MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, August 19, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

Monday, Aug. 19, 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.

There could be a surprise in store in Southern California Monday night when Francisco Liriano and the division leading Pittsburgh Pirates (72-51, 30-29 away) pay a visit to Andrew Cashner and the San Diego Padres (56-68, 33-29 home) in the first game of a three-game series from Petco Park in San Diego, CA at 10:10 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has San Diego as a home underdog for this contest at current odds of +117.

The Pirates still lead the National League Central by one game, but they are heading in the wrong direction as they are 2-7 in their last nine games, first getting swept three games by the Colorado Rockies, then losing two out of three in St. Louis in a critical series vs. the Cardinals where they missed a chance to get some separation, and then returning home only to lose two out of three to the Arizona Diamondbacks this past weekend.

The Pirates now kick off a seven-game West Coast road trip without a day off that just might end up defining their season, as they have four games in vs. the San Francisco Giants in the Bay Area following this series beginning on Thursday. Pittsburgh is looking to avoid the second half collapses that characterized its last two seasons after also getting off to great starts.

Liriano is having a fine season in his first year in Pittsburgh as he is 13-5 with a sparkling 2.68 ERA overall. However, he has been batting some inconstancy as of late as he had the worst outing of his career two starts ago getting lit up for an atrocious 10 earned runs on 12 hits in just 2.1 innings by the Colorado Rockies, only to rebound with a Complete Game four-hitter while allowing only one run in the Pirates’ only win in St. Louis last week.

So which Liriano will show up here? Well, it is interesting that he has thus far avoided the one ugly stretch of games that usually plagues him every year and is the reason why he has never really lived up to his enormous potential, and he is facing a San Diego offense here that is surprisingly averaging a nice 4.52 runs per game while batting .253 vs. southpaws this season, compared to just a .238 average and 3.65 runs per nine innings vs. right-handers.

The Padres are in fourth place in the National League West and 16½ games behind the first place Los Angeles Dodgers, but they are four games over .500 here at home compared to 16 games under .500 on the road, and they displayed that home peskiness yesterday with a 4-3 win over the New York Mets in a game started by Matt Harvey.

The San Diego starter Cashner is quietly having a solid year as he is 8-7 pitching for a team that is 12 games below .500 with a 3.87 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, and he has done his best pitching here at home where he is 5-2 with a spiffy 2.51 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. Cashner has also maintained his consistency all season as he has allowed three earned runs or less in 11 of his last 12 starts regardless of the venue and in 16 of his 20 starts all year.

Thus, Cashner gives San Diego good long-term value as a home underdog on Monday.


MLB Pick: Padres +117

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