MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, May 16, 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 tern value. Here is their Underdog Value Play for Thursday.

One of the best rookie pitchers in baseball gives the underdog value on Thursday night when Mat Latos and the Cincinnati Reds (24-16, 8-10 away) pay a visit to the phenom Jose Fernandez and the Miami Marlins (11-29, 5-13 home) in the final game of a three-game series from Marlins Park in Miami, FL at 7:10 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Miami as a home underdog for this contest at current odds of +142.

Now make no mistake, the Marlins have the worst team in the National League and the record to prove it, now sitting at 11-29 after losing the first two games of this series to run their most recent losing streak to four straight games. Miami is on course to possibly finish with the worst offense in Major League history, as it is currently averaging a sorry 2.75 runs per game with a .224 team batting average that is the worst in the league.

And yet there has been one ray of sunshine for Miami this season in the 20-year-old rookie pitching sensation Fernandez, and let’s face it, the fact that he is of Cuban descent while pitching in Miami does not hurt his popularity any. Not that Fernandez’s reputation needs any help as his right arm is his greatest asset.

Fernandez is 2-2 with his two wins coming in his last two starts, and the Marlins as a team have won his last three outings, which is saying something for a team with only 11 win. He has a 3.65 ERA and 1.16 WHIP while holding the opposition to a .213 batting average with a nice 39 strikeouts in 37 innings vs. 14 walks, and he now gets a chance to make up for his worst start so far vs. these Reds in Cincinnati where he was touched up for five runs in four innings.

There is reason to believe that he will get his revenge in the Cincinnati batters here as the youngster is getting better with each passing outing. He was brilliant when he recorded his first Major League win two starts ago vs. the Philadelphia Phillies, allowing only one hit and one walk over seven scoreless innings with nine strikeouts, and he followed up with another Quality Start while beating the Los Angeles Dodgers and adding seven more strikeouts in six innings.

Now, Latos also has great stuff for the Reds when he is on top of his game and he even had a better April than past years, but ironically a pitcher that is notorious for slow starts in April and then pitching lights out the rest of the year actually had his worst outing of the season in his second May start, as he was roughed up for seven runs (six earned) on nine hits plus three walks with only four strikeouts in six innings by the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday.

That start was most likely an aberration, but Latos does not have as much margin for error as he would normally have vs. the weak Miami lineup tonight because of his mound opponent. Also, the Cincinnati offense has been disappointing vs. right-handed pitchers this season hitting only .238 against them, an average that drops to .223 on the road.

Moreover the Miami bullpen has been surprisingly solid for a terrible team with a collective 2.40 ERA, so this should be a very low scoring game that could go either way if both starters are at their best, giving the Marlins long-term value as a decided home underdog Thursday.

[gameodds]3/226692/238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Marlins +142