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.
The team with the best record in baseball could actually be overvalued as a road favorite with a mediocre starter Thursday night when Matt Shoemaker and those Los Angeles Angels (75-50, 34-27 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Rubby De La Rosa and the Boston Red Sox (56-70, 29-36 home) in the final game of a four-game series from Fenway Park in Boston, MA at 7:10 ET in a game televised regionally on MLB Network.
The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Boston as a home underdog for this contest at current odds of +113.
Attempting to Finish Four-Game Road Sweep
The Angles have passed the Oakland Athletics for the best record in the majors in the last few days and now have a 1½-game lead over the A’s in the American League West as they look to complete a four-game sweep here in Boston tonight. Los Angeles did suffer a big loss last night however when Garrett Richards suffered an apparent season-ending knee injury, which means that the back end of the starting rotation now needs to step up.
The Red Sox have probably been the most disappointing MLB picks in baseball this year while going from first to worst, as Boston went from the pinnacle of being crowned World Champions just 10 short months ago to being in last place in the American League East this season and 17½ games behind the front-running Baltimore Orioles. The Red Sox were actually showing signs of life however since the trading deadline before the Angels came to town.
They could very well summon on their pride and return to their decent form of recent weeks to avoid getting swept at home here.
Is Shoemaker Worthy of Road Favoritism?
Shoemaker has not been terrible as the Angels’ fourth starter this year and he actually has a very good 11-4 record after beating the Texas Rangers on Saturday when he allowed two runs on four hits, although he lasted just 5.2 innings. Besides that won/lost record though, Shoemaker has the peripherals you would expect from a fourth starter with a nondescript 3.84 ERA and a rather high .262 batting average allowed.
Furthermore, Shoemaker’s 5-1 road record must be taken with a grain of salt considering his bloated 5.70 ERA away from Aneheim, a figure that in itself makes him a shaky road favorite. He also must contend with a Boston lineup that has heated up nicely vs. right-handed pitchers as of late, as the Red Sox are batting a hefty .280 while averaging a nice 4.81 runs per nine innings against them over the last 10 games!
Solid De La Rosa So Far
Another reason why Shoemaker may not be the best of road favorites here is because De La Rosa has very similar and maybe even slightly better stats, which at worst makes this a fairly even pitching matchup that gives inherent value to the home underdog. Granted De La Rosa got knocked around by the Houston Astros on Saturday for six runs on nine hits in four innings, but that still leaves him at 4-4 with a 3.79 ERA for the season.
Furthermore he had pitched well at Fenway Park before that Saturday’s stinker as he is still 3-1 with a 3.25 ERA here even after sustaining that first home loss. And while the Angels have continued to win, they are still batting only .239 vs. right-handed pitchers over the last 10 games.
Also should De La Rosa be in need of relief, he has a hot Boston bullpen to support him as that unit now has a 1.97 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP over the last 10 games, a period covering 31 innings with some of the Boston starters having relatively short starts during this time. That is usually not an issue for De La Rosa, who has seven Quality Starts in his last nine outings including going seven innings on four of those occasions.
Nice Start in Anaheim
And do not forget that De La Rosa tossed a gem vs. these Angels in Anaheim less than two weeks ago while getting the upset win at MLB odds of +139, allowing only one run on five hits with eight strikeouts in seven innings of the 3-1 victory.
Add this all up and Boston appears to offer good value as a home underdog on Thursday.
MLB Pick: Red Sox +113