MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Friday

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, October 4, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

Friday, Oct. 4, 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.

Despite the presence of the probable American League Cy Young Award winner on the mound Friday, the underdogs could still hold value when Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers pay a visit to the ageless Bartolo Colon and the Oakland Athletics in Game 1 of the ALDS from O.co Coliseum in Oakland, CA at 9:37 ET in a game televised nationally on TBS.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Oakland as a home underdog for this contest at current odds of +112.

The Tigers seem to have the pitching edge in this series, especially if they opt to go with a three-man rotation in a best-of-five series with Scherzer and Justin Verlander going twice each, but in our minds, Game 1 is the Athletics’ best chance to win a game with a well-rested Colon going at home.

The A’s earned the home field here by finishing with the second best record in the American League, beating out the third seeded Tigers by three games with both teams lagging behind the Boston Red Sox, who finished tied with the St. Louis Cardinals of the National League for the best record in all of baseball. With that said, the Oakland pitching rotation looks very suspect in this series after Colon, making this practically a must-win for the A’s to have a chance.

The Tigers on the other hand have three of the top seven ranked pitchers in the Major Leagues in WAR, with Scherzer ranking second behind only his probable Cy Young counterpart in the National League in Clayton Kershaw. Scherzer finished an outstanding 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA and 0.97 WHIP while displaying great command with 240 strikeouts vs. 56 walks. That is not to say he does not enter this start with a couple of red flags.

For starters and for reasons known only to Manager Jim Leyland, Scherzer was allowed to throw a season-high 123 pitches in his final start of the year. Yes he tossed seven shutout innings vs. the Minnesota Twins and allowed only two hits, but he ran up his pitch count with 10 strikeouts and an uncharacteristic six walks.

A second area of concern is that one of Scherzer’s worst outings of the season came vs. these Athletics back in Detroit on August 29th when he was roughed up for six runs (five earned) on eight hits in just five innings with the disciplined Oakland lineup working the count so well that Max needed 101 pitches to labor through those five innings.

The 40-year-old Colon meanwhile could be a Comeback Player of the Year candidate after going 18-6 on the year with a remarkable 2.65 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. Colon also closed out the year in style by going 3-0 while allowing just two runs and 15 hits with 23 strikeouts in 20 innings vs. three walks over his last three starts.

This is actually a pitching rematch of the aforementioned night when the A’s roughed up Scherzer pretty good, and Colon allowed just one run on seven hits in that contest and appeared to be on his way to victory before Detroit rallied in the ninth inning off the Oakland bullpen and won it on a Torii Hunter walk-off homer.

As mentioned, this could be the A’s best chance to win a game in this series because Colon will be followed in the rotation by a coupe of question marks, and if the A’s are forced to bring back Colon on three days rest for Game 4, there in no telling how the 40-year-old would react. With that in mind, we will back the Athletics at an underdog price in Game 1 Friday.

[gameodds]3/246513/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Athletics +112

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