MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, June 20, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

Thursday, Jun. 20, 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 Thursday.

There could be an upset in store by the team with the worst record in baseball vs. a fill-in starter Thursday night when Tom Koehler and those Miami Marlins (22-49, 9-26 away) pay a visit to Chad Gaudin and the San Francisco Giants (37-34, 23-12 home) in the first game of a four-game series from AT&T Park in San Francisco, CA at 10:15 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Miami as a nice road underdog for this contest at current odds of +154.

The Giants just finished taking two out of three games from the San Diego Padres, winning the last two games after dropping the series opener. That leaves San Francisco in second place in the National League West Division with only a 1½-game deficit behind the Arizona Diamondbacks, who just took two out of three games from the Miami team the Giants are facing here.

This obviously looks like a mismatch on paper with the Marlins sitting at 22-49 overall and 9-26 on the road, but the problem we have in this spot is trusting Gaudin as a big favorite after only three starts, especially after getting touched up for four earned runs on eight hits plus one walk while lasting only five innings vs. the Atlanta Braves last time out.

Sure, Gaudin pitched quite well in his first two starts when he allowed a total of four runs and nine hits in 12 innings with 12 strikeouts and just one walk after previously making 18 relief appearances, but the bottom line is that he is filling Ryan Vogelsong’s rotation spot at the moment after the latter broke his right throwing hand and Gaudin will most likely be back in the bullpen, where he is probably most effective, if the Giants can get a more suitable replacement.

San Francisco has uncharacteristically struggled with its starting pitching all year as the starters have a collective 4.61 ERA, and Gaudin does not figure to work deeply in this contest given his lack of stamina. The issue there is that Gaudin was the Giants’ most effective middle reliever, and with him now in the starting rotation, the San Francisco bullpen has now slumped to a 4.11 ERA and 1.53 WHIP while yielding a terrible .287 batting average the last 10 games.

Now we get that the Marlins have the worst offense in baseball and that their starting pitcher Koehler is 0-5 with a 5.09 ERA. However, Koehler has actually allowed three runs or less in four of his seven starts, his ERA stood at a more respectable 3.91 before being made a sacrificial lamb in his last start, allowing nine runs in 4.2 innings vs. the St. Louis Cardinals, and he still has a good 1.23 WHIP.

Besides, Koehler is the pitcher that is +154 in this spot, so we are more willing to overlook his shortcoming than those of Gaudin giving a big price. It also helps that the Marlins’ offense has received a boost from Giancarlo Stanton, who is batting .343 with four home runs and 10 RBI in nine games since coming off of the Disabled List on June 10th.

The bottom line here is that Gaudin does not deserve this much favoritism, so Miami should offer long-term value at this price Thursday.


MLB Pick: Marlins +154

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