MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Friday

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, May 17, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

Friday, May. 17, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay underdog that has a better chance of winning than its odds, offering long term value. Here is their Underdog Value Play for Friday.

The road team not accustomed to being in a road favorite role might be receiving too much credit Friday night when James Shields and the Kansas City Royals (20-17, 10-9 away) pay a visit to Jarrod Parker and the Oakland Athletics (20-22, 10-10 home) in the opening game of a three-game series from O.co Coliseum in Oakland, CA at 10:05 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Oakland as a small home underdog for this contest at current odds of +104.

The Royals have been a pleasant surprise this season as they are just one game behind the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central and they certainly have a hot pitcher on the mound in Shields, but does this young team really merit being favored on the road at this stage? Remember that the Royals lost 90 games last year and their everyday lineup has not changed much since then.

Now the Athletics have gone into a funk since a hot start, as the defending American League West Champions have lost eight of their last 10 games to fall two games under .500. Remember though this team has been battling injuries that simultaneously had three outfielders on the Disabled List in Josh Reddick, Coco Crisp and Chris Young. The A’s are starting to get healthy and they were one of the highest scoring teams in the American League before the injuries.

Crisp returned to action on Wednesday and promptly drove in a run while Young is expected back tonight, leaving only Reddick out longer term. The return of those two players should also ease the pressure on cleanup man Yoenis Cespedes, who has probably been pressing while trying to carry the offense, explaining his current slump. If Cespedes can now return to form, Oakland can return to scoring runs like it was earlier in the season.

Starting pitcher Jarrod Parker had a fine rookie season last year winning 13 games while posting a 3.47 ERA in 29 starts, but he has been unable to follow it up this year as he is 2-5 with a 6.86 ERA and a lofty 1.84 WHIP. However, Parker may have saved his rotation spot by posting a Quality Start vs. the Seattle Mariners on Saturday and the right-hander is now facing a Kansas City lineup not hitting as well vs. righties (.255) as it is vs. lefties (.283).

While the Royals are hanging in the AL Central race, Kansas City has not exactly been setting the world on fire lately either by losing seven of its last 10 games. They are hoping to change that with Shields on the mound, who has pitched very well despite a 2-3 record, as he has a sparkling 2.48 ERA and 0.97 WHIP with 53 strikeouts vs. 14 walks in 58.0 innings.

We have always been high on Shields so his success is not surprising, but he has just a 4.08 ERA in 12 career starts vs. the Athletics and his six starts in this pitcher-friendly stadium in Oakland have not nearly been what you would expect as he has just a 4.99 ERA and 1.34 WHIP while allowing A’s batters to hit .276 here.

Those modest number combined with the Athletics being what we feel are undeserved home underdogs has us backing Oakland in this spot on Friday.

[gameodds]3/226745/238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Athletics +104

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