MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, June 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 Monday.

A last place team has a good chance to complete a seemingly improbable four-game sweep on Monday night when Jose Quintana and the punchless Chicago White Sox (28-38, 12-24 away) pay a visit to Bud Norris and those Houston Astros (26-44, 13-23 home) in the final game of a four-game series from Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX at 8:10 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Houston as a home underdog for this contest at current odds of +103.

The Astros were once 10-30 this season but they have gone 16-14 since then including a current four-game winning streak that was extended over the first three games of this series despite the White Sox being favored in every game as they are again tonight. Sure that still leaves Houston with the worst record in the American League at 26-44, but at least the Astros continue to give it their all every night.

The biggest improvement in the Astros lately has been their pitching as Houston as a 2.96 team ERA over the last 10 games with the starters posting a cumulative 2.78 ERA over that time. Granted they have benefitted the last nine games by facing three struggling offenses in the White Sox, Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals, but they are enjoying that same benefit tonight while going for the sweep of Chicago.

Norris is 5-6 with a good 3.47 ERA over the entire season and he has reeled off five consecutive Quality Starts. He also has a winning record at Minute Maid Park at 3-2 while pitching for a team that is still just 13-23 at home even after taking the last three games here, with a 2.28 ERA in eight home starts. Norris has also been involved in some trade rumors involving the San Francisco Giants, but it has obviously not affected his fine recent form.

So now it is Norris’s turn to take advantage of a White Sox offense that ranks dead last in the American League in runs scored at 3.59 per game while batting .236 as a team overall, and Chicago is averaging just 3.40 runs per nine innings vs. right-handed pitching on the road.

Now, Quintana has not pitched badly for the White Sox at all, but just like to rest of the staff, he has suffered from a lack of run support. Quintana has just five decisions in 13 starts, but at least he has a winning record at 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA. However, he has very little margin for error when you combine his offense’s ineptness and Norris’s form for the Astros, and the southpaw is facing a Houston offense that has been surprisingly good vs. left-handers this season.

You see the Astros are batting .261 and averaging 4.51 runs per nine innings vs. southpaws this year, compared to a miserable .227 average and 3.55 runs per nine vs. right-handers. Furthermore, Houston is batting .273 and averaging a whopping 5.78 runs per game vs. left-handers at home!

A four-game sweep by the Astros may have seemed improbable before this series began, but we see no reason why they cannot pull their fourth straight upset given the pitching matchup on Monday.

[gameodds]3/236562/238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Astros +103