MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, June 23, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Monday, Jun. 23, 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.

One of the best pitchers in all of baseball could actually be a nice fade Monday night considering his offense cannot hit in its spacious home stadium when John Lackey and the Boston Red Sox (35-41, 15-22 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander and former Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez and those Seattle Mariners (40-36, 17-20 home) in the first game of a three-game series from Safeco Field in Seattle, WA at 10:10 ET in a game available on ROOT.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Boston as a road underdog for this contest at current odds of +126.

The Mariners are actually hanging around in the American League West race at four games over .500 as they are in third place and seven games behind the first place Oakland Athletics, although it is not a coincidence that they have a better record on the road (23-16) than they do here at home where they are three games under .500 as the Seattle offense is not really equipped to handle the deep dimensions of Safeco Field.

The defending World Champion Red Sox salvaged the final game vs. the team with the best record in the American League in Oakland after losing the first two games of a three-game series this past weekend, but they are still a disappointing fourth in the American League East and still six games below .500. The good news for Boston is that despite all that, it only trails the first place Toronto Blue Jays by 6½ games.

Felix Hernandez has been one of the best pitchers in the American League for many years, and this year is no exception as he is 8-2 with a 2.22 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and a sensational ratio of 122 strikeouts vs. 19 walks in 113.1 innings! King Felix comes off of a no-decision vs. the San Diego Padres while allowing one run and three hits with 10 strikeouts and no walks in seven innings, and that outing points to why he does not have an even better record.

You see, it is no coincidence that Hernandez does not get much run support at home because the fact is none of the Seattle pitchers do. The Mariners are batting just .221 overall at spacious Safeco, and they are an even worse .196 vs. right-handed pitchers in the Emerald City while averaging just 3.17 runs per nine innings against them. Thus, it is always dicey to lay big odds with the Mariners at home, even with a stud pitcher that is putting up the types of numbers that could earn him a second Cy Young Award.

Seattle’s struggles vs. right-handed pitcher benefits Lackey, and he does not really need that much help to begin with. You see, like most pitchers that have undergone Tommy John surgery, Lackey came back better than before last season despite his 10-13 record, as he had a 3.52 ERA and 161 strikeouts vs. just 40 walks.

Well, he has actually been a bit better this year and this time it is better reflected in his record as Lackey is 8-4 with a stellar 2.96 ERA and 90 strikeouts vs. 19 walks in 103.1 innings! He comes off of a masterful Complete Game three-hit shutout of the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday with nine strikeouts vs. one walk, and that gives Lackey 10 Quality Starts in his last 11 outings including allowing two runs or less in seven of those appearances.

In case he needs it, Lackey also has the support of a Boston pen that is ranked second in the American League with a 2.88 bullpen ERA, so all things considered the Red Sox appear to offer good underdog value even with Hernandez as their mound opponent on Monday.

MLB Pick: Red Sox +126

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