Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels Betting Pick

The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels are set to start their respective seasons on April 22nd in LA. The first pitch for opening day is scheduled for 9:38 EST at Angel Stadium. The Houston Astros are coming off another deep playoff run that ended in the World Series to the Atlanta Braves. After defeating the Chicago White Sox in the divisional round and the Red Sox in the ALCS, the Astros Were Set to Face the Atlanta Braves.

After the White Sox series, Astros ace Lance McCullers Jr. suffered an injury and was out the rest of the playoffs, which greatly impacted their depth, forcing them to use relievers as starters to get through games.

Ultimately it did not work out, but this season Houston is revamped and expected to have Justin Verlander back from injury. With Verlander, McCullers hopefully being available, and Framber Valdez, the Astros have a legit top three in the rotation with a high-run producing offense that includes Altuve, Bregman, Alvarez, Tucker, and more.

The Angels, on the other hand, are looking to rebound from a dreadful 2021 season in which they finished 77-85 and 4th in the AL West. Angels center fielder and arguably the greatest baseball player of all time, Mike Trout, looks to bounce back from a season in which he only played in 36 games due to a calf injury that shut him down for the season.

Los Angeles is also expected to have back all star 3B Anthony Rendon, who only played in 58 games last year due to injury. With the return of two perennial all stars and the league’s reigning AL MVP, the Angels have built their own big three that will cause damage to opposing pitchers. The two opening day starters are Framber Valdez and Shohei Ohtani.

Valdez, last year against the Angels, went 2-0 with an even 3.00 ERA. Ohtani, on the other hand, was 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA in two starts against the star-studded Astros. In this matchup of pitchers, I expect Valdez to confuse hitters all night with his wicked off-speed, especially the top of the order, which will feature Ohtani, Trout, and Rendon in that order.

Framber has struggled with control in his early career, but if he gets through the first couple of innings, it will likely turn out to be a good outing. Ohtani, who was crushed by the Astros last year, will need to use a mix of pitches to throw off hitters like Altuve and Tucker. Even with the loss of Correa, the Astros might have the MLB’s top lineup in terms of run production, which will be a big challenge for the reigning MVP in his first opening day start.

Opening Day Star Power

Opening day is finally among us. After what had looked like an upcoming shortened season, the MLB and MLBPA came to an agreement which gives us opening day relatively sooner than what was expected. After a quick spring training, all teams are ready for the 2022 season. The seven-game MLB slate features a handful of teams, but none quite like these two.

The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels will be the game of the day because of the stars. Three-time MVP Mike Trout makes his return, Anthony Rendon returns, and Ohtani is on the mound. The Astros have stars of their own, including former MVP Jose Altuve, former CY Young winner Justin Verlander, and 2019’s AL rookie of the year, Yordan Alvarez.

Throughout this series will be some of the best competing against one another in what looks to be the top two teams of the AL West. I expect there to be many high-scoring and contested games between the two ball clubs. The Angels are listed as -125 ML favorites over Houston.

Houston Astros Championship Aspirations

The Houston Astros, who are still criticized at most major league ballparks for their cheating scandal, are still one of the top teams in the league. The loss of Carlos Correa hurts, not only offensively but also defensively. To fill his void is rookie Jeremy Peña who has some big shoes to fill.

The Astros lineup is one of the best because of how they attack opposing pitchers. The team is disciplined, aggressive, and will fight to hell for every at bat, the way it should be. The health of the pitching staff will be a major factor for this team, with McCullers out until at least May and Verlander returning from injury. In what seems to be a weakened AL West, if the Astros can tread water until the pitching staff is healthy, they would be my pick to run away with the division.

New Look Angels

Last year was not a great year to be an Angels fan. With the excitement of Rendon, Trout, and Ohtani being together, the lineup rarely saw all three at once. However, this year will be different. With the addition of two all star caliber players, the Angels have also bolstered their pitching staff, which was a priority this off-season.

The main off-season additions to the pitching staff were Noah Syndergaard and relief pitchers Ryan Tepera and Archie Bradley. The help of these relievers will keep the Angels in games and hold leads, something they struggled with last year.

If the Angels were able to hold the lead till the 9th last year, it most likely resulted in a win with Raisel Iglesias as the closer. The Angels look to be a surprise AL contender this year, but will only go as far as the pitching takes them.

Astros/Angels Betting Prediction

For this game, it is a pick your poison in the betting department. With the return of LA’s stars and Ohtani struggling against the Astros historically, can you count on them? To me, I don’t think so quite yet. It will take this team some time to gel, but once they get the ball rolling, they will start stringing games together.

With the time missed between Trout and Rendon, I believe it will take some time to get adjusted to the real games again. On top of that, Ohtani struggles against the Astros, who are a resilient group. They refuse to strikeout and grind out at bats, which is important to note for opening day.

I don’t expect Maddon to let Ohtani exceed a high pitch count, especially with it being the first game. Valdez pitches well with a lead, and I think the Astros will spoil LA’s opening day by jumping on Ohtani in the first couple of innings. Houston Astros ML is the pick to play for this one.

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