MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Tuesday

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, June 3, 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 Tuesday.

The road underdogs may have some value in interleague play Tuesday night when Erasmo Ramirez and the Seattle Mariners (29-28, 15-13 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Gavin Floyd and the Atlanta Braves (31-25, 18-12 home) in the first game of a short two-game series from Turner Field in Atlanta, GA at 7:10 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Seattle as a decided underdog for this contest at current odds of +141.

The Braves may have to battle a letdown vs. an interleague opponent that they have not faced since 2011 after going into Miami this past weekend and sweeping three games from the second place Marlins, giving Atlanta a 2½-game lead in the National League East after the Marlins had taken over the division lead right before the start of that big early series.

The Mariners meanwhile have won three straight games themselves after taking the last two games of a three-game weekend series vs. the Detroit Tigers and then winning a makeup of an earlier rainout vs. the New York Yankees Monday behind Felix Hernandez. Seattle is hanging in the American League West race in a third place tie at one game over .500, six games behind the Oakland A’s, and the Mariners have a better record on the road (15-13) than home (14-15).

Floyd is in his first season with the Braves after having his 2013 cut short after just five starts due to the increasingly common Tommy John surgery, and he just recently came back to make his Atlanta debut on May 6th. Although Floyd has not pitched badly with a 2.37 ERA and 27 strikeouts vs. eight walks in 30.1 innings, he is still in pursuit of his first win as a Brave after taking his second loss vs. the Boston Red Sox last Wednesday.

Still, we are not convinced that a pitcher that recently came back from elbow surgery merits this much favoritism, especially with an xFIP that is more than a full run higher than his ERA at 3.39. Granted that figure is still very good, but we are talking about a sampling of five starts and a shade over 30 innings, so some negative regression could be expected from a pitcher that has a career 4.43 ERA and 1.34 WHIP.

Furthermore, the normally stingy Atlanta bullpen is in a bit of a slump right now with a collective 4.15 ERA and a terrible 1.62 WHIP over the last 10 games. Also, the Mariners are actually averaging a commendable 4.86 runs per game on the road this year, away from the spacious dimensions of Safeco Field.

Ramirez has been on a shuttle between the Mariners and Triple-A for the last couple of years and this season has been no exception as he is again being recalled from the minors to replace the demoted Brandon Maurer in the rotation. Ramirez did not fare too well when he was up with the big club earlier this year, going 1-4 in six starts with a 6.00 ERA.

Still, the 24-year-old does have upside and he did perform well at the Major League level as a rookie in 2012 despite his 1-3 record in 16 games including eight starts, as he posted a 3.36 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and a .217 batting average allowed with 48 strikeouts vs. only 12 walks in 59 innings.

He has a chance to stick in the rotation much longer now given Maurer’s struggles and he has a chance to succeed here vs. an Atlanta offense that is batting a meager .225 vs. right-handed pitchers for the season while averaging a scant 3.15 runs per nine innings against them, a far cry from the Braves’ .276 average and 5.03 runs per nine vs. left-handers. Ramirez also has the support of a hot Seattle bullpen that owns a 2.39 ERA over the last 10 contests.

Thus, the Mariners appear to offer good MLB odds value at this underdog price on Tuesday.

[gameodds]3/287528/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Mariners +141