Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out an MLB total that does not add up and offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Thursday.
Even with the staring pitcher for the National League in the All-Star Game on the mound, the ‘over’ may still be the play Thursday night when Brandon Workman and the Boston Red Sox (50-63, 23-32 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander and All-Star Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals (60-52, 32-25 home) in the final game of a three-game interleague series from Busch Stadium in St. Louis, MO at 7:15 ET in a game televised nationally on MLB Network.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at a positive +110.
Two ‘unders’ to Begin the Series
These teams split two low-scoring one-run decisions in the first two games of this series, with the Cardinals winning the opener 3-2 on Tuesday and the Red Sox pulling the 2-1 upset last night as +125 underdogs. Then again, one-run games are nothing new for the Red Sox as they are 22-22 in 44 of them this year. Unfortunately they have no hope of a return trip to the World Series as they are dead last in the American League East 14 games behind first-place Baltimore.
The Cardinals on the other hand have been very live MLB picks this season and they are now just one game behind a Milwaukee Brewers’ team that has been in first place in the National League Central all season long. Luckily St. Louis lost no ground on Wednesday with the Brewers losing at home to the San Francisco Giants.
Workman Not in Good Form
So with the first two games of this series going ‘under’ and with the All-Star Wainwright facing an also-ran, why do we suddenly like the ‘over’ in this contest? Well, low posted totals like this usually require both starting pitchers to do their jobs, and we have no faith that Workman will do so given his currently off form.
That is not to say that the youngster has ever been in good form since coming to the Major Leagues as he is 1-4 with a 4.08 ERA this season after going a deceptive 6-3 given his 4.97 ERA and 1.42 WHIP during his initial call-up last year. But he has been particularly bad over his last four starts while allowing at least four runs in every one of them, going 0-4 with a 5.87 ERA, 1.52 WHIP and a weak ratio of 15 strikeouts vs. 11 walks in 23 innings over those four outings.
The Cardinals may not be as good offensively as they were last season, but they are still batting considerably better vs. right-handed pitchers (.257) than vs. left-handed pitchers (.218) here at Busch Stadium this year.
Wainwright Comes Off of Stinker
Yes Wainwright appears to be the biggest threat to Clayton Kershaw for the National League Cy Young Award and “Waino” did get the nod to start the All-Star Game over Kershaw. However, if Workman continues to struggle as badly as he has recently, Wainwright may not even need to allow many runs to push this game ‘over’ this low total and remember that he did have a rare poor effort vs. the Brewers last out allowing seven earned runs in 5.1 innings.
That actually marked the second rough outing in three starts for Waino as he was touched up for six earned runs in 4.2 innings in a 7-2 home loss to the Tampa Bay Rays three starts ago. Can it be that the 10 days off the Cardinals gave him around the All-Star Game did him more harm than good? Also remember that Wainwright did lose to the Red Sox twice during the World Series, allowing a total of eight runs and 14 hits in 12 innings.
Bullpens Not Providing Relief
And when the bullpens get called upon tonight, the ‘over’ will look even better at this low number. The Boston bullpen has posted a 4.09 ERA and 1.36 WHIP over the last 10 games, while the St. Louis bullpen has been even worse over that same 10-game span with a 4.50 ERA and 1.46 WHIP.
Add this all up and the ‘over’ seems like the prudent play at this number in St. Louis on Thursday.
MLB Pick: Red Sox, Cardinals ‘over’ 7½ (+110)