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.
A hot pitcher facing an offense that has not been the same since trading away probably its best hitter could result in nice underdog value Monday night when Alex Cobb and those Tampa Bay Rays (54-57, 27-25 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Jeff Samardzija and the Oakland Athletics (67-43, 35-19 home) in the first game of a three-game series from O.co Coliseum in Oakland, CA at 10:05 ET.
The posted money line at Bet365 has Tampa Bay as a decided road underdog for this contest at current odds of +131.
Still in the AL East Race
Both of these teams made headlines at the trading deadline last week. The Rays traded ace David Price to the Detroit Tigers even though they has gotten back in the American League East race after once being 18 games under .500. And they remain in that race despite currently being in fourth place and still three games below .500, as they trail the first place Baltimore Orioles by a manageable 8½ games, and moreover they are just five games from a wild card spot.
The Athletics continue to be the best MLB picks in the majors this year at 67-43 although their lead over the second place Los Angeles Angels in the American League West has been trimmed to just one game after Oakland lost two out of three here at home to the Kansas City Royals over the weekend. The big move that Oakland made at the deadline was acquiring Jon Lester from the Boston Red Sox, but they gave up a huge chunk of their offense to get him in Yoenis Cespedes.
Cobb on Fire
Cobb has been a huge part of the Tampa Bay resurgence since coming off of the Disabled List on May 22nd, and although he is just 7-6 for the season, he does have a 3.54 ERA and 1.16 WHIP and has been in even better form than that as of late. Cobb comes off of a gem vs. the Milwaukee Brewers where he allowed just one run and three hits in eight innings with 12 strikeouts.
That marked the fourth consecutive start that Cobb has allowed two runs or less, during which time he has a 1.65 ERA and 0.91 WHIP with 31 strikeouts vs. six walks in 27.1 innings! Cobb has good career numbers vs. the A’s as he has a 2.34 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in six starts against them while yielding a .227 batting average while working on a streak of five straight Quality Starts, including allowing a total of three runs and nine hits in 15 innings here in Oakland.
Samardzija Not Sharp Lately
Samardzija came over to the Athletics from the Chicago Cubs and he began his Oakland career with two Quality Starts. However, while he is 2-1 with a 3.19 ERA in five starts in an Oakland uniform, he has not been nearly as sharp in his last three outings while recording just one Quality Start.
Samardzija comes off of a shaky performance vs. a light-hitting Houston Astros team that has struggled vs. right-handed pitchers all year, allowing four earned runs on six hits plus two walks in 6.2 innings last Tuesday. Three of those six hits went for extra bases and “Shark” was on the hook for the loss before the A’s overcame a 4-1 deficit in the ninth inning by scoring six runs for a 7-4 victory.
Trouble Replacing Cespedes Production
Samardzija was just 2-7 in 17 starts for the Cubs despite a 2.83 ERA because of a lack of run support, and he may now feel like he is back in Chicago given the way the Oakland offense has performed since sacrificing Cespedes for a stud starting pitcher. The Athletics are batting a mere .198 vs. right-handed pitchers over the last five games while averaging 2.96 runs against them during this time.
Do not expect those bats to wake up tonight either given Cobb’s raging current form, so Tampa Bay appears to hold nice underdog value at this price on Monday.
MLB Pick: Rays +131