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 team with the worst record in baseball has a legitimate chance to upset a division leader Monday night when Colby Lewis and the Texas Rangers (53-83, 29-42 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Yordano Ventura and the Kansas City Royals (74-61, 35-32 home) in the first game of a three-game series from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, MO at 8:10 ET in a game televised regionally on MLB Network.
The posted money line at Bet365 has Texas as a large underdog for this contest at current odds of +175.
Worst vs. First
The Royals are still the surprising leaders of the American League Central by one-half game over the heavy favorites to win the division in the Detroit Tigers, and the third place Cleveland Indians are also still in with a chance at 3½ out. However, Kansas City may be feeling the pressure as it has now officially lost five of its last seven games pending the eventual result of Sunday’s suspended game vs. the Indians, which will continue in three weeks.
The Rangers meantime have been the worst MLB picks in the Major Leagues at 53-83, and they seem on their way to taking the dubious honor away from the Houston Astros after the latter finished with the league’s worst record each of the last three years, as Texas trails Houston by five games after losing three out of four to the Astros over the weekend.
Royals Not Hitting
The Texas starter Lewis is lucky to be on the mound as he has become the first know player to return to the majors following hip-resurfacing surgery, and he has even had some nice stretches this season where he looked like his old self, i.e., the pitcher that posted a 3.43 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 2012, which was his last appearance in the majors until this year.
Unfortunately, those nice stretches have come and gone sporadically and it has been a struggle more often that not for Lewis here in 2014 as he is 9-11 with a 5.44 ERA and a bloated 1.58 WHIP. Still, the Rangers would have gladly taken a double-digit win total from him entering this season and he is on the verge of accomplishing just that.
And the Royals have one lineup that he seems capable of handling at the current time considering that they are batting just .234 overall in the last 10 games including .226 vs. right-handed pitchers, against whom they are averaging a measly 3.09 runs per nine innings during this span.
Kansas City Bullpen Slumping Too
Granted Ventura is having a fine rookie campaign for the Royals as his 10-9 record is deceptive given his 3.40 ERA and 125 strikeouts in 145.2 innings, and he leads all Major League rookies with his 17 Quality Starts. However, the youngster does not always have the best command as his 3.27 walks per nine innings are the 16th most in the majors among qualified starting pitchers.
Still, even with that, Ventura has probably pitched well enough to deserve a better record, but the lack of run support from the Kansas City offense that has plagued the entire starting staff could very well continue here. And if this is a close game in the late stages, the Royals’ bullpen has actually been a disappointment ranking eighth in the American League with a 3.48 ERA, as it was regarded to be the best bullpen in the league entering this season.
Even worse that pen ERA is up to a lofty 5.00 over the last 10 games.
Possibly Another Loss on the Way
Finally, do not forget that there is a very good chance that the Royals are really one-half game worse than what they are showing in the standings right now, which would drop them into a tie with the Tigers atop the division, because that had just fallen behind the Indians 4-2 in the top of the 10th inning Sunday when the rains came suspending play, and that game will be picked up in enemy territory in Cleveland with the Royals as the “home” team on September 22nd.
Even the last place Ranger seem capable of keeping the Royals slumping here, so Texas appears to hold good value at this big price on Monday.
MLB Pick: Rangers +175