MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Wednesday

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, June 11, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

Wednesday, Jun. 11, 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 Wednesday.

The underdogs could hold value in what looks like a fairly even pitching matchup Wednesday night when the surprising Tanner Roark and the Washington Nationals (34-29, 15-14 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Matt Cain and the San Francisco Giants (42-23, 22-11 home) in the third game of a four-game series from AT&T Park in San Francisco, CA at 10:15 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Washington as a road underdog for this contest at current odds of +115.

This is now a battle of division leaders as the Nationals are in a first place tie with the Atlanta Braves in the National League East after taking the first two games of this series behind two great pitching performances by Stephen Strasburg and Doug Fister. That gives the Nationals seven wins in their last eight games and they are 4-1 so far on their West Coast road trip with the only loss coming by one run in San Diego Saturday.

The Giants still have the best record in all of baseball despite losing the last two nights, and their 7½-game bulge over the second place Los Angeles Dodgers is still the biggest lead of any division leader in the majors. San Francisco had been red-hot winning five games in a row before the Nationals came into town, but having trouble with the Nationals is nothing new as Washington has now won five of the last six head-to-head meetings.

Washington is generally considered to have the best first four starters in baseball with Strasburg, Fister, Gio Gonzalez (currently disabled) and Jordan Zimmermann, but Roark continues to show that the stellar Nationals’ rotation actually goes five-deep, as he enters this game off of four straight Quality Starts and it could have been six straight as he was pulled after allowing two runs in five innings before the streak began and had another Quality Start in his previous outing.

Roark may be 4-4, but he had been suffering from a lack of run support earlier on and has a sparkling 2.91 ERA and 1.05 WHIP with a nice ratio of 61 strikeouts vs. 18 walks in 77.1 innings. Granted his FIP of 3.53 is running behind his ERA, but that is still an excellent figure for what is supposed to be a fifth starter.

Roark has the added advantage here of facing the Giants for the first time ever, which is usually to the pitcher’s advantage, and he has the support of a terrific Washington bullpen that leads the Major Leagues with a 2.20 ERA.

Yes, Cain is considered the ace of the Giant staff, but Roark’s numbers indicate that this is not your typical ace vs. fifth starter matchup. That is not to say that Cain is not a stud, but he is just 1-3, albeit with a good 3.52 ERA and 1.14 WHIP, in a season limited to just nine starts so far due to various injuries with the latest being a bad hamstring that had him inactive for 2½ weeks until limiting the Mets to two earned runs on three hits in seven innings in a no-decision Friday.

Still, as great as Cain has been throughout his career, a case can be made that Roark has been the better pitcher to this point in 2014 and the Nationals are now starting to score runs, averaging 5.50 of them over the last 10 games overall while averaging 5.85 runs per nine innings vs. right-handed pitchers during that span.

Thus, Washington appears to off nice value at an underdog price on Wednesday night.


MLB Pick: Nationals +115

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