MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Saturday

LT Profits Sports Group

Saturday, July 20, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

Saturday, Jul. 20, 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 underdogs could have inherent value in a nice pitching matchup from our nation’s capital Saturday night when right-hander Zack Greinke and the Los Angeles Dodgers (48-47, 21-24 away) pay a visit to southpaw Gio Gonzalez and the Washington Nationals (48-48, 27-19 home) in the second game of a three-game series from Nationals Park in Washington, DC at 7:05 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Los Angeles as a road underdog for this contest at current odds of +116.

The Dodgers were bigger underdogs than they are tonight when they upset the Nationals at +145 odds 3-2 in the series opener, as they scored a run in the ninth inning off of Washington closer Rafael Soriano after the starters Ricky Nolasco and Stephen Strasburg both pitched well while getting no-decisions Friday.

That result simultaneously put the Dodgers one game over .500 and dropped the Nationals right to the .500 mark, but Los Angeles is in second place just 1½ behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West while Washington has now dropped to third place, one-half game behind the surging Philadelphia Phillies and seven games behind the division leading Atlanta Braves in the National League East.

The Dodgers acquired Greinke during the off-season to be the second starter behind Clayton Kershaw, and despite some inconsistencies he has mostly served his role well while going 8-2 with a 3.49 ERA and 68 strikeouts vs. 27 walks in 85 innings, and Greinke has bee brilliant while tossing 16 scoreless innings over his last two starts including a Complete Game two-hit shutout last Saturday vs. the Colorado Rockies with nine strikeouts and one walk.

Yes, Greinke has always had severe home/away splits at every stop he has made in his Major League career, but he did toss seven scoreless innings on the road at Arizona two starts back and he is now facing a struggling Washington lineup that is batting .236 overall while averaging just 3.74 runs per game this year, making Greinke an attractive proposition as an underdog.

Granted, Gonzalez finished third in the Cy Young race last season and he is in raging form right now having allowed three runs or less in eight straight starts. However, this is the first time in a while that he has not had a decided edge over his mound opponent and he is facing an offense that is much improved over earlier in the season, mainly due to the emergence of rookie Yasiel Puig, who was in the starting lineup last night after injuring his shoulder last week.

Thanks to that improved offense, the Dodgers are 19-7 in their last 26 games following Friday’s win, a surge that has enabled them to go from being in last place to being on the verge of taking the division lead, and the run has certainly done wonders for the job security of Manager Don Mattingly, who appeared to be on the hot seat just one month ago.

We feel that a red-hot Los Angeles team with a hot pitcher in Greinke offers long-term value as an underdog to the offensively challenged Nationals, even with the hot Gonzalez as the mound opponent Saturday.

[gameodds]3/239600/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Dodgers +116

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