice road underdog value with Lohse on the bump in St. Petersburg on Monday.
MLB Pick: Brewers +121