MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, July 3, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Thursday, Jul. 3, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

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.

The team with the best record in all of baseball could be overvalued Thursday night in a battle of first-place teams when R.A. Dickey and the Toronto Blue Jays (47-39, 22-18 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Sonny Gray and those Oakland Athletics (51-33, 24-15 home) in the first game of a four-game weekend series from Coliseum in Oakland, CA at 9:05 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Toronto as a road underdog for this contest at current odds of +138.

The Athletics return home from an eight-game road trip where they began the trek 4-1 but were then swept in a three-game series by the Detroit Tigers that ended with a 9-3 drubbing yesterday. Even with that sweep, the A’s maintain the best record in the bigs and have a 3½-game lead over the second place Los Angeles Angles in the American League West.

The Blue Jays meanwhile come off of a sweep of a short interleague two-game series of the team with the best record in the National League in the Milwaukee Brewers back home in Toronto, winning the finale 7-4 yesterday on a walk-off three-run homer by Edwin Encarnacion in the ninth inning. That leaves Toronto with a one-game lead in the American League East over the pesky second place Baltimore Orioles.

Gray was crowned the ace of the Oakland staff prior to this season after a fine rookie year in 2013 that was culminated with two great starts vs. the Tigers in the ALDS. And Gray looked the part when he got off to a great start this year, but he has been plagued a bit by some inconsistency as of late.

To wit, Gray has just three Quality Starts in his last six outings, and his last appearance vs. the Miami Marlins on Saturday was not one of them as he was tagged for five earned runs on seven hits plus three walks while laboring through 93 pitches in just five innings before the offense let him off the hook with a no-decision.

Gray must now deal with a Toronto offense that leads the Major Leagues in home runs with 113 of them in 86 games, as well as ranking fourth in runs scored (4.69 per game), sixth in batting (.261) and third in team OPS (.767.). The Blue Jays have also been a tad better vs. right-handed pitchers batting .267 while averaging 4.88 runs per game against them overall.

Now, R.A. Dickey will most likely never duplicate his Cy Young Award season with the New York Mets in 2012, and although he has had some brief moments where he looked unhittable since he came to Toronto, he has been mostly disappointing while going just 6-7 with a 4.24 ERA and 1.38 WHIP this season.

However, the fact is that Dickey has still allowed three earned runs or less in eight of his last 10 starts despite allowing five earned runs vs. the Chicago White Sox last time out, and the Athletics are one team that he has continued his mastery over. You see, Dickey is four for four in Quality Starts vs. Oakland since 2011, and that includes his one start against the A’s this year where he allowed only two runs and five hits in 8.1 innings in Toronto.

Thus, Dickey appears to give the Blue Jays good value at this price vs. a suddenly erratic Gray on Thursday.

MLB Pick: Blue Jays +138

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