It’s Opening Day in Major League Baseball as the Houston Astros take on the Los Angeles Angels at Angels Stadium. It’s time to continue our MLB odds series with an Astros-Angels prediction and pick.
The Astros went 95-67 last season, losing in six games in the World Series to the Atlanta Braves. Now, they look to bounce back. Ultimately, the Astros will try to get back to the World Series for the fourth time in six seasons. Framber Valdez is the ninth unique Opening Day starter the Astros have trotted out since the 2010 season. Last season, Valdez went 11-6 with a 3.14 ERA. He leads an Astros pitching staff that possessed the 7th best ERA in baseball last season. Similarly, the offense returns intact. Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez, and Yuli Guriel power the Houston attack. Likewise, Dusty Baker returns to manage the Astros. Consequently, Baker needs 13 wins to become the 13th manager in MLB history with 2,000 career wins.
The Angels went 77-85, missing the playoffs for the seventh season in a row. The Angels endured multiple injuries, as Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon combined to miss 94 games. Additionally, the Angels struggled in the pitching department. The team ranked 24th in pitching throughout the league. The Angels starting pitching staff possessed a 4.78 ERA. The one star was Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 13 starts. Likewise, Ohtani was a force at the plate, smashing 46 home runs with 100 RBIs. It earned him the AL MVP award. The Angels also built a solid back-end of the bullpen. Raisel Iglesias went 7-5 with 34 saves for the Halos. This season, the Angels look for consistency from the rest of their pitching staff to contend with the Astros.
Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the Astros-Angels MLB odds:
MLB Odds: Astros-Angels Odds
Astros: +1.5 (-184)
Angels: -1.5 (+152)
Over: 8.5 (-120)
Under: 8.5 (-102)
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Why The Astros Could Cover The Spread
Houston has dominated the Angels since it moved to the AL West. To emphasize, the Astros are 96-66 against the Halos since 2013. Likewise, Houston went 13-6 against the Angels in 2021, including a 6-3 mark at Angels Stadium. They have done this with superior pitching and spectacular hitting. Valdez faced the Angels twice last season and won both of them. Also, he faced off with Ohtani on September 10, 2021. The Astros won that game 10-5, with Valdez lasting five innings and giving up five earned runs. Furthermore, he shut out the Angels a week and a half later. On September 20, 2021, Valdez pitched seven scoreless innings, giving up six scattered hits.
Likewise, the Astros have astonishing force on offense. In 2021, Houston ranked first in the league in batting average, on-base percentage, and runs scored. Altuve connected on 31 home runs and 83 RBIs in 2021. Similarly, Alvarez slammed 33 home runs with 104 RBIs. Additionally, Guriel was a pest to opposing pitchers, as he hit .319 from the plate with 15 home runs and 81 RBIs. Facing Ohtani will be tough. However, Ohtani has not beaten the Astros yet. Last season, Ohtani went 0-1 in two starts against the Astros.
Hence, the Astros will cover the spread if Valdez dominates the Angels. Also, if Altuve, Alvarez, and Guriel make contact, then it will be a long night for the Angels. Lastly, the Astros must contain Ohtani. They must score on him offensively. Also, they must take him down at the plate. Not letting Ohtani hurt them will be the greatest key to success for the Astros.
Why The Angels Could Cover The Spread
Ohtani is on the mound. Despite not having a win over Houston, he did have a spectacular performance against them in one of his starts last season. On May 11, 2021, Ohtani gave up one earned run on four hits over seven innings of work in a game where he took the no-decision. As always with the Angels, Ohtani will be the cog in the ignition, and he will need to perform spectacularly for the Angels to win.
In addition to Ohtani, Trout and Rendon need to prove they have recovered from injuries and illness. Trout hit eight home runs and 18 RBIs in 36 games before an injury shut him down. Likewise, Rendon slugged six home runs with 34 RBIs over 58 games during his injury-shortened season. Additionally, the Angels discovered a gem in Jared Walsh. Walsh crushed 29 home runs and 98 RBIs last season. The Angels need him to repeat those numbers and support Ohtani. Jo Adell will look to improve offensively and break out this season.
The Angels will cover the spread if their offense explodes. They need Ohtani, Trout, Rendon, and Walsh to lead the way and strike early against Valdez. Additionally, the Angels can cover the spread if Ohtani dominates as he did in the May 11 start against Houston.
Final Astros-Angels Prediction & Pick
It is tempting to take the Angels with the money line. However, beating the Astros has been strenuous for the Halos. They could defeat the Astros, but it will not be easy. Therefore, this game will go down to the wire, and the Astros will cover the spread, making the game exciting to the very end.
Final Astros-Angels Prediction & Pick: Astros +1.5 (-184)