MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Wednesday

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Wednesday, Apr. 9, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

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 Wednesday.

There could be an upset in the Windy City Wednesday night when Wandy Rodriguez and the Pittsburgh Pirates (5-2, 1-0 away) pay a visit to Jason Hammel and those Chicago Cubs (2-5, 1-3 home) at Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL at 8:05 ET.

The posted money line at Bet365 has Chicago as a home underdog for this contest at current odds of +111.

The Pirates are coming off of not only their first playoff appearance but also their first winning season in 21 years, and they are off to a nice start in 2014 at 5-2. That has them tied for first place in the National League Central in the early going, and they are threats to still be there at the end of the season even in a division that includes the defending National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds.

Of course Pittsburgh’s record has been enhanced by facing the 2-5 Cubs four times already and going 3-1 in those games with the most recent triumph coming 7-6 on Tuesday as the Bucs scored four runs in the first inning and ended up scoring six runs on Chicago starter Edwin Jackson. However, Pittsburgh may not have as easy a time scoring runs tonight, giving the Cubs a nice chance at an upset.

The Cubs signed Hammel as a free agent to a six million dollar contract during the off-season despite going 7-8 with a 4.97 ERA for the Orioles last year and spending over a month on the Disabled List! While that amount seems exorbinant, Hammel seemed worth it in his first start as the only Cub pitcher to beat the Pirates so far this young season in a 3-2 win in Pittsburgh last Thursday.

Perhaps the Cubs’ faith in Hammel was based on his best season in the majors in Baltimore two years ago when he posted a 3.43 ERA in 20 starts covering 118 innings, as he seemed to rediscover that form in his Chicago debut, limiting the Pirates to one run and only two hits in 6.2 innings with five strikeouts vs. just one walk.

Keep in mind that Hammel pitched well in April last season also going 4-1 with a 3.79 ERA and 1.26 WHIP, and all seven of his wins last year came in April and May, so it could be that the injury that landed him on the DL had a lot to do with his miserable finish. Well, he seems healthy now and if that remains the case, the Cubs may have made a nice gamble here as Hammel could quite the team’s critics for the signing.

The Pirates survived a bad performance from Charlie Morton last night as he allowed the Cubs to get back in the game, and they now turn to the southpaw Rodriguez, setting up a pitching rematch from last week as Wandy was on the losing end of Hammel’s gem.

Remember that Rodriguez was shut down in early June last season with an arthritic elbow, and he was rusty in his first start vs. the Cubs allowing a single run in each of the first three innings before setting down a bit, and he ended up allowing those three earned runs on five hits in six innings, including allowing a home run to Mike Olt.

Unfortunately the arthritic condition on Rodriguez’s elbow still exists and is probably permanent, and his second start could potentially be tougher than his first if he has any muscle soreness after missing so much time.

With all of this in mind, the Cubs seem worth an investment as home underdogs in Wrigley on Wednesday.


MLB Pick: Cubs +111

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