MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, August 29, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

Thursday, Aug. 29, 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.

An interleague underdog looks dangerous trying to avoid a sweep Thursday night when Ubaldo Jimenez and the Cleveland Indians (71-61, 31-35 away) pay a visit to Kris Medlen and the Atlanta Braves (80-52, 46-18 home) in the final game of a three-game series from Turner Field in Atlanta, GA at 7:10 ET in a game televised regionally on MLB Network.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Cleveland as a road underdog for this contest at current odds of +121.

The Braves have taken the first two games of this series, but neither win has been a cakewalk by any means as they managed only three hits while taking the series opener 2-0 on Tuesday and then came back to win in the ninth inning 3-2 in another nail-biter last night on a two-out RBI single by Chris Johnson. That moved Atlanta closer to becoming the first team to clinch its division this year as the Braves have a 13-game bulge over the Washington Nationals.

The Indians are still in the American League playoff hunt despite the two losses, as not only are they within shouting range of the Detroit Tigers in the Central Division at 5½ games back, but they also trail the Oakland Athletics by four games for the final wild card spot. They now look to avoid the sweep in “Hot-lanta” with a hot pitcher on the mound.

You may recall that Jimenez finished third in the National League Cy Young voting while pitching for the Colorado Rockies several years back, and he now seems to have regained his stellar form just in time for a Cleveland playoff run. Yes, Jimenez is just 9-8 with a 3.95 ERA, but he has now allowed two earned runs or less in six consecutive starts with 36 strikeouts in 36.2 innings.

Jimenez also had success vs. the Braves during his days in the National League, allowing three runs or less in each of his last seven starts against them. Although the Braves continue to have a phenomenal record, they are actually not hitting well at all right now batting a measly .221 overall in the last 10 games, and they are only averaging 2.80 runs per nine innings vs. right-handed pitchers during this time.

The Atlanta starter Medlen would probably be in the bullpen right now if not for the season-ending injury to Tim Hudson, but to his credit, Medlen has pitched perhaps his best ball of the season since Hudson went down, making the most of his second chance by allowing three runs or less in four of his last five starts and four runs in the other outing.

That still leaves Medlen at just 10-12 with a 3.74 ERA though, and he must now face an American League offense after taking advantage of National League teams during his recent turnaround.

With that in mind, Cleveland looks to offer long-term value at a decided underdog price on Thursday.


MLB Pick: Indians +121

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