Smyly to Continue His MLB Odds Roll in Baltimore

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 3:49 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 Wednesday.

 

A hot pitcher could give the road underdogs value Wednesday night when southpaw Drew Smyly and those Tampa Bay Rays (64-68, 35-32 away) pay a visit to right-hander Kevin Gausman and the first place Baltimore Orioles (75-55, 36-26 home) in the third game of a four-game series from Camden Yards in Baltimore, MD at 7:05 ET in a game available on MASN2.

The posted money line at Bet365 has Tampa Bay as a road underdog for this contest at current odds of +110.
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Recovered from Cubs Sweep
The Orioles surprisingly got swept by the Cubs in Chicago this past weekend to give the teams chasing them in the American League East some hope, but they have recovered nicely by winning the first two games of this series to re-establish a seven-game lead over the second place New York Yankees. Baltimore remains the hottest team in baseball since the end of June and it owns the third best record in the Major Leagues behind the L.A. Angels and Oakland.

The Rays almost became a great story as they had a hideous start to this season that had them bottoming out at 18 games under .500 only to go on a great charge and become a great MLB pick for an extended period to actually reach the .500 mark a couple of weeks ago and get back in the playoff chase. But alas, their great run appears to be all for naught as they are 3-7 since reaching .500 and have fallen 12 games behind the Orioles and 8½ games out of a wild card.


Great in a Rays Uniform
With that being said, Smyly gives the Rays a nice chance at an upset this evening. Smyly came over in the David Price trade, and while he is not near Price’s Cy Young level, he has still sparkled in a Tampa Bay uniform going 2-1 with a minuscule 1.55 ERA, 0.76 WHIP and a fine ratio of 23 strikeouts vs. six walks in 29 innings over four starts. Smyly is still 8-10 for the entire season, but with a very good 3.42 ERA and 112 strikeouts vs. 37 walks.

Smyly pitched in long relief last year after being a starter prior to that, and he was probably the lone bright spot in an abysmal Detroit bullpen while posting a 2.37 ERA and 1.04 WHIP with 81 strikeouts in 76 innings vs. 17 walks. As bad as the bullpen was otherwise, the Tigers saw no choice but to put Smyly back in the starting rotation this year, and although the record is mediocre, his overall numbers make it look like a wise move.

Smyly also pitched well in his only start vs. Baltimore this season while he was still with the Tigers, as he allowed one run on five hits is six innings back on May 13th. That was his first career start vs. the Orioles, but he did have eight scoreless innings of relief against them previously, leaving him with a 0.64 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and a .143 batting average allowed vs. Baltimore lifetime, albeit over just 14 innings.

He is facing a Baltimore offense batting .224 vs. left-handed pitchers over the last 10 games while averaging 3.46 runs against them in this time.


Stamina is an Issue
The Orioles have been high on Gausman since he came up to the majors last season, but the results have been mediocre. Granted he has improved since going 3-5 with a 5.66 ERA during that first cup of coffee with Baltimore, as he is 7-5 with a 3.81 ERA this season in the heat of a pennant race and has even allowed three earned runs or less in five straight starts.

However, Gausman has not quite pitched as well as that streak may imply because he is not working deeply into games. He only went beyond six innings once in those last five starts and remember he allowed exactly three earned runs in four of the outings. Thus, he actually has a lackluster 4.03 ERA over this five-start stretch.

Gausman has faced the Rays twice this season, and after tossing six scoreless innings at them in St. Petersburg the first go-around, Tampa Bay reached him for five earned runs in five innings here at Camden Yards in the rematch.


Better Record on the Road
That becomes less surprising when you consider that the Rays actually have a better record on the road (35-32) than they do at home (29-36) this season. Even the newly acquired Smyly has found an affinity for doing well on the road since donning a Tampa Bay uniform, tossing 16.2 scoreless innings over his last two road starts.

Thus, look for Smyly and the Rays to temporarily slow down the Orioles’ charge to a division title with a road win in Baltimore on Wednesday.
MLB Pick: Rays +110 at BetOnline