MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Wednesday

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay underdog that has a better chance of winning than its odds, offering long term value. Here is their Underdog Value Play for Wednesday.

A hot southpaw may give the underdogs nice value Wednesday night when John Lannan and the Philadelphia Phillies (49-51, 23-30 away) pay a visit to Jake Westbrook and the St. Louis Cardinals (60-37, 21-23 home) in the second game of a three-game series from Busch Stadium in St. Louis, MO at 8:15 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Philadelphia as a nice underdog for this contest at current odds of +152.

The Phillies have a tough decision to make regarding becoming buyers or sellers at the trading deadline. After a slow start to this season, the common belief was that Philadelphia would unload some veterans for prospects in an attempt to re-stock a depleted farm system, but the Phils surged to second place in the National League East after beating the New York Mets in the first game after the All-Star break.

They have lost three straight games since then though including the series opener here in St. Louis Tuesday, yet they remain in second place at a manageable seven games behind the first place Atlanta Braves and one game ahead of the Washington Nationals, who are winless since the break after being in second place entering it.

The Phillies have a hot left-hander on the mound tonight in Lannan, as the veteran has been excellent in his last two starts. First, he tossed eight scoreless innings while allowing only four hits against the aforementioned Nationals and then he allowed one run while again allowing just four hits in eight innings in an unfortunate no-decision vs. the Chicago White in his last outing.

Perhaps most importantly, Lannan has been a Cardinal-killer throughout his career, allowing two runs or less in all seven lifetime starts against St. Louis with a 2.53 ERA. Yes, the Cardinals may have the best offense in the National League this season, but they also have severe disparity vs. left-handers and right-handers, batting a modest .240 as a team vs. southpaws compared to a whopping .282 average vs. righties.

The Cardinals counter with Westbrook, who has been rather inconsistent since coming off of the Disabled List on June 14th. Sure, Westbrook has reeled off three consecutive Quality Starts while posting a 2.66 ERA in those outings, but the truth is that he had two very fortunate escapes in his last two starts.

You see, Westbrook allowed exactly 11 baserunners in each of those efforts, first in seven innings vs. the Chicago Cubs and then in 6.1 innings vs. the San Diego Padres, and yet he managed to surrender only a total of five runs in the two outings. That could make him vulnerable as a big favorite here vs. a team that may not let him off the hook if he repeats those two performances.

Should Westbrook be in need of relief, the St. Louis bullpen is another concern as that unit has a 4.50 ERA with a bloated collective WHIP of 1.43 over the last 10 games. Conversely, the Philadelphia bullpen is improving with a 2.22 ERA in that same span.

Put all of this together and Philadelphia appears to offer long-term value at a nice underdog price on Wednesday.

[gameodds]3/239884/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Phillies +152