MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, July 25, 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.

A former division leader is currently in a tailspin and that could give value to the underdogs Thursday night when Carlos Villanueva and the Chicago Cubs (45-54, 23-28 away) pay a visit to Wade Miley and the now second place Arizona Diamondbacks (52-49, 28-22 home) in the last game of a four-game series from Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ at 9:40 ET in a game televised on WGN.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Chicago as a road underdog for this contest at current odds of +147.

The Diamondbacks were in first place in the National League West for most of this season, but they have now lost five of their last seven games including two of the first three games of this series to the Cubs and they have dropped to second place 1½ behind the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cubs meanwhile are in fourth place in the National League Central at a whopping 16½ games behind the team with the best record in baseball the St. Louis Cardinals.

We actually thought that the Diamondbacks were nice darkhorses to win the World Series at 40/1 odds earlier this season because of what we thought was a deep young pitching staff. However, while Patrick Corbin remains a nice story, the rest of the starters have disappointed for the most part including Miley, who was a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate last season.

You can call it the sophomore jinx if you like, but after winning 16 games and posting a 3.33 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and a great ratio of 144 strikeouts against 37 walks in 194.2 innings as a rookie, Miley is just 6-8 with a 4.03 ERA and 1.38 WHIP while yielding a .275 batting average. Worst of all, even his command is not what it was last year as he has only 89 strikeouts in 120.2 innings and his 39 walks are already more than all of 2012.

Furthermore, Wiley was not good the last time he faced the Cubs, allowing seven earned runs in seven innings at Wrigley Field on May 31st. He is now facing a Chicago team that is very interestingly 6-1 in its last seven road games vs. left-handed starters.

Now, Villanueva may not be anything special for the Cubbies, but he is still better than his 2-6 record and 4.16 ERA. Villanueva has split time between the rotation and the bullpen making 11 starts and 16 relief appearances so far, and prior to getting hit hard by the Colorado Rockies last time out, he had allowed three runs or less in three of his previous four starts.

He can regain that form here considering that the Diamondbacks have slumped to a .238 batting average vs. right-handed pitchers over the last 10 games. This will be Villanueva’s first start ever vs. Arizona, but he does have an excellent 1.69 ERA and 0.81 WHIP over 16 relief innings vs. the Snakes.

All things considered, Chicago appears to offer long-term value at a nice price vs. a slumping Arizona team on Thursday.

[gameodds]3/240054/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Cubs +147