MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, August 22, 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 underdog could offer value in what looks like a fairly close pitching matchup on Thursday when Jose Quintana and the Chicago White Sox (51-74, 23-42 away) pay a visit to James Shields and the Kansas City Royals (64-61, 33-30 home) in the final game of a three-game series from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, MO at 8:10 ET in a game televised live regionally on MLB Network.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Chicago as a nice underdog for this contest at current odds of +153.

The White Sox are going for the three-game sweep here as they are currently on a season-high five-game winning streak after winning the last three games vs. the Minnesota Twins over the weekend. This winning steak has obviously come too late for the last place White Sox, as only the Houston Astros stand between Chicago and having the worst record in the American League, but the White Sox are enjoying playing spoilers to the Royals’ playoff hopes.

The Royals caught fire to get themselves in the playoff hunt including having a nine-game winnings streak recently. However their fortunes now appear to be turning as they have lost four straight and are just 2-7 in their last nine games. That leaves Kansas City in third place in the American League Central 9½ games behind the first place Detroit Tigers and 6½ games behind the Oakland Athletics in the race for the final wild card spot.

The Royals are looking to get back on track today with Shields on the bump, and he has certainly pitched better than his 8-8 record as he has a 3.19 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 137 strikeouts against 56 walks in 174.2 innings. Shields is coming off of a masterpiece vs. the potent Tigers’ lineup where he allowed only three hits in seven scoreless innings.

The problem for Shields this year is that he has needed to be that great to get wins because his teammates have not given him much run support. Well, the offense might struggle again vs. Quintana today, and the last time Shields faced Chicago here at home, he was touched up for four earned runs on seven hits in five innings. That was before the White Sox got hot too, as they are batting .273 while averaging 5.00 runs per game during their five-game winning streak.

Quintana should be able to match Shields here because he is also have a very fine season while pitching for what was an awful team until this past week. Quintana is a deceptive 7-4 as he remarkably has 14 no-decisions, usually pitching well enough to keep the White Sox in the game and to deserve more wins. He has a 3.66 ERA and 1.25 WHIP with 123 strikeouts vs. only 44 walks in 150 innings.

Furthermore, Quintana has pitched well while allowing three runs or less in his last five starts vs. the Royals, with all of those outings coming since last season. Thus, he gives Chicago good long-term value at a generous underdog price on Thursday.

[gameodds]3/241753/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: White Sox +153