MLB Pick: Total Value Play of the Day Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, May 1, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Thursday, May. 1, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out an MLB total that does not add up and offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Thursday.

It could be a lower scoring game than expected in a matchup of strikeout pitchers Thursday night when Marco Estrada and the Milwaukee Brewers (20-8, 11-2 away) pay a visit to Homer Bailey and the Cincinnati Reds (12-15, 5-6 home) at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, OH at 7:10 ET.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -114.

The Brewers have been the biggest surprise in baseball at 20-8 as we are set to begin the month of May, and they are a remarkable 11-2 on the road with the second defeat coming yesterday in St. Louis after winning the first two games of the series, making the Brew Crew a perfect four for four in road series won so far. What is even more remarkable is that they have been without Ryan Braun, Jean Segura and Aramis Ramirez for the last several games.

The Reds are the team here that was expected to compete for the National League Central title, and they may very well do so before this season is over, but they enter this contest as losers of four of their last five games and in third place 7½ games behind these Brewers. The Reds have been struggling to score runs, managing only 14 of them in the last six games with a woeful team batting average of .212 over this span.

Estrada has always been a big strikeout pitchers since being called up to the majors by the Washington Nationals back in 2008 before joining the Brewers in 2010, as he has 409 strikeouts in 421.2 big league innings. However, he had trouble with the other aspects of his game until beginning to break through last season, and he may now be starting to peak after another nice Quality Start vs. the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.

Estrada has now allowed three runs or less in all five of his starts this season with four official Quality Starts, and he is one out shy of being five for five as he was pulled after 5.2 innings in his season debut after allowing just one earned run and four hits. He is 2-1 with a 2.87 ERA and 0.96 WHIP while yielding just a .216 batting average, and he has a very nice ratio of 28 strikeouts vs. six walks in 31.1 innings.

He has also done his best pitching on the road where Estrada is 4-0 with a 1.12 ERA in his last nine starts going back to last season, and he was brilliant the last time he faced the Reds tossing seven scoreless innings while allowing just one measly hit and striking out nine right here in the Queen City last August.

Now, Bailey has been a disappointment in the early going after signing a big contract extension for the Reds during the off-season, as he is 1-2 with a lofty 6.15 ERA and 1.78 WHIP and just one Quality Start in five outings so far.

Those numbers are very deceiving though as he has allowed an unfathomable .416 BABIP, which is certain to normalize, and he still has his customary 29 strikeouts in 26.1 innings. Add in a decent 48.2 percent groundball rate and Bailey actually has a quite good 3.12 xFIP, so he should be just fine going forward.

Granted Bailey is just 3-7 with a 5.36 ERA lifetime vs. the Brewers, but he did post Quality Starts in each of his last three appearances against them last season. Of course, it also helps to probably not have to face Braun tonight also.

Thus, although it may not seem like an obvious selection at first glance, go ‘under’ in Cincinnati on Thursday.


MLB Pick: Brewers, Reds ‘under’ 7½ (-114)

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