MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, June 26, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

Thursday, Jun. 26, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out an MLB total that does not add up and offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Thursday.

There could be a big upset Thursday by a road team looking to avoid getting swept when Ricky Nolasco and those Minnesota Twins (36-40, 17-23 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Jered Weaver and the Los Angeles Angels (43-33, 25-14 home) in the final game of a three-game series from Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA at 3:35 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Minnesota as a decided road underdog for this contest at current odds of +151.

The Angels are trying to wrap up a perfect home stand that has seen them go 5-0 so far, as the Halos swept a three-game series from the Rangers before beating the Twins the last two nights, winning 8-6 on Tuesday and 6-2 on Wednesday. After two disappointing seasons that saw the Angels miss the playoffs, Los Angeles is now second in the American League West just four games behind Oakland and it tops the wild card standings by 2½ over Baltimore and Seattle.

The Twins have actually surpassed expectations after going an identical 66-96 each of the last two seasons, as while they are in fourth place in the American League Central they are actually hanging in seven games out while being a semi-respectable four games under .500, which is a vast improvement over recent seasons.

Jered Weaver gets the call for the Angels here, and while he comes off of a nice outing vs. Texas where he allowed one run on just four hits in eight innings here at home, he had failed to record a Quality Start in his previous two starts vs. the Athletics and Cleveland Indians and he is simply a shell of the great pitcher that he used to be.

That is not to say that Weaver is bad as he does still have a 3.47 ERA and 1.13 WHIP despite his 7-6 record, but the problem is that he no longer has the ability to strike batters out whenever he needs to like in his glory days as his fastball rarely touches 90 MPH any more, in fact averaging just 86.3 MPH this year, and that is a key reason why his strikeout rate has gone down in basically a straight line pattern the last few years to 6.95 per nine innings so far in 2014.

Moreover, Weaver cannot count on quality relief either as the Halos are ranked 25th in the Major Leagues with a 4.38 bullpen ERA, and that pen ERA has soared to 5.93 over the last 10 games!

Now, we get that Nolasco will never be a Cy Young contender for the Twins and his mainstream numbers are even worse than usual this season as he has a bloated 5.52 ERA and 1.56 WHIP to go along with a 4-5 record. However, Nolasco has been serviceable lately allowing three runs or less in each of his last two starts, he does have a good ratio of 63 strikeouts vs. 26 walks overall and he has been pitching in bad luck yielding a .343 BABIP.

While Nolasco is not a superstar, he has always been a solid big league starter and he should at least return to that level once his BABIP stabilizes. Remember, this is a pitcher that posted a 3.70 ERA, 3.34 FIP, 3.58 xFIP and 3.0 WAR for the Marlins and Dodgers combined last season so he does have ability. And Nolasco does have a good bullpen to fall back on as the Twins are 14th in the major with a 3.52 pen ERA and that has improved to 2.95 the last 10 games.

Therefore, the value seems to be there to back Minnesota to avoid the sweep at a nice underdog price in Anaheim on Thursday.

MLB Pick: Twins +151

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