MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Sunday

LT Profits Sports Group

Sunday, August 11, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

Sunday, Aug. 11, 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 Sunday.

The continued regression of a pitcher that had an unrealistically fast start could result in an upset and a series sweep for the home team when Jeff Locke and the Pittsburgh Pirates (70-46, 29-26 away) pay a visit to Chad Bettis and the Colorado Rockies (54-64, 33-26 home) in the final game of a three-game series from Coors Field in Denver, CO at 4:10 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Colorado as a home underdog for this contest at current odds of +123.

The Pirates are one of just two teams in the Major Leagues with a winning percentage over .600 at .603 while leading the St. Louis Cardinals by four games in the National League Central, but the Rockies have not been impressed while taking the first two games of this series, first winning in a 10-1 rout Friday and then rallying for a 6-4 win last night. Those two losses leave Pittsburgh one-half game behind the Atlanta Braves for the best record in baseball.

The Rockies are in third place in the National League West but they have become an afterthought, as they are 13 games behind the first place Los Angeles Dodgers while now sitting at 10 games below .500. Colorado has played much better baseball in the altitude of home however where it is seven games over .500, compared to 17 games under .500 at a dismal 21-38 on the road.

We had Pittsburgh’s starter Locke pegged as the pitcher most likely to regress after the All-Star break and that certainly seems to be the case. Yes, he continues to be lucky with his common numbers as he is 9-3 with a 2.47 ERA overall. He has escaped with no-decisions despite being dreadful on his last two outings, but the fact of the matter is that Locke is 0-1 over his last three starts with a 4.96 ER and a hideous 2.27 WHIP with 10 walks in 16.1 innings.

There is still plenty of room left for more regression too as Locke has an ugly 4.10 xFIP, still leaving him with the biggest negative variance between xFIP and ERA in all of baseball. Especially distressing is the fact that Locke is averaging a high 4.18 walks per nine innings against a relatively low 6.72 strikeouts per nine. Also his 1.4 WAR simply does not jive with his ERA.

Locke is facing a Colorado offense that has been tough on southpaws as of late, batting .293 vs. left-handed pitchers while averaging a nice 5.09 runs per nine innings against them over the last 10 games.

The Rockies are very high on their rookie starter Bettis, who average 94 MPH with his fastball while topping out at around 98 MPH, but whose primary out pitch is his devastating slider. Bettis may have had a case of the jitters when he struggled vs. the red-hot Atlanta Braves in his first Major League start, but he was much better in his second outing vs. the New York Mets allowing two runs on four hits in five innings, so he seems set to now make his home debut.

Bettis is facing a Pittsburgh offense that is batting only .238 while averaging 3.86 runs per nine innings vs. right-handed pitchers overall this entire season. With all that in mind, Colorado seems to offer nice long-term value at this price to complete the three-game sweep on Sunday.


MLB Pick: Rockies +123

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