MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, July 8, 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 slumping first place team may have its hands full with a last place team on Monday night when Mike Minor and the division leading Atlanta Braves (50-38, 21-25 away) pay a visit to Kevin Slowey and the basement dwelling Miami Marlins (42-42, 25-18 home) in the first game of a three-game series from Marlins Ballpark in Miami, FL at 7:10 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Miami as a decided home underdog for this contest at current odds of +142.

The Braves still lead the National League East, but their lead over the second place Washington Nationals has shrunk to four games as Atlanta has now lost four of its last five games after losing two out of three games to the Philadelphia Phillies on the road this weekend. Furthermore, this skid began when the Braves lost the last two games of a three-game series to these Marlins back home in Atlanta last week.

Those two home losses notwithstanding, what sticks out when looking at the Braves’ record is that they have the best home record in all of baseball at 29-13, but they are four games under .500 when they play on the road like they are here at 21-25. Moreover, their Monday starter Minor appears to have hit a wall as of late.

Minor has good overall numbers at 8-4 with a 3.15 ERA and an excellent 1.12 WHIP, but practically all of that success came over the first 10 weeks or so of the season. Minor only has one Quality Start in his last four outings despite facing weak offenses in three of them, and even the one Quality Start just met the minimum requirement to qualify as one and he was not sharp while allowing three earned runs on nine hits in six innings vs. the Kansas City Royals.

Ironically, the Kansas City offense was the best offense he faced during his slump, as the three non-quality efforts came vs. the weak-hitting San Francisco Giants, New York Mets and these Marlins in his last start on Wednesday when he was touched up for four earned runs on six hits plus three walks in six innings while taking the loss in a 6-3 defeat.

The Marlins may have the worst record in the National League but their pitching has been passable with a 3.92 team ERA and the starting pitchers have actually kept Miami in games as of late with a cumulative 3.25 ERA over the last 10 contests. Slowey of course has not been a part of that as he was delegated to the bullpen after posting a 9.20 ERA in his last three starts and will be making his first start since June 16th.

However, Slowey does have an excellent ratio of 69 strikeouts vs. 17 walks in 85 innings and he has pitched in some tough luck, yielding an abnormal .328 BABIP helping lead to his 3-6 record, 4.24 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. Slowey’s strikeout-to-walk rate as an indication that his stuff is still good though and that his BABIP should stabilize, and once that happens, Slowey can return to being the serviceable Major League pitcher he has always been with a 42-35 career record.

It also helps that despite being in first place, the Braves are only averaging 3.97 runs per nine innings vs. right-handed pitchers on the road offensively, so take the Marlins to pull their third straight upset in this head-to-head series on Monday.

[gameodds]3/238277/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Marlins +142