Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out an MLB total that does not add up and offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Saturday.
A low posted total could very well result in an ‘over’ Saturday afternoon when southpaw Francisco Liriano and the Pittsburgh Pirates (88-72, 37-42 away) pay a visit to right-hander Alfredo Simon and the Cincinnati Reds (74-86, 42-37 home) in the second game of their regular season ending three-game series from Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, OH at 1:05 ET in a game televised nationally on FOX Sports 1.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 6½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at -117.
Still Chasing Division Title
The Pirates are already in the playoffs as they have clinched at least a wild card spot, but they are still viable MLB picks to win the National League Central Division trailing the St. Louis Cardinals by just one game with two games left, so they will not be resting any regulars in this contest. And remember, Pittsburgh has scored more runs vs. right-handed pitchers this season (4.35 per game) than vs. southpaws (3.88).
This is actually a rematch of the National League Wild Card Game last season, but the Reds will not be joining the fray this year currently at 12 games under .500, as they never could overcome key injuries to their biggest run producers. With that being said, they are still averaging 4.10 runs per game this year vs. southpaws compared to just 3.52 runs vs. right-handers.
Welcome Back to Planet Earth
Simon has what was for him an extremely unrealistic first half of this season that resulted on him making the All-Star Game for the first time in his career at the ripe age of 33. However, he was far out-performing his sabremetric numbers and, as expected, Simon has regressed badly over the second half of the season even with a good outing vs. the Cardinals in his last start where he allowed two runs on seven hits in six innings for his 16th win.
That outing notwithstanding, Simon is still just 3-7 with a 4.34 ERA, 1.45 WHIP and a whopping .284 batting average allowed since the All-Star break with only 48 strikeouts vs. 26 walks in 74.2 innings. And this is after being 12-3 with a 2.70 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and .219 average allowed at the break. Look for his second-half struggles to continue vs. the determined Pirates here.
Never Beaten Cincinnati
Now granted Liriano is been in simply raging form for Pittsburgh as he has now allowed two runs or less in six consecutive starts. However, with this posted total being as low as it is, he may not even need to allow more than a few runs to push this game ‘over’ provided the Pirates hit Simon as well as we expect.
And the Reds are one team that has always given Liriano trouble, as he has in fact never beaten them going 0-5 with a 4.01 ERA lifetime vs. Cincinnati! Even this year with the Reds not having their usual offensive punch, Liriano has a 4.32 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in four starts against them. That marks the second highest ERA for Liriano this season against any team against whom he has made at least two starts, with only the Atlanta Braves giving him more trouble.
Head-to-Head ‘over’ Tendencies in Cincinnati
These teams have now gone ‘over’ on five of the last seven meetings here at Great American Ball Park, and the ‘over’ is an identical 5-2 in Liriano’s last seven starts vs. the Reds overall.
Look for those ‘over’ patterns to continue for at least one more game in Cincinnati on Saturday.`
MLB Pick: Pirates, Reds ‘over’ 6½ (-117)