MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Saturday

LT Profits Sports Group

Saturday, June 15, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

Saturday, Jun. 15, 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 Saturday.

There may actually be good value in going against one of the best pitchers in baseball on Saturday night when Anibal Sanchez and the Detroit Tigers (37-28, 15-18 away) pay a visit to Samuel Deduno and the Minnesota Twins (29-35, 15-16 home) in the second game of a three-game series from Target Field in Minneapolis, MN at 7:15 ET in a game televised regionally on FOX.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Minnesota as a fairly big home underdog for this contest at current odds of +147.

Now make no mistake, the Tigers are obviously one of the better teams in baseball as they lead the American League Central and they have won four of the last five meetings with the Twins, first taking three out of four games in Detroit a couple of weeks ago before shutting out Minnesota Friday 4-0 in the series opener here in the Twin Cities as Rick Porcello outdueled Scott Diamond.

The Tigers have been renowned for their offense, and deservedly so as they boast a triple crown winning in Miguel Cabrera and currently lead the Major Leagues in batting at .279 while averaging 5.05 runs per game. But what can make Detroit truly special this season is the depth of a starting rotation that has a collective 3.35 ERA with a terrific 1.11 WHIP to go along with that hitting.

The Tigers have three pitchers that are in the top 10 in the Major Leagues in FIP with Sanchez ranking in the top two all season. He is currently second in FIP at 1.78, just slightly behind Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals with those two being the only pitchers in baseball with a FIP below 2.00. Sanchez has reached that status with an impressive 98 strikeouts in 78 innings against only 19 walks and three home runs allowed.

So why are we going against him today? Well, believe it or not, Sanchez is just 6-5 despite his great FIP along with a 2.65 ERA and 1.09 WHIP, so while he has been great overall, he has come up a tad short in clutch situations.

More importantly, Sanchez has severe home vs. away splits, going 5-1 with a 1.64 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, a .169 batting average allowed and 63 strikeouts vs. nine walks in 44 innings at Comerica Park, which are all phenomenal numbers. However, he plummets to 1-4 with a 3.97 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, a .296 batting average allowed and 35 strikeouts vs. 10 walks on the road, where he has allowed all three of his home runs.

Those road numbers combined with his 0-1 record in three career starts at Target Field with a high 1.56 WHIP and .309 average allowed appear to make Sanchez and the Tigers overlays in this spot.

The Twins are actually surpassing expectations while in fourth place at six games below .500 and a reasonable 7½ games back of the Tigers, as this is a team that finished with the worst record in the American League last season at 66-96. They also activated Trevor Plouffe off of the Disabled List following last night’s shutout loss, which should give the offense a boost today.

And then there is Deduno, who after getting hit hard in his first start this season, has pitched very well over his last three outings while allowing only three earned runs on 14 hits in 18 innings, leading to a 1.50 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, and while he has just 11 strikeouts in those starts, it has not mattered because he is getting great downward movement, with an unworldly groundball-to-flyball ratio of 7.25 over those three outings and 6.50 over the season.

One thing that the Tigers lack is team speed, so as long as Deduno keeps throwing grounders, Minnesota offers long-term value at this price at home even with Sanchez as the opponent on Saturday.


MLB Pick: Twins +147

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