MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, April 10, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an MLB overlay that has a better chance of cashing than its odds, offering long term value. Here is their Underdog Value Play for Thursday.

There might be a second upset in as many days in the Windy City on Thursday when Gerrit Cole and the Pittsburgh Pirates (5-3, 1-1 away) pay a visit to Travis Wood and those Chicago Cubs (3-5, 2-3 home) at Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL at 2:20 ET in a game televised regionally on MLB Network.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Chicago as a home underdog for this contest at current odds of +117.

You may recall that we picked the Cubs in this space yesterday and we were rewarded with a 7-5 Chicago victory at +111 odds, although the Cubs did their best to blow a 7-1 lead. Chicago now gets a chance to win the series today and get a measure of revenge after losing two out of three at Pittsburgh in the first series of the season, and the Cubs have possibly there best pitcher on the mound as they attempt to do so.

The Pirates are trying to follow up their first winning season and playoff appearance in 21 years, and so far so good with last night’s loss notwithstanding as they are still 5-3 and just one game out of first in the National League Central in the early going.

Now, regular readers of SBR Forum know that we are big fans of Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole as we started a thread on him the day of his first Major League start last year, and he has certainly lived up to the billing thus far. Cole was a big reason for the Pirates playoff charge last year as he went 10-7 with a 3.22 ERA and 1.17 WHIP and he pitched well in two playoff starts against the Cardinals allowing one and two runs respectively.

Then, he picked up right where he left off in his 2014 debut vs. those same Cardinals last Friday allowing two earned runs on six hits in seven innings. We have no doubt that Cole will be a stud in this league for a long time, as his only weakness is a rather low strikeout rate for someone that can hit 98 MPH on the radar gun, but he obviously knows how to pitch in spite of that based on his fine peripheral numbers.

The problem here though is that we are also high on Wood, and we feel he offers better value as a home underdog in a fairly even pitching matchup. Some may that that Wood had a fluky year last year with a career best 3.11 ERA and 1.15 WHIP while allowing a .222 average, but we do not share that notion.

You see, this southpaw flashed glimpses of greatness when he pitched for the Cincinnati Reds but lacked the consistency to carry that form for an entire season, which he learned to do last season, and remember that Wood is still only 27-years-old, so we feel that he is about to hit his peak and that last year was just the beginning of things to come.

Also, the southpaw has had success vs. the Pirates, going a perfect six for six in Quality Starts against them over the last two years. Three of those starts came last season over which he posted a scintillating 1.50 ERA and 0.98 WHIP while holding the Bucs to a .161 batting average over 18 innings and not allowing more than two runs in any start.

So with what we feel is a pretty even pitching matchup, we see value on backing the Cubs as home underdogs again on Thursday.

[gameodds]3/261539/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Cubs +117