MLB Pick: Total Value Play of the Day Wednesday

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Wednesday, Jun. 25, 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 Wednesday.

There could be a rather surprising pitching duel Wednesday night when southpaw Alex Wood and the Atlanta Braves (39-37, 19-19 away) pay a visit to right-hander Collin McHugh and the Houston Astros (33-45, 17-21 home) in the second game of a three-game series from Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX at 8:10 ET.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 8 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -107.

The Astros have been in last place in the American League West all season, but at least they looked more competitive earlier on than they did while finishing with the worst record in baseball each of the last three years. However they are starting to come back to earth as they have lost eight of their last 10 games to fall to 12 games under .500, although they are still 2½ games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays for the worst record in the American League.

The Braves topped the National League East for much of this early season, but they have gone just 5-8 over their last 13 games even with a 3-2 win here in Houston Tuesday to fall into second place, two games behind the Washington Nationals. The Braves continue to have the all-or-nothing personality that they have had from the last couple of seasons, as they are 11th in the Major Leagues in total home runs with 73 but 29th in runs scored at just 3.57 per game.

The Houston starter McHugh has been a revelation this season after going 0-8 over two brief Major League stints over the last two years. Those stints were so brief that McHugh is still a rookie this year, and out of nowhere he has posted a 2.76 ERA and 1.09 WHIP while yielding a .192 batting average with 72 strikeouts vs. 25 walks in 65.1 innings while going 4-5 for a last place team.

Most impressively McHugh has maintained his fine form allowing three earned runs or less in each of his last six starts, and even his sabremetrics are good as he has a 2.97 FIP and 3.46 xFIP. Also this will be his first ever appearance vs. the Braves, which is usually to the pitcher’s advantage.

Furthermore he is facing an Atlanta offense that has not done much when it is not hitting home runs, especially vs. right-handed pitchers against whom the Braves are batting just .233 while averaging 3.33 runs per nine innings over this entire season.

The lefty Wood also has a deceptive record at 5-6 for Atlanta, as he has a 3.43 ERA and an even better ratio than McHugh of 63 strikeouts vs. 15 walks in 60.1 innings. Wood was highly regarded as he climbed through the minor league ranks and he has not disappointed since making the leap to the Major Leagues as he posted a 3.13 ERA in his first season last year in 31 appearances including 11 starts. He has also made 11 relief appearances this year.

However, he is now making his eighth start while taking the rotation spot of Gavin Floyd and he has a chance to stick in the Atlanta rotation if he continues the fine work he has displayed thus far. It helps that he is facing a Houston offense that is batting just .196 over the last 10 games while averaging just 2.80 runs per game overall including a .224 average vs. left-handed pitching. This is also Wood’s first ever appearance vs. the Astros.

Therefore, look for both hurlers to pull their weight in a low scoring contest from Houston on Wednesday.

MLB Pick: Braves, Astros ‘under’ 8 (-107)

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