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 Monday.
The tiny home underdog seems to offer nice value in interleague play Monday night when Carlos Frias and the division leading Los Angeles Dodgers (37-26, 12-16 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Yovani Gallardo and those second place Texas Rangers (33-30, 13-16 home) for the first of two games from Globe Life Park in Arlington, TX at 8:05 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Southwest.
The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Texas as a small home underdog for this contest at current odds of +106.
Rangers Vastly Improved
The Dodgers are the current favorites to win the World Series at more than a few sportsbooks, and they have now opened a 3½-game lead on the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants in the National League West after taking two our of three games from the Padres in San Diego over the weekend.
As for the Rangers, they were the worst MLB picks in the American League last season, but they were beset with injuries all season and figured to be improved this year. Well, it did not look that way when they got off to a 16-23 start, but Texas has since gone 17-7 to surge to second place in the American League West, only 2½ games behind the surprising Houston Astros.
In fact the AL West looks upside down after Texas and Houston had the two worst records in the American League last season!
Gallardo Pitching Like an Ace
Gallardo is in his first season with the Rangers after spending his entire career with the Milwaukee Brewers before this year and he is starting to pitch like the ace that Texas hoped he would be with Yu Darvish lost for the season. Do not be fooled by the 5-6 record as Gallardo has pitched better than that, and he has gotten better as the season has gone along.
Gallardo now has a 3.45 ERA and 1.23 WHIP thanks to allowing two runs or less in each of his last four starts while going 2-0 with two no-decisions. And his last start vs. the Oakland Athletics Wednesday may have been his best one yet as he recorded 10 strikeouts against one walk while allowing two runs on only five hits in seven innings while unfortunately not factoring in the decision.
Gallardo is also familiar with the Dodgers from his days with the Brewers of the National League and he has recorded Quality Starts in each of his last five starts vs. Los Angeles including allowing two runs or less in three of them. He is now catching a Dodger lineup batting .242 and averaging just 3.85 runs vs. right-handers on the road this year, compared to a .257 while averaging a heftier 4.96 runs vs. southpaws while traveling.
Now, has the rookie Frias really done enough to be installed as a small road favorite vs. an established starter like Gallardo? Frias is 4-3 with a 3.86 ERA, but his 1.51 WHIP is certainly not flattering and his peripherals suggest that the ERA is quite fluky. After all, Frias does not have good command numbers with 5.14 strikeouts vs. 2.57 walks per nine innings, and pitching to contact that often may not be ideal the way that Texas is hitting the ball.
The Rangers are batting .294 vs. right-handed pitchers while averaging 4.85 runs against them over the last 10 games and they are now batting .271 while averaging 4.91 runs vs. righties here at home over the entire season. Furthermore Texas has averaged 6.4 runs overall while going 7-2 in its last nine games in this stadium.
And do not forget that despite winning the series in San Diego this weekend, the Dodgers have not been the most reliable team in the world on the road this year, having just one winning road trip up until now!
Losing Record on the Road
In fact, the Dodgers have a losing 12-16 record away from Los Angeles compared to being 25-10 at Chavez Ravine, and now facing a hot home team makes them even more vulnerable as a small favorite.
Add this all up and Texas appears to offer value as an underdog in Arlington as it hosts the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday.
MLB Pick: Rangers +106