Texas Rangers are the MLB Pick as Big Dogs at Tampa Bay

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, May 7, 2015 2:06 PM UTC

Thursday, May. 7, 2015 2:06 PM UTC

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Thursday.


In a battle of two fine pitchers, the hot underdogs with the much hotter offense seem to offer great value Thursday night when Nick Martinez and the Texas Rangers (11-16, 8-7 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Chris Archer and the Tampa Bay Rays (15-13, 6-6 home) in the first game of a four-game weekend series from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL at 7:10 ET in a game televised regionally on MLB Network.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Texas as a decided road underdog for this contest at current odds of +147.

Clean Sweep in Houston
The Rangers figured to be improved after finishing with the worst record in the American League last year as much of that was due to a decimated roster with a plethora of injuries, and although Texas is just 11-16 so far, it just showed what it is capable off by sweeping three games on the road from a Houston Astros team that began that series with the best record in the AL and riding a 10-game winning streak, outscoring Houston 20-5 in the process!

The Rays began this week as the winning MLB picks in two of the three games vs. the Red Sox in Boston, winning the series with a 5-3 triumph in the finale Wednesday with Evan Longoria rediscovering his power stoke with two home runs, giving him three for the season. The Rays are only 25th in the Major Leagues in scoring with 3.61 runs per game and 24th in batting at .234, so their pitching is just about entirely responsible for their winning 15-13 record to begin this series.

Archer Human After All
And of course that pitching includes the new ace of the staff in the 26-year-old Archer, who is a deceptive 3-3 given his 1.64 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 42 strikeouts vs. 10 walks in 38.1 innings. In fact Archer had gone four consecutive starts without allowing a single earned run, a span covering 26.2 innings, before he finally proved he was human by allowing four earned runs on six hits plus four walks in a 4-0 loss to the Baltimore Orioles Saturday.

Archer has not gotten much run support though, ergo the 3-3 record, and he even lost one game during the four-game streak where he did not allow an earned run, as he took a 1-0 loss to the Red Sox when allowing an unearned run on April 21st.

That lack of run support is a concern here vs. another hot pitcher as he is facing a Texas offense just starting to explode, a Texas offense batting a hearty .302 and averaging a bountiful 8.17 runs per game vs. right-hander pitchers over the last five games!

Martinez Blossoming This Early Season
The Rangers have always been high on the 24-year-old Martinez and he is showing why while starting to come into his own this season, going 2-0 with a miniscule 0.84 ERA and 1.13 WHIP with the Rangers as a team going 5-0 in all of his starts. In fact, Martinez has now allowed two earned runs or less on all five of his starts this year including allowing no earned runs three times and one earned run once, for a grand total of three earned runs allowed in 32 innings.

Martinez just barely qualified for a Quality Start in his only career start for the Rays last year when he allowed three earned runs in six innings, although to his credit he did allow only four hits and seems much more mature this season. It also helps to be facing a struggling Tampa Bay offense that is batting only .238 and averaging 2.62 runs vs. right-handed pitchers over the last five games.

Texas Loves Visiting Winning Teams
Finally, the sweep in Houston continues an amazing Texas steak that now has the Rangers at 11-1 in their last 12 road games vs. teams with winning records! Also, for as talented as Archer is, the Rays as a team are still just 3-8 in his last 11 home starts despite him being favored in all but one of those games.

Add this all up and Texas seems to offer value at another nice price to stay hot and open this series vs. the Rays in St. Petersburg on a winning note on Thursday.

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MLB Pick: Rangers +147

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