MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, August 5, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

Monday, Aug. 5, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

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.

One of the hottest teams in baseball may get cooled off with an overrated pitcher on the mound Monday night when Kevin Correia and the Minnesota Twins (48-60, 22-33 away) pay a visit to Jeremy Guthrie and those red-hot Kansas City Royals (56-52, 27-24 home) in the first game of a three-game series from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, MO at 8:10 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Minnesota as a road underdog for this contest at current odds of +143.

The Royals have thrust themselves into playoff contention by winning 11 of their last 12 games mostly due to great pitching, leaving Kansas City 7½ games behind the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central Division race and 4½ games behind the Cleveland Indians for the second and last American League wild card spot.

That pitching has amazingly allowed three runs or less in all 11 wins over the last 12 games, and even the one loss was just 4-2 and came on a walk-off two-run homer in extra innings, so by right that streak of allowing three runs or less should probably be at 12 games. With that being said however, we feel that the weakest link in the Kansas City rotation makes the Royals vulnerable this evening.

Guthrie as an undeserved 11-7 record when you consider that he has a 4.22 ERA and 1.40 WHIP while yielding a high .273 batting average, and Sabremetrically Guthrie has the third worst FIP in the Major Leagues among qualifying pitchers at 5.32 and also the third worst xFIP at 4.80. And yet, Guthrie is 4-1 in his last five starts, making him a prime candidate for some major regression.

This game is a pitching rematch from last Wednesday when Guthrie and the Royals beat Correia and the Twins 4-3, but whenever there is an immediate rematch like this that does not involve elite pitchers the opposite result of the first meeting often takes place as adjustments are made on both sides. That becomes doubly true if the winning pitcher has been outperforming his peripherals like Guthrie has.

The veteran 33-year-old Correia is 7-7 while pitching for a team that is 12 games under .500 with a 4.49 ERA, and while those are not mind-boggling numbers, he has been more serviceable than most of the other Minnesota starters and the Twins have gone a quasi-respectable 10-11 in all of his starts.

Correia has allowed three runs or less in three of his four career starts vs. the Royals, including that loss last week where he allowed only two runs in six innings. He also does have the support of a Minnesota bullpen that has a spiffy 1.54 ERA and 0.79 WHIP over the last 10 games, and he is facing a Kansas City offense batting a modest .249 vs. right-handed pitches at home this season while averaging only 3.83 runs per nine innings against them.

With all things considered, Minnesota appears to offer long-term value at this nice underdog price on Monday.


MLB Pick: Twins +143

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