MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, August 8, 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 defending World Series Champions have gone from first to worst this season and those struggles could continue as inflated favorites in a Thursday matinee when Donovan Hand and the Milwaukee Brewers (49-65, 22-34 away) pay a visit to Tim Lincecum and those San Francisco Giants (50-63, 28-29 home) in the final game of a four-game series from AT&T Park in San Francisco, CA at 3:45 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Milwaukee as a decided underdog for this contest at current odds of +146.

It is hard to believe that this is the same Giants’ team that swept the Detroit Tigers in the World Series about 10 months ago, as San Francisco is in last place in the National League West this season and is now 13 games behind the first place Dodgers after losing to a fellow last place team in the Brewers the last two days after taking the series opener on Monday.

The Brewers are last in the National League Central and a whopping 20½ games behind the division leading Pittsburgh Pirates, who own the best record in the Major Leagues, but they are apparently on a level playing field as the last place Giants and are looking to take three out of four in this series after beating Giants’ ace Madison Bumgarner last night by scoring four runs off him in the eighth inning and then tacking on two in the ninth off the bullpen in a 6-1 win.

The Giants meanwhile are trying to salvage the split with Lincecum on the bump, and while the two-time Cy Young winner pitched a no-hitter just before the All-Star break, he is having another uneven year after having his worst Major League season last year. Yes, he is coming off of back-to-back Quality Starts including limiting the Tampa Bay Rays to one run in seven innings Saturday, but Lincecum also allowed eight earned runs in 3.2 innings vs. the struggling Cincinnati Reds offense before that and that inconsistency is why he is 5-11 with a 4.43 ERA.

Those numbers do not exactly boost confidence as a big favorite like this and remember that Tiny Tim does not figure to get much run support from a Giant offense that has scored exactly one run in each of the last two nights, is averaging a scant 2.90 runs per game while batting .235 over the last 10 games and that is ranked 27th in the major in runs scored overall this season at just 3.78 per contest.

Now, Hand is 0-3 for the Brewers with Milwaukee going 1-5 in the games that he has started, but he has not really pitched badly in 18 games including 12 relief appearances as he as a 3.60 ERA and 1.24 WHIP and has allowed three runs or less in all six starts. Most recently he limited the Washington Nationals to three runs on only five hits in seven innings in an unlucky 3-0 loss on Saturday.

Hand has displayed good control with only 10 walks in 50 innings and he has a nice chance to get his first Major League win here as throwing strikes and allowing the Giants to put the ball in play sounds like a nice formula considering the state of the San Francisco offense and the spacious dimensions of this stadium, where the Giants are averaging only 3.51 runs per game this season.

This line might be inflated by the name recognition of Lincecum, as his overall numbers this season as well as those of the San Francisco offense do not seem to support these big odds, so it looks like Milwaukee offers nice long-term value as it tries to win this series on Thursday.

[gameodds]3/240816/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Brewers +146