MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, April 7, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an MLB overlay that has a better chance of cashing than its odds, offering long term value. Here is their Underdog Value Play for Monday.

The home underdog is dangerous Monday night when All-Star Matt Moore and the Tampa Bay Rays (4-3, 0-0 away) pay a visit to newly acquired Jason Vargas and those Kansas City Royals (2-3, 2-1 home) at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, MO at 8:10 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Kansas City as a small underdog for this contest at current odds of +106.

The Rays have become perennial contenders for the American League East title and they are already in first place at this early stage, albeit with a nondescript 4-3 record. Tampa Bay is winning with pitching, ranking second in the American League in team ERA though seven games at 2.57, trailing only the Oakland Athletics.

The young Royals have teased fans with stretches of greatness the last few years, and they had a winning season last year at 86-76 behind two playoffs teams in the American League Central in the division winning Detroit Tigers and the wild card Cleveland Indians. Kansas City has promise this year of finally breaking through with a playoff appearance of its own, although it is off to a 2-3 start and manning the basement of the division through five games.

Tampa Bay just took two out of three from the Texas Rangers this weekend, winning the first two games before getting shut out in the series finale in the season debut of Yu Darvish on Sunday. The Rays now hit the road for the first time this young season.

Moore made the All-Star team last season when he finished at 17-4 with a 3.29 ERA, but unlike the rest of the Tampa Bay staff, he did not pitch well in his first 2014 start as he took the 3-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays while being lucky to escape with allowing two earned runs in 5.2 innings as he was touched up for six hits and issued three walks vs. only four strike outs, and he also allowed a home run to Jose Bautista.

He now must face a team that he has not had any success against, as Moore has made two starts vs. the Royals in his career with both starts coming in the last two years, and he surrendered a total of nine earned runs on 17 hits plus six walks in 12.2 innings. At least Moore is not alone, as facing the Royals brought out the worst of a good Tampa Bay pitching staff last season as it posted a 7.95 ERA as a whole while going 1-6 vs. Kansas City in the season series.

Like the Rays, Kansas City took two out of three this past weekend while winning the first two games before losing the series finale to a stud pitcher, in this case Chris Sale.

The Royals acquired Vargas from the Los Angeles Angels during the off-season and he got a very unfortunate no-decision in his Kansas City debut as he tossed a gem vs. the hard-hitting Tigers allowing just one run on five hits in seven innings with six strikeouts vs. one walk, but he had the misfortune of being matched up with reigning Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer.

Vargas could have continued success here vs. a Tampa Bay offense struggling vs. southpaws early on batting .194 against them. Also, do not forget that while the Kansas City bullpen is off to a slow start, the Royals had one of the best bullpens in all of baseball last season and figure to be again this year, so this team should be hard to beat with a lead in the late innings.

Add in an underdog price at home and Kansas City offers nice value in this battle of southpaws on Monday.

[gameodds]3/261236/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Royals +106