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 underdogs seem to have value Friday night in a National League West rivalry that is one of the best in baseball when rookie right-hander Chris Heston and the San Francisco Giants (36-32, 19-14 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Mike Bolsinger and the Los Angeles Dodgers (38-29, 26-11 home) for the first game of a three-game weekend series from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA at 10:10 ET in a game available on NBC - Bay Area.
The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has San Francisco as a road underdog for this contest at current odds of +139.
Top Two Teams in NL West
Besides this being a long-standing rivalry that has spanned both coasts, these are also the top two teams in the West Division with the first place Dodgers leading the second place Giants by just 2½ games. San Francisco earned a split of its four-game home-and-home series vs. the Mariners by winning in Seattle 7-0 last night, keeping pace with the Dodgers and thus making it possible to take over first place with a sweep of this series.
The Giants have also helped their standing by dominating this head-to-head series this year winning seven of the nine meetings.
The Dodgers were the losing MLB picks in their first three games vs. the Texas Rangers to help allow the Giants to draw closer in the standings before salvaging that series finale here at home 1-0 on Thursday thanks to seven scoreless innings from Zack Greinke.
Heston Looks Like Real Deal
Heston has not been very consistent in his first full season in the Major Leagues, but he has the kind of stuff that allowed him to toss a no-hitter vs. the New York Mets two starts ago and he does have a very respectable 3.76 ERA despite his 6-5 record. The rookie had very good peripheral numbers too, which may suggest more good outings and better consistency in the future.
He has excellent command numbers with 72 strikeouts vs. 22 walks in 79 innings, including striking out 11 while not issuing a single walk during his no-hitter, and he ranks seventh in the Major Leagues among qualified starters with a 56.0 percent groundball rate. That has helped lead to an excellent 3.33 FIP and 3.24 xFIP, and his BABIP allowed of .310 also has some room for downward regression, especially while allowing so many ground balls.
This will be Heston’s first ever start vs. the Dodgers, which should make him tougher to hit.
Regression Time for Bolsinger?
Bolsinger is having a dream season for the Dodgers at 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA and 1.10 WHIP, but he is the opposite of Heston as Bolsinger is highly unlikely to maintain this pace. After all, this is the same pitcher that was discarded by an Arizona Diamondbacks team that is not exactly rich in pitching after going 1-6 with a lofty 5.50 ERA last season.
Bolsinger is a soft tosser that only averages in the low to mid-80s with his fastball, and he has benefitted greatly from a 270 BABIP allowed and an astounding 82.0 percent strand rate that will certainly not continue. And his downward spiral may have begun as he only lasted 4.2 innings vs. the San Diego Padres last time out, when he was fortunate to only be charged with two earned runs allowed while allowing six hits plus three walks and laboring through 89 pitches.
He is facing a San Francisco lineup whose best batting split this year has been vs. right-handed pitchers on the road, as the Giants are batting a whopping .282 and averaging a hearty 5.25 runs in this circumstance.
Beware of Dangerous Dogs
Finally, the Giants have thrived as underdogs going a lucrative 11-4 the last 15 times they have been cast in this role. Additionally they are five games over .500 on the road this season at 19-14 compared to a disappointing 17-18 at home in A&T Park.
Look for those patterns to hold up here given the directions that we expect these starting pitchers to go, so back San Francisco as a nice underdog visiting the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.
MLB Pick: Giants +139