MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, June 2, 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 road underdogs could hold value in an intrastate interleague rivalry game on national TV Monday when southpaw Danny Duffy and the Kansas City Royals (26-30, 13-16 away) pay a visit to right-hander Shelby Miller and the St. Louis Cardinals (30-27, 16-12 home) in a “Show Me State” battle from Busch Stadium in St. Louis, MO at 8:10 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Kansas City as a nice underdog for this contest at current odds of +136.

This is actually the first of four meetings between these Missouri rivals this week with the teams playing here at Busch tonight and tomorrow and the then in Kansas City Wednesday and Thursday. The defending National League Champion Cardinals are in a lull right now having lost four of their last five games including three out of four here at home to the San Francisco Giants this past weekend.

That still leaves St. Louis in second place in the National League Central, four games behind the surprising Milwaukee Brewers. The Royals meantime come off of a disappointing four-game split vs. the Toronto Blue Jays in Canada, as after winning the first two games of that series, losses in the final two games have dropped them to last place in the American League Central although only 6½ games behind the prohibitive favorites to win the division, the Detroit Tigers.

St. Louis starter Miller comes off of a fine rookie season where he won 15 games, he posted a 3.06 ERA and 1.21 WHIP and he recorded 169 strikeouts vs. just 57 walks in 173.1 innings. However he has had nowhere near that kind of form in this, his sophomore season, despite a deceptive 6-4 record and he was lit up for seven earned runs on nine hits in just five innings with two walks and only one strikeout vs. the New York Yankees last time out.

Besides his record, Miller’s mainstream numbers are down across the board this year as he has only a 3.94 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and a disappointing 46 strikeouts vs. 32 walks in 61.2 innings with nine home runs allowed. His sabremetric are not any prettier as Miller has the sixth worst FIP in the Major Leagues this season among qualified pitchers at 5.12, and the worst news of all is that he has actually been pitching with pretty good luck, allowing a fairly low .275 BABIP!

That means that Miller has actually been worse than his already mediocre numbers, making him possibly overvalued at the present time, and it is not a given that the St. Louis bullpen will bail him out given that unit’s very ordinary 3.81 ERA this season.

Duffy pitched well in his first three starts after entering the Kansas City rotation allowing two runs in 17 innings, although he has since been hit hard in his last two outings allowing exactly five earned runs on each occasion. He even carried a perfect game into the seventh inning vs. the Baltimore Orioles three starts ago before being suddenly ineffective his last two starts.

However, we like his chances to get back on track at a nice underdog price tonight because, just like last season, the biggest Achilles Heel for the Cardinals this year has been left-handed pitching. You see, St. Louis is batting a meager .228 vs. southpaws for the season while averaging only 3.35 runs per nine innings against them.

Look for Duffy to give the Royals six effective innings before turning things over to a Kansas City bullpen that is full of young live arms. That unit is currently sixth in the American League with a 3.75 bullpen ERA, but look for that figure to shrink between now and the end of the season.

Add this all up and Kansas City appears to offer nice value at this dog price in St. Louis on Monday.

[gameodds]3/287250/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Royals +136