MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Wednesday

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Wednesday, Apr. 16, 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.

One of the worst teams in baseball actually finds itself in a winnable game Wednesday night given the pitching matchup when Jeremy Guthrie and the Kansas City Royals (5-7, 1-5 away) pay a visit to Dallas Keuchel and those Houston Astros (5-9, 3-5 home) at Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX at 8:10 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Houston as a home underdog for this contest at current odds of +107.

It has been a disappointing start for the Royals this season after having their best year in a long time last season going 86-76 and being in the wild card hunt until the latter stages, as Kansas City is currently in the American League Central basement, it is 1-5 on the road and what should be a great Kansas City bullpen is struggling so far with a collective ERA of 4.76 after being probably the best pen in the American League in 2013.

The Astros have had the worst record in baseball over the last two years, but they actually opened up 2014 with two wins vs. the New York Yankees! Unfortunately it has been downhill since then with nine losses in the last 12 games and Houston is already in its expected spot of last place in the American League West, where it will probably stay until the end of the year.

With that being said, the Astros have a real chance to notch a home win tonight vs. a pitcher in Guthrie that topped our list of the most overrated starting pitchers in baseball right now. Guthrie has a career high in wins last season with 15, but he accomplished that while posting both the highest FIP (4.79) and the highest xFIP (4.55) of any qualified pitcher in the majors, so we felt regression was inevitable.

Well, it looked like he was well on his way to a disappointing year when he was touched up for four earned runs on seven hits plus an alarming four walks in just 5.2 innings vs. the White Sox in his 2014 debut, but he then bounced back with a Quality Start vs. Tampa Bay where he allowed only one run and four hits in seven innings. It could be notable that he threw 111 and 109 pitches respectively in his first two starts though, which may be a tad much early on.

It seems that the Royals may agree as Guthrie has had a full week of rest since that start against the Rays last Wednesday, and that could have an adverse effect as pitchers are creatures of habit that have regular routines between starts, and extra days off beaks up their patterns. And back to matters on the field, Guthrie was terrible in his only start vs. the light-hitting Astros last season, allowing six earned runs on eight hits plus three walks with just two strikeouts in five innings.

The young southpaw Keuchel has shown some promise in his first two Major League seasons after probably being rushed up to the bigs too soon, which the Astros have done with several youngsters as they have elected to allow them to basically learn on the job. In actuality, that is probably not a bad philosophy with Houston not having any pennant aspirations any time soon.

Keuchel has one of Houston’s five wins this season and it came in a very nice start last time out on the road in Toronto where he limited the Blue Jays to one run and five hits in seven innings with six strikeouts last Thursday. The lefty is also facing a Kansas City lineup that is struggling mightily vs. southpaws right now, batting an ugly .192 against them while averaging a microscopic 1.93 runs per nine innings vs. left-handers.

Thus, luck for the Astros to pull the home upset on Wednesday.


MLB Pick: Astros +107

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