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 Monday.
The underdogs may hold value Monday night in the opener of a huge American League East series when southpaw Chris Capuano and the New York Yankees (61-56, 32-27 away) pay a visit to right-hander Bud Norris and the Baltimore Orioles (67-50, 32-26 home) in the first game of a three-game series from Camden Yards in Baltimore, MD at 7:05 ET in a game available on YES.
The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has New York as a road underdog for this contest at current odds of +123.
Yankees’ Chance to Close the Gap
The Orioles just took two out of three games from the St. Louis Cardinals in a weekend interleague series here at Camden Yards, and thus they maintain their five-game lead in the AL East over the second place Toronto Blue Jays, who also took two of three this weekend at home from the Detroit Tigers. The Orioles are in their position despite not having what most would consider a bona fide ace on their pitching staff, which could hurt them down the road.
Do not sleep on the third place Yankees though who remain just six games back, and this could be their most important series of the year as they might kiss their division hopes good-bye if they do not take at least two out of three here. And do not put that past them as the Yanks have actually been better MLB picks on the road thus far (32-27) than they have at home (29-29)! New York lost a game in the standing by just losing two out of three to the Cleveland Indians in the Bronx.
Capuano Fine in Pinstripes
Capuano began this season in the Boston Red Sox bullpen, making 28 relief appearances without a start until the Yankees acquired him. Capuano had always been a Major League starter before this year though and that is the role New York acquired him for. And Capuano has been fine in his three Yankee starts despite being 0-1, as he has posted a 2.84 ERA with 17 strikeouts vs. five walks in 19 innings since donning the pinstripes.
Furthermore Capuano could have an advantage here as his career vs. the Orioles has consisted of 3.2 innings of relief, meaning that the Baltimore offense is mostly unfamiliar with him. Also, should he be in need of relief the Yankee bullpen is on a nice little role as of late with a collective 2.78 ERA and 0.90 WHIP over the last 10 games.
Norris a Bit Disappointing
Norris is not having a bad year by any means, but he has not been eye-popping either at 9-7 with a 3.68 ERA and only 86 strikeouts in 115 innings. That leaves him with rather bad sabre numbers with a 4.36 FIP and 4.25 xFIP, as well as a nondescript 0.9 WAR. This comes on the heels of going a disappointing 4-3 with a lofty 4.80 ERA for the Orioles last season after Baltimore acquired him around mid-season to supposedly bolster the rotation for a playoff run.
Perhaps Norris is having a little trouble handling pitching in a pennant race after performing so well with no pressure for the last-place Houston Astros for several years, and he did not look sharp last time out even while getting away with allowing only two runs vs. the Toronto Blue Jays, allowing seven hits plus two walks and lasting only 5.1 innings while laboring through 84 pitches.
Granted the Orioles as a team have now won 14 of their last 20 contests overall and six of the nine head-to-head meetings with the Yankees this year, but this series should have the feel of a playoff series from the Yankees’ perspective and they are certainly the more experienced team when it comes to playing in pressure situations.
New York Needs Offensive Revival
The pitching has been quite good for the Yankees as of late but the offense went MIA vs. the Indians this weekend, getting shut out on five hits on Saturday and then not scoring its only run until the ninth inning while again managing just five hits again on Sunday. However the Bronx Bombers are filly capable of busting out here as they hit the road vs. Norris, as they are averaging a good 4.42 runs per game on the road compared to just 3.57 runs at home.
With that in mind, the Yankees appear to offer good road upset value in Baltimore on Monday.
MLB Pick: Yankees +123