MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, July 10, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Thursday, Jul. 10, 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 visiting starting pitcher’s current form and past dominance vs. tonight’s opponent could lead to an upset Thursday when right-hander David Phelps and those New York Yankees (46-44, 28-21 away) pay a visit to southpaw T.J. House (44-46, 26-18 home) in the final game of a four-game series from Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH at 7:05 ET.

The posted money line at Bet365 has New York as a road underdog for this contest at current odds of +115.

These clubs have alternated wins over the first three games of this series with the Yankees winning two of the three, taking the opener 5-3 and winning last night 5-4, with the Indians splitting those two games with a 5-3 win of their own Tuesday. The Yankees are very much in the American League East race as they are in third place but only three games behind first place Baltimore, and they are also just 2½ games out of a wild card spot.

The Indians are a bit of a disappointment after their surprising wild card run last season, but Cleveland is far from done in the American League Central at 7½ games behind first place Detroit, even at two games under .500 while in third place. The starting pitching will need to improve though if the Tribe are to duplicate their late playoff drive of last year, as the starting pitchers currently have a cumulative 4.53 ERA here in 2014.

The Yankees’ starter Phelps has bounced around between the rotation and the bullpen the last couple of years, and he is just 3-4 with a 4.01 ERA and 1.35 WHIP this year. However, he may be cementing a more permanent spot in the rotation with his nice current form that has seen him allow two runs or less in four of his last five outings.

Furthermore, Phelps was terrific in his first two career starts vs. the Indians which both took place last season, as he allowed a grand total of one run and just five hits in 12.2 innings with 14 strikeouts. He now gets to face a Cleveland lineup that has struggled vs. right-handed pitchers lately, batting only .224 against them over the last 10 games while averaging 3.75 runs per nine innings.

Meanwhile, House was well-regarded when he was first called up to the majors on May 23rd and he has flashed some signs of brilliance while allowing three earned runs or less in five of his seven starts. However, the bottom line is that he is 1-2 with a 4.24 ERA and 1.46 WHIP and his low strikeout rate of 5.58 per nine innings has led to a weak 4.62 FIP that more or less validates the shaky ERA.

The lefty is facing a Yankee offense whose best split this season has been vs. left-handed pitchers on the road, as they are batting .267 and averaging a whopping 5.97 runs per nine innings in this circumstance.

It is also noteworthy that while the New York bullpen has struggled for much of it first season following the retirement of future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera, that unit has now caught fire while posting a 1.89 ERA and 1.08 WHIP over the last 10 games covering 32 innings.

All of this seems to serve to give good value to the Yankees at an underdog price in Cleveland on Thursday.

MLB Pick: Yankees +115

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