MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, July 4, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

Thursday, Jul. 4, 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.

One of the elite pitchers of his generation is having an off year and that could give value to the opponents north of the border on Thursday when the inexplicably struggling Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers (45-38, 19-22 away) pay a visit to Esmil Rogers and the Toronto Blue Jays (41-43, 23-19 home) in the final game of a four-game series from Rogers Centre in Toronto, ON Canada at 7:07 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Toronto as a home underdog for this contest at current odds of +115.

The Blue Jays are hoping to even this series as after Toronto took the series opener 8-3 behind R.A. Dickey on Canada Day Monday afternoon, the Tigers have come back to win the last two nights by scores of 7-6 and 6-2 respectively with Max Scherzer going to 13-0 on Wednesday. The Blue Jays are back in last place in the American League East, and the preseason favorites to win the division are now 10 games behind the first place Boston Red Sox.

The Tigers are in first place in the American League Central, which is certainly not surprising as they were prohibitive favorites to win the division before the year. What has been surprising has been their inability to shake off the Cleveland Indians, who in fact were in first place before last night when the combination of an Indians’ loss and Detroit’s win leaves the Tigers with a razor-thin one-half game lead.

Perhaps the Tigers would be running away with things as expected if Verlander was having a typical season, but that has certainly not been the case. The good news for Verlander is that at least he went eight innings in his last start Saturday vs. the Tampa Bay Rays after lasting only five innings in each of his previous two starts vs. the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox.

The bad news is that he still allowed nine hits and walked four Tampa Bay batters. Verlander may be 8-5, but he has an uncharacteristically high 3.77 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and especially a .263 batting average allowed. Yes he has allowed two runs or less in each of his last four start vs. Toronto, but none of those starts came during what has been an off season this year.

The Blue Jays may be in last place but they have played well at home for the most part as they had a seven-game winning streak in Canada before the last two games, and Rogers has been a pleasant surprise since being forced into the starting rotation due to Brandon Morrow’s injury.

Rogers began the year with 23 relief appearances, but he has allowed two runs or less in five of his six starts and he is coming off of a scoreless performance where he tossed six shutout innings vs. the Red Sox Saturday while allowing six hits with six strikeouts against one walk. Rogers has never started against the Tigers, but he has a 1.86 ERA over 9.2 career relief innings against them.

Thus, look for Rogers to pitch well enough for Toronto to pull the home upset.


MLB Pick: Blue Jays +115

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