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June 20, 2015 (Posted at 3:00 PM ET)

Picks will be posted at noon (12:00 PM ET) on Sunday.
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Sports Profit System owns a stellar 19-9 record in MLB betting on underdogs, small favorites and totals!

There are exceptions to every rule however and today is one of those rare cases where we believe a big favorite presents the best value. Having backed the Rays as hefty underdogs in the opener, it is the home team that is the correct side tonight.
 

Take Cleveland Indians (-181) on the Money Line against Tampa Rays risking 3% of the bankroll.
(Kluber and Ramirez must start for wager to have action)

Last night we believed that the Tampa Bay Rays had value heading into the opener against the Indians as that was likely their best chance to grab a win this series. Today however it is the Tribe that should have the advantage in this matchup. Not only do the Indians have the motivation to bounce back from last night’s loss but they also have a big edge on the mound tonight.  

The Cleveland Indians will send Corey Kluber to the mound tonight. Kluber has been one of the unluckiest pitchers in baseball this season. The reigning Cy Young winner comes in with a 3-8 record to go along with a 3.54 ERA on the season but has pitched nowhere near as poorly as his overall record indicates. Something that we find interesting is that even though Kluber has a somewhat unimpressive 3.54 ERA, he actually ranks second in the American League in FIP with a 2.46. Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) measures what a player’s ERA would look like over a given period of time if the pitcher were to have experienced league average results on balls in play and league average timing It is essentially a measurement of a pitcher’s performance that strips out the role of defense, luck, and sequencing, making it a more stable indicator of how a pitcher actually performed over a given period of time than a runs allowed based statistic that is highly dependent on the quality of defense played behind him. It's a truer indicator of how a pitcher has performed than overall ERA. 

Having said that, Kluber is an extremely tough pitcher who has some nasty stuff on the pitches he throws. He is a strikeout pitcher and has managed to baffle hitters this season. He has a 111 to 18 strikeout to walk ratio which is incredibly impressive. In 3 career starts against the Rays, Kluber has a 2-0 record with a miniscule 1.08 ERA. A big reason for Kluber's struggles this season has been due to a lack of run support from his offense (2.35 runs per game) and not necessarily a reflection on how he has pitched this season. He continually puts in solid outings and puts his team in a position to get the win so it's only a matter of time before his offense rewards him for his efforts. Coming off a loss last night, we expect that to happen tonight. Cleveland has been a team that has historically bounced back strong after a loss as they are 21-13 on the season coming off a defeat. 

For the Rays, they will send Erasmo Ramirez to the mound tonight. Ramirez is having a good season thus far but that's primarly due to the amount of run support he's been getting and not how excellent he's actually pitched. His ERA is 4.45 on the season and nothing special and yet he sports a 6-2 Win-Loss record. It's easy to see that Ramirez has the much better record coming into this game tonight but he is not the better pitcher. In fact, we believe he is playing a bit over his head and he is not in fact as good a pitcher as his record indicates, especially on the road. On the road, he may have a 3-1 record this season however his ERA is an unimpressive 4.79. Ramirez has had control issues this season having walked 21 batters this season! Fortunately for him, teams have not really made him pay for those mistakes. That will eventually change. Unlike Kluber, he has had the benefit of receiving consistent run support from his team in the outings that he has struggled in. Against a pitcher in the calibre of Kluber, we believe it will be much more difficult for the Rays to mount any kind of consistent offense so Ramirez's mistakes will likely be magnified tonight. The Rays were the correct side last night but in this game, we expect the Indians to get the win and tie the series. Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley are two of the best hitters in the game and should spark this offense.




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