The Angels took the opener of a series with AL West-leading Houston, but still have ground to make up. Anaheim is favored for Tuesday's Game 2, but this handicapper is thinking the betting value resides on the other side.
Astros-Angels Tuesday Betting Odds
As of early Tuesday morning the best line we could find on Anaheim and CJ Wilson was the -116 offered at BetOnline, while Houston and Collin McHugh were getting +110 at WagerWeb. And most books were listing the total on tonight's game at 7.5 runs.
The Angels took the opener of this series Monday night 4-3, with help from a pair of homers from a hot Albert Pujols and a squeeze-bunt RBI by Daniel Robertson in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Over the weekend Houston dropped two of three games in Seattle, but just before that the Astros had won five in a row. Houston has also played nine OVERS in its last 11 games, in part because the bats have been clicking.
Anaheim, meanwhile, just lost two of three games at Oakland over the weekend, and just before that it split four games with Arizona. So the Angels are only 4-5 over their last nine games. They've also played six UNDERS over their last seven games.
Big-picture, at 41-31 Houston still leads the AL West by three games over second-place Texas, while Anaheim, at 36-35, trails the Astros by 4.5 games. The Angels are also 2.5 games behind Minnesota in the battle for the second American League wild-card spot.
These teams have split eight meetings so far this season, with the UNDERS going 6-1-1, as the games have trended low-scoring.
Wilson (5-5, 3.39) is 8/14 on quality starts this year, and two for his last two. Last time out he held Arizona to one run through eight innings, with zero walks and nine strikeouts, and just before that he threw seven innings of two-hit, shutout ball against Oakland. For the season Wilson has allowed fewer hits, 77, than innings pitched, 93; Anaheim is 7-7 in Wilson's starts, with the UNDERS going 9-4.
Since the beginning of last season Wilson has started six times against the Astros, giving up 21 earned runs through 30 innings. Anaheim split those six games, and five of those games played OVER.
McHugh (7-3, 5.04), by our tough standards, is only 5/14 on quality starts this season, and 0 for his last five. Last time out he gave up three runs in six innings against Colorado, and over his last five starts he's allowed 22 runs through 28 innings. On the season McHugh has given up more hits, 94, including 13 home runs, than innings pitched, 86; Houston is 9-5 in McHugh's starts, with the OVERS going 9-4.
Since the beginning of last season McHugh has started five times against the Angels, allowing just seven earned runs through 31 innings. The Astros won three of those games, and four of those games played UNDER.
Tuesday's Batting Splits
Houston ranks 21st in the Majors this season with a .308 team OBP against left-handed pitching.
Anaheim, meanwhile, ranks 24th against righties with a .301 OBP.
Houston IF Jose Altuve has missed recent action with a sore hamstring, and while he played Monday night, bettors might want to check the lineups before playing this game.
Astros-Angels Free Picks
We'd give Wilson the edge in the pitching match-up, but his recent work against Houston, and McHugh's track record against Anaheim, creates a wash. We believe the value on tonight's line resides with the Astros. Also, both lineups rank in the bottom third in today's batting splits, so we're thinking UNDER as our MLB pick.