MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, April 21, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Monday, Apr. 21, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

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 team with the worst record in the Major Leagues may actually hold value vs. another struggling franchise Monday night when Bronson Arroyo and those Arizona Diamondbacks (5-16, 4-5 away) pay a visit to Travis Wood and the Chicago Cubs (5-12, 3-6 home) at Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL at 8:05 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Arizona as a decided underdog for this contest at current odds of +118.

The Diamondbacks led the National League West last year for three months before being overtaken by the Los Angeles Dodgers in July, and they finished at .500 at 81-81. That seemed to be their proper level entering this season, so the league-worst 5-16 start is surprising, especially Arizona being an alarming 1-11 at home. So perhaps the fact that the Diamondbacks are on the road here where they are a quasi-respectable 4-5 could be a good thing!

The Cubs have the second worst record in the National League at 4-12, but in this case the struggles were expected. Many experts picked the Cubs to finish last in the National League Central this season and they are already there, sitting eight games behind the first place Milwaukee Brewers at this early stage of the year. And this is after finishing last in the division last season at 66-96.

The Diamondbacks are not really as bad as their record, and neither is their starter Bronson Arroyo, who is 1-1 with a fat 9.95 ERA and 1.97 WHIP. Those numbers are greatly skewed by his one awful start last time out vs. the New York Mets in Phoenix though where he was charged with nine earned runs on 10 hits in 3.1 innings. Arroyo was much better than that in his first two starts as a Diamondback after signing on as a free agent this off-season.

And Arizona will continue to count on Arroyo with their All-Star pitcher from last year Patrick Corbin out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. We still think that the 37-year-old will be up for the challenge and having to face the Cubs in never a bad thing these days.

Arroyo sparkled in three starts vs. the Cubs last year as a member of the Reds, allowing a grand total of five runs and 15 hits in 20 innings with 15 strikeouts vs. just two walks while limiting Chicago to a .208 batting average. He now gets to face a Cubs’ team batting .222 vs. right-handed pitchers this year.

Now, Wood had a nice year for the Cubbies last year making the All-Star team despite finishing with a 9-12 record, as he had a fine 3.11 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. However, those conventional numbers outperformed his Sabremetric numbers that had him with a 3.89 FIP and a worse 4.50 xFIP, as he was greatly aided by an abnormally low .248 BABIP.

Thus some regression is likely this season and it may have begun in his last start vs. the New York Yankees were he was touched up for 11 hits in 5.2 innings despite escaping with only two runs allowed in a 2-0 loss. Wood has also not recorded a Quality Start in any of his last three starts vs. Arizona with the most recent coming last season, allowing a total of 15 earned runs on 20 hits plus seven walks in 15.2 innings over those three outings.

Add in that the Cubs should probably not be favored by this much over any team in the league and Arizona appears to have good value at an underdog price at Wrigley on Monday.


MLB Pick: Diamondbacks +118

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