MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, June 13, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

Thursday, Jun. 13, 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 Thursday.

The underdogs appear to have a decided pitching advantage in a battle of southpaws Thursday when Ross Detwiler and the Washington Nationals (32-32, 14-19 away) pay a visit to veteran Jeff Francis and the Colorado Rockies (35-31, 21-15 home) in the final game of a three-game series from Coors Field in Denver, CO at 3:10 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Washington as a road underdog for this contest at current odds of +118.

The defending National East Champion Nationals are just treading water this season as they only got back to the .500 mark by leveling this series with a 5-1 win Wednesday with fill-in starter Ross Ohlendorf and three relievers holding the potent Colorado offense to three hits. That came after the Rockies took the series opener 8-3 on Tuesday.

The good news for the Nationals is that they no longer have to worry about fill-in starters for now because their rotation is now back in tact. The big news of course is Stephen Strasburg is set to make his return on Saturday, but the other missing member of the rotation returns tonight in Detwiler, who has not pitched since May 15th due to an oblique injury.

Detwiler looks to resume where he left off as he has yet to allow more than three earned runs in eight starts this year. His 2-4 record is an injustice given his sparkling 2.76 ERA, and he does now figure to get some more run support than he did before going on the Disabled List as the Nationals have been hitting left-handers reasonably well lately.

Detwiler has also shown that he can handle the altitude of Colorado by allowing two runs and five hits the last time he pitched here, and while the Rockies are fifth in the Major Leagues with a nice .272 team batting average, the substitute starter Ohlendorf laid a blueprint in how to handle the Colorado offense yesterday and the regular starter Detwiler was surely taking notes.

Should the Nationals choose to put Detwiler on a pitch count tonight, the Washington bullpen has been better lately after being mediocre for most of the season, as it has a 3.11 ERA over the last 10 games after three scoreless innings of one-hit relief last night.

Colorado is turning to the Francis, whose best days are obviously behind him and whose continued presence in the rotation could hold back a team that is just two games behind the first place Arizona Diamondback in the National League West.

Francis is just 2-4 with a 6.30 ERA while yielding a generous .302 batting average, and he has just 33 strikeouts against 17 walks in 40 innings. Furthermore, Francis has only two Quality Starts in nine outings this season, he is 1-2 with a 4.81 ERA while yielding a .301 batting average in seven career starts vs. Washington and he is catching a Nationals’ lineup that is averaging a good 4.88 runs per nine innings vs. left-handed pitchers over the last 10 games.

Add this all up and Washington seems like an overlay at a decided underdog price on Thursday.

[gameodds]3/236304/238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Nationals +118

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