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 Friday.
The home team seems to be overvalued in a matchup of mediocre pitchers Thursday night when southpaw Chris Rusin and the Colorado Rockies (34-44, 17-22 away) pay a visit to right-hander Jeremy Hellickson and the Arizona Diamondbacks (37-41, 19-20 home) for the first game of a four-game holiday weekend series from Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ at 9:40 ET in a game available on ROOT.
The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Colorado as a road underdog for this contest at current odds of +133.
Arizona Closer to Last Place
The Diamondbacks were hovering around the .500 mark for much of this season, which was a vast improvement after finishing with the worst record in baseball at 64-98 last year but they have now lost five of their last seven games including two of three in their just-concluded series with the Los Angeles Dodgers, leaving third place 37-41 Arizona closer to last place in the National League West (three games) than to first place (seven games).
Meanwhile, it is the Rockies that have the distinction of being the last MLB picks in the division at 34-44, but they are only two games behind fourth place San Diego as well as three games behind the Diamondbacks and they have been a bit better on the road this year than in recent seasons at 17-22, leaving them just four shy of their total road wins for all of last season (21-60).
Hellickson Not Enjoying National League
Hellickson is in his first season in the National League after spending his career with the Tampa Bay Rays of the American League before this year, and while many pitchers making that switch perform better now not having to face designated hitters, that has not been the case for Hellickson, who has struggled much worse than his 5-5 record in his first season in the NL.
That is because he has a bloated 5.38 ERA and 1.42 WHIP, not to mention coming off of another rough outing vs. the Padres in San Diego Saturday where he was lit up for seven earned runs on 10 hits while lasting only 5.1 innings. That does not exactly make Hellickson the most trustworthy decided favorite as he is cast here, and he is facing a Colorado lineup batting .270 while averaging 4.86 runs vs. right-handed pitchers this season.
Two Good Starts vs. Diamondbacks
Now the young southpaw Rusin is not exactly setting the world on fire either, although he does at least have a winning record while currently pitching for a last place team at 3-2 with a 4.69 ERA. And while that ERA is very mediocre, it is still better than Hellickson’s and Rusin is facing a lineup that he has handled during his brief career, perhaps giving him value at this seemingly inflated price.
Rusin has faced the Diamondbacks twice since first being recalled to the Major Leagues in 2012, and while we went just five innings on each occasion, he allowed a grand total of three earned runs and only five hits with eight strikeouts over those 10 frames. He also enters this start in fairly good current form after allowing five earned runs in 12 innings over his last two outings while getting credited with two official Quality Starts.
Trouble Beating Southpaws
Finally, the Diamondbacks have had their fair share of difficulties vs. left-handed starters going just 9-19 in their last 28 games against them overall and 6-13 in their last 19 games against them here at home.
Look for Rusin to help continue those struggles for the Diamondbacks vs. southpaws, thus making Colorado a nice underdog play visiting Arizona in Phoenix on Thursday.
MLB Pick: Rockies +133