MLB Pick: Total Value Play of the Day Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, June 19, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Thursday, Jun. 19, 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.

Runs may be hard to come by in the Bay Area Thursday night when right-hander Jake Peavy and the Boston Red Sox (34-38, 14-19 away) pay a visit to southpaw and Comeback Player of the Year candidate Scott Kazmir and the Oakland Athletics (44-28, 21-14 home) in the first game of a four-game series from Coliseum in Oakland, CA at 10:05 ET.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -123.

The Athletics now have the best record in all of baseball and they extended their lead over the second place Los Angeles Angels in the American League West to five games by taking the rubber game of a three-game set from the Rangers on Thursday 4-2 behind seven strong innings from Sonny Gray, who allowed the two runs on one swing of the bat by Shin-Soo Choo.

The defending World Champion Red Sox meanwhile continue to disappoint at four games under .500 while sitting only in fourth place in the American League East, although their saving grace is they still trail the first place Toronto Blue Jays by a manageable 6½ games. That will not matter much though if the Red Sox do not start scoring some runs, as they have now distressingly scored two runs or less in five straight games.

Incredibly, Boston still comes off of a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins, which speaks to how well the pitching has been lately with the Red Sox winning those games by scores of 1-0, 2-1 and 2-1 respectively!

Speaking of pitching, Kazmir’s career was believed to be over a couple of years ago when he was out of organized baseball altogether in 2012. He then resurfaced with the Cleveland Indians last season with mixed results as he finished 10-9 with a 4.04 ERA, but he is now pitching like a Cy Young contender in his first season in Oakland and showing no signs of slowing down.

Kazmir is 8-2 and is second in the American League with his 2.05 ERA. He also has a tiny 0.98 WHIP and 72 strikeouts vs. just 20 walks in 88 innings. Most importantly he is maintaining that great form as Kazmir has allowed a grand total of two runs and 13 hits over his last three starts with 19 strikeouts in 19.1 innings.

He now gets a chance to continue that success vs. a Boston offense that is batting just .199 overall while averaging 1.80 runs in those last five games. Kazmir has not faced the Red Sox this season but he pitched well in his only start vs. the World Champion Boston team last season allowing two runs on five hits with six strikeouts.

Now, Peavy has been a disappointment since the Red Sox acquired him from the Chicago White Sox last season, and he remains just 1-4 with a 4.53 ERA and 1.44 WHIP this season. However he may have turned a corner in his last start vs. the Cleveland Indians when he allowed one run in six innings Saturday, and while he has yet to face the Athletics this season, he did toss a Complete Game three-hit shutout here in this stadium the last time he faced them.

This game also features two of the best bullpens in the American League, as Boston is second in the league with a 2.80 ERA and Oakland is third with a 2.95 ERA, and the Red Sox will most likely pull Peavy at the first hint if trouble with full knowledge that they do not expect to score many runs tonight, unless of course Peavy can duplicate Saturday’s performance.

With all of this in mind, look for a low scoring affair and for these teams to stay ‘under’ the total in Oakland on Thursday.

MLB Pick: Red Sox, Athletics ‘under’ 7½ (-123)

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