MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, September 5, 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.

There could be a nice upset based on how each starting pitchers had done against their opponent on Thursday night as Lance Lynn and the St. Louis Cardinals (80-59, 39-34 away) pay a visit to Tony Cingrani and the Cincinnati Reds (78-62, 43-25 home) in the last game of a four-game series from Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, OH at 7:10 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has St. Louis as a road underdog for this contest at current odds of +132.

The Cardinals are trying to salvage a split of this series after losing the first two games, as they took the third game in 16 innings 5-4 last night thanks to a pair of extra-inning home runs by Matt Adams. That was a potentially crushing loss for Cincinnati’s National League Central title hopes as they remained 3½ games behind the first place Pittsburgh Pirates.

It does look like three teams in the division will make the playoff though with Cincinnati leading the Washington Nationals by 6½ games for the second and last wild card spot. The Cardinals of course are the third team involved, but St. Louis still has division title aspirations with the deficit behind the Pirates now down to one game thanks to Pittsburgh getting upset by the Milwaukee Brewers Wednesday.

Now the Reds would appear to have the pitching advantage on the surface tonight, but the performances by the starters vs. their respective opponents here paint a totally different picture. Lynn has struggled vs. most of the league despite he 13-9 record, as he has a 4.29 ERA and has gone four straight outings without a Quality Start after getting lit up for seven earned runs on 10 hits in four innings by the Pirates last time out.

However, Lynn probably wishes he could face the Reds every start as he apparently matches up very well with the Cincinnati lineup. Lynn has faced the Reds four times this season and he is 3-0 with a 2.67 ERA and 0.96 WHIP while holding Cincinnati batters to a .196 batting average with 32 strikeouts vs. eight walks in 27 innings over those outings.

As for Cingrani, he has been terrific and would merit Rookie of the Year consideration if he had more innings under his belt. As it stands, Cingrani is 6-3 with a 2.76 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 97.2 innings, and he had allowed two runs or less in nine of his last 10 starts. The story though is the one time in those 10 outings where he did allow more than two runs, as that came in his only start this season vs. these Cardinals.

While Cingrani escaped with allowing only three earned runs in that game, he labored through 103 pitches while lasting just five innings, issuing five walks to go along with the four hits he surrendered in one of his weakest performances of the season.

With that in mind, the Cardinals offer nice value at this price as they continue their quest for a division title Thursday.

[gameodds]3/242512/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Cardinals +132