AL West Lead on Line When Astros Host Angels, Ohtani

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 12:24 PM UTC

Tuesday, Apr. 24, 2018 12:24 PM UTC

A dandy pitching matchup is on Tuesday’s card, and we have a free MLB pick as Shohei Ohtani leads the Angels against the Charlie Morton and the Astros in Houston.

Los Angeles Angels (15-8 SU, 13-10 O/U) at Houston Astros (16-8 SU, 9-14-1 O/U/P)Free MLB Pick: AngelsBest Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Offense was at a premium Monday night in Houston, where the defensing champion Astros opened a 3-game series with the Los Angeles Angels. Based on Tuesday’s pitching matchup, runs could be scarce again as the two clubs battle just a half-game apart at the top of the AL West Division.

Houston gets its first taste of Sho-Time in the 8:10 PM (ET) collision as Shohei Ohtani (2-1, 3.60) takes his next turn in LA’s rotation opposite Charlie Morton (3-0, 0.72) of the Astros. Heritage is selling the ‘Stros on a -140 money line with 8 for the scoreboard hurdle.

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When in Houston...

Shohei Ohtani met with NASA astronauts Soichi Noguchi and Joe Acaba during #HalosBP today!

— Angels (@Angels) April 24, 2018

Ohtani Could Have Field Day vs. Free-Swinging Houston Lineup

A couple of runs in the middle innings were all the Angels needed for a 2-0 decision in Game 1 of the set. The final followed the trend in the Houston matchups last year when seven of the 10 contests fell short of the totals. Houston has won the last three season series and 4 of 5 since being transferred to the AL West before the 2013 season.

A blister forced Ohtani from his last start after just two innings against the Red Sox, who tagged him for three runs in that span to hand the rookie his first big-league loss. The effort came nine days after Ohtani took a perfect game into the seventh against the Athletics, whom he had beaten in his MLB pitching debut a week before that in Oakland. Morton has been as good as any hurler in the bigs so far, though he gets lost behind Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole in Houston’s rotation. Morton is coming off seven shutout innings in Seattle last Thursday to win as -180 road chalk on the baseball odds, and Houston won all three of his assignments vs. the Angels last season while Morton compiled a 2.12 ERA (17 IP).

Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

Working the dish tonight for the fourth time this season should be Eric Cooper. ‘Under’ bettors have cashed twice in his three previous plate appearances after coming out ever-so-slightly ahead last year (12-13-2 O/U/P). The Iowan’s last five games behind the mask in Houston have run 2-3 O/U.

It’s pretty much the same forecast for Houston today as it was Monday when the roof was open at Minute Maid Park, the low 80s at first pitch under partly cloudy skies and just a hint of breeze out of the north. After striking out the fewest times of any MLB club in 2017, the Astros have whiffed the second-most times in the AL this year, one reason I’m backing the Halos with my free MLB pick.

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