MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, April 24, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

Thursday, Apr. 24, 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 could be an overlay in our nation’s capital Thursday night when southpaw Eric Stults (10-12, 3-8 away) pay a visit to right-hander Jordan Zimmermann and the Washington Nationals (12-10, 7-6 home) at Nationals Park in Washington, DC at 7:05 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has San Diego as a decided underdog for this contest at current odds of +156.

The Nationals come off of possibly their best win of the season as they took advantage of a poor Los Angeles Angels bullpen to score four runs in the bottom of the ninth for a 5-4 walk-off win on Wednesday, much to our delight as it allowed us to cash our ticket on ‘over’ 7! Washington remains second in the National League East in the early going, 2½ games behind the Atlanta Braves as the two preseason favorites to win the division already man the top two spots.

The Padres come in losers of three of their last four games and with a struggling offense, having scored three runs or less in seven straight contests. That weak attack has spoiled some good pitching as the San Diego starters have a cumulative 3.32 ERA and the Padres lead the Major Leagues with a 1.74 bullpen ERA.

That weak offense may have the Pads undervalued for this game, especially since Zimmermann has not yet shown his best form this season. Zimmermann is 1-1 with a 3.92 ERA, 1.45 WHIP and a .293 batting average allowed thus far, a far cry from the pitcher that won 19 games last year while posting a 3.25 ERA and 1.09 WHIP and yielding just a .239 opponents’ batting average.

Zimmermann should no doubt return to that form soon as the 27-year-old is just reaching the peak of his career, but he is not there yet and now may be the best time to take advantage of that at nice prices against him before he regains his form. Furthermore, even during his great 2013 season he was not particularly sharp the last time he faced the Padres lasting only 5.1 innings while being rather lucky to be charged with only three earned runs allowed.

He comes off of an outing vs. the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday where he allowed four runs on seven hits in seven innings while taking his first loss. Moreover, that was two starts after he had one of the worst starts of his career vs. the Miami Marlines where he was roughed up for five earned runs on seven hits plus two walks in just 1.2 innings, although he managed to escape with no decision.

It is rather hard to believe that Stults has now spent parts of eight seasons in the Major Leagues already since first coming up with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004, which is easy not to realize when you consider that he still has only 76 career starts. Still, while not being overpowering, he has been serviceable when called upon going 28-28 with a 4.07 ERA lifetime, with his biggest asset being not walking people with only 139 free passes in 480.1 career innings.

Stults is 1-2 this season with the win coming in his last start vs. the San Francisco Giants when he tossed a gem while pounding the strike zone, allowing just one run and three hits in six innings without issuing a single walk in a 3-1 victory. He now faces a Washington lineup that has struggled in its own stadium this year, batting .213 as a team while averaging only 3.46 runs per game at home.

All of this makes this price on the MLB odds seem rather steep, so let us go for the value with San Diego as a decided underdog at Washington on Thursday.

[gameodds]3/262712/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Padres +156

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