MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Saturday

LT Profits Sports Group

Saturday, June 22, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

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.

The home underdogs could have the advantage Saturday night vs. a pitcher that probably does not deserve to be a decided road favorite when Dan Straily and the Oakland Athletics (44-32, 22-20 away) pay a visit to veteran Aaron Harang and those Seattle Mariners (32-43, 18-18 home) in the second game of a weekend three-game series from Safeco Field in Seattle, WA at 10:10 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Seattle as a nice underdog for this contest at current odds of +121.

The Athletics are still in first place by one game over the Texas Rangers in the American League West despite just losing three out of four games to those Rangers in Arlington earlier this week, as they maintained their division lead by beating the Mariners 6-3 behind Barolo Colon in the series opener here in the Emerald City last night. The Mariners meanwhile are in fourth place 11½ games behind Oakland, but Seattle has been pesky going .500 at home.

The Athletics made an incredible and unexpected late surge last season to win the division on the season’s final day by beating Texas head-to-head, and fine young starting pitching had a lot to do with that amazing run. However, the starting pitching has been disappointing this year with the starters having just a 4.10 ERA collectively, and Straily has been part of that disappointment.

Straily was supposed to be the next big pitching star developed in the Oakland minor league system when he first came up last season, and he showed some nice promise while posting a 3.89 ERA in seven starts. However, Straily’s growing pains have been evident this year, as while he has shown some brief glimpses of greatness he has been mostly erratic despite a winning 4-2 record, evidenced by his 4.97 ERA after another rough start on Monday.

Straily was touched up for six earned runs on eight hits while lasting only 4.2 innings in that start vs. the Rangers with just one strikeout. Speaking of strikeouts, Straily disturbingly has only 48 of them in 63.1 innings after being a strikeout machine at every minor league level he stopped at, suggesting that perhaps he should develop one more pitch to gain consistency at the Major League level.

On top of this, Straily was hit hard in his only start vs. Seattle this season, allowing six earned runs in only five innings while allowing six hits and walking four. That does not exactly exude confidence at a favored price on the road in this spot.

Now Harang obviously has his best days well behind him, but he has been able to step up lately for the Mariners by allowing one earned run or less in three of his last five starts including two Complete Game shutouts vs. the San Diego Padres and Houston Astros respectively. Also his career vs. the Athletics consists of 3.2 innings, so he should be able to take advantage of an Oakland lineup that is mostly unfamiliar with him.

Finally Harang has a sensational ratio of 56 strikeouts against nine walks in 59.2 innings this season, so he appears to give Seattle long-term value at this underdog price at home Saturday.

[gameodds]3/236993/238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Mariners +121