Rays are Again the MLB Pick in Baltimore

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, August 28, 2014 4:15 PM 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 Thursday.

 

Look for a division leader to lose at home for the second straight night Thursday when Jeremy Hellickson and the Tampa Bay Rays (65-68, 36-32 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Bud Norris and those first place Baltimore Orioles (75-56, 36-27 home) in the final game of a four-game series from Camden Yards in Baltimore, MD at 7:05 ET in a game available on MASN.

The posted money line at Bet365 has Tampa Bay as a road underdog for this contest at current odds of +112.
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Looking for Series Split
After losing the first two games of this series, the Rays have a chance to salvage a split tonight after winning the third game last night as small underdogs as we predicted with Drew Smyly on the hill. It may be late for the Rays to make a playoff charge though as they trail the Seattle Mariners by 7½ games for the second wild card spot with four other clubs between the two teams, but it has still been a nice comeback for Tampa since being 18 games under .500.

The Orioles meanwhile look like the MLB picks to win the American League East, although their lead over the second place New York Yankees did get trimmed a bit to six games last night with the Baltimore loss combined with the Yankees impressively teeing off on David Price while roughing up the Detroit Tigers.


Hellickson Good and Fresh
And the Orioles could possibly be filling a bit more heat by the time this night is over with Hellickson as their mound opponent. Remember that Hellickson missed just about the entire first half of the season on the Disabled List with an elbow injury and he did not make his seasonal debut until July 8th, and his fresh arm has him in excellent form right now.

Most recently Hellickson allowed two runs on only three hits in 6.1 innings vs. the Toronto Blue Jays north of the border on Saturday, and that leaves him with a total of only seven runs and 15 hits allowed over his last four starts, leading to a 2.22 ERA and a microscopic 0.78 WHIP over those outings with a great ratio of 22 strikeouts vs. just four walks in 24.1 innings.


Norris a Bit Disappointing
The Orioles acquired Norris near the trading deadline last season in an attempt to bolster their starting rotation after he had nice success while pitching without any pressure for the last place Houston Astros. However he did not make a smooth transition to pitching in a pennant race and the Baltimore playoff chase fell short.

Now, Norris has had some nice moments while going 11-8 this season, but his 3.91 ERA is still not what the Orioles envisioned when they picked him up. Moreover he lasted just two innings vs. the normally light-hitting Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Saturday where he was charged with four earned runs on four hits plus one walk, needing 58 pitches to negotiate just two frames.

Norris does not have especially good numbers in his five career appearances vs. Tampa Bay either going 1-2 with a 3.96 ERA, 1.56 WHIP and 28 strikeouts but a lofty 15 walks in 25 innings.


Red-Hot on the Road
The Rays have apparently enjoyed getting away from St. Petersburg as they are now a blazing 22-8 in their last 30 road contests after their win last night. It is also a shame that Tampa Bay plays its home games on artificial turf considering that the Rays are 20-7 in their last 27 games on grass.

Given the recent forms of these starting pitchers, look for both of those patterns to continue for one more night with another Tampa Bay road win in Camden Yards on Thursday.
MLB Pick: Rays +112