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 Tuesday.
Although both pitchers have identical records in this matchup Tuesday night, the home hurler may be underrated when southpaw Jon Niese and the New York Mets (36-35, 10-24 away) pay a visit to right-hander Mike Fiers and the Milwaukee Brewers (25-46, 11-24 home) in the first game of a three-game series from Miller Park in Milwaukee, WI at 8:10 ET in a game available on SNY.
The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Milwaukee as a rather decided home favorite for this contest at current odds of -133.
Winless Road Trip So Far
The Mets were in first place in the National League East less than a week ago, but they have begun this road trip at 0-5 losing twice in Toronto before getting swept in a three-game series in Atlanta this past weekend, currently dropping them to second place and 1½ behind the preseason favorites to win the World Series, the Washington Nationals. Things would obviously be different if the Mets could bring their fine 26-11 home record on the road with them.
The Brewers meanwhile have been a train wreck most of this season and are in last place in the National League Central, already 21 games behind the first place St. Louis Cardinals and we are still only in the month of June! Milwaukee has been the losing MLB pick in eight of its last nine games as it returns home from a 1-4 road trip, losing twice in Kansas City and then two out of three in Colorado.
Nice Peripherals for Fiers
Yet the Brewers are decided favorites at home here with a pitcher in Fiers that is 3-7 with a 4.50 ERA and 1.55 WHIP? Well, there is a good reason for that as Fiers is actually vastly underrated because of those weak mainstream stats and he has the clearly superior peripheral numbers between these two pitchers. Besides, his rough outing in Kansas City snapped a streak of seven straight starts allowing three runs or less, including allowing two or less six times!
Fiers has a great ratio of 82 strikeouts vs. 28 walks in 74 innings, with that strikeout rate of 9.97 per nine innings ranking 10th in the entire Major Leagues! Fiers has also been hurt by allowing an extremely unlucky .368 BABIP, and once that stabilizes his numbers should converge toward his 3.73 FIP and 1.2 WAR.
He should continue to pitch well here vs. a Mets’ offense that is batting a mere .223 vs. right-handed pitchers while averaging a pathetic 2.85 runs per game against them on the road, only this time Fiers should get rewarded in the win column, which has not happened as much as it should have so far this year.
What You See is What You Get
Now, Niese is an identical 3-7 as Fiers with a better ERA of 4.21 and a better WHIP of 1.49. However, the difference is that Niese does not have strong sabremetric numbers helping his cause as they are more or less in line with those mainstream stats. In other words, it is basically what you see is what you get with Niese, which in this case is a very mediocre pitcher.
The Mets have a disappointing team record of 4-9 in the games that Niese has started this season, which is what happens when you have a 4.42 FIP that does not vary much from your ERA, in fact being slightly worse. Niese does not have eye-popping command numbers with 6.43 strikeouts vs. 2.81 walks per nine innings, and his 10 home runs allowed in 77 innings has not helped matters either as that computes to 1.17 home runs allowed per game.
And should Niese be in need of relief, the New York bullpen has not provided much relief as of late with a cumulative 4.80 ERA and 1.77 WHIP over the last 10 games.
Not Kings of the Road
Finally, this road trip has only extended the miseries that the Mets have had when travelling this season as they are now 6-20 in their last 26 road games overall, dropping them to a dismal 10-24 on the road for the year, a key reason they are not leading the division.
Given Fiers being seemingly undervalued for the Brewers, look for those road woes to continue for the New Yorkers when they visit Milwaukee on Tuesday.
MLB Pick: Brewers -133