MLB Pick: Astros To Pounce On Lincecum & The Angels Early

Tim Lincecum

Jay Pryce

Sunday, July 24, 2016 3:03 PM GMT

The Astros look to close out yet another sweep of the Angels this season, as Fiers and Lincecum go head-to-head this afternoon at Minute Maid Park. Get your free MLB pick here. 

Los Angeles Angels vs Houston Astros

Los Angeles Angels (43-54) – Tim Lincecum (2-3, 6.59 ERA)
Losing 7-2 last night in Houston, the Angels are now just 1-10 against their American League West rivals in 2016. Dropping their last 10 in a row, the Astros average 5.5 runs against, beating L.A. by 2.2 runs per game on average.

Manager Mike Scioscia calls on Tim Lincecum this afternoon to stall the slide. It has been a rocky return to a big-league rotation for the two-time NL Cy Young winner. Gifting three earned runs or more in his last five starts, hitters have slugged 43 hits over Lincecum’s last 22.2 innings pitched. “The Freak” is in grave danger of losing his starting spot.

Linceum is 5-1 with a 1.60 ERA in 10 career starts versus the Astros, but most of these outings came during the right-hander’s hey day. He squared off against Scott Feldman and the ‘Stros a little more than a month ago, and was rocked for five earned runs on seven hits in 4.1 frames. Lincecum struck out seven, but walked four and tossed just 55 strikes in 101 pitches. Control has been an issue in his return.

Opening at +175 MLB odds, the Angels are just 2-8 on the season when spotted +145 or more in the betting market this year. Allowing 5.8 runs per game, bettors have netted 23 percent profit on the fade.

 

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Houston Astros (53-44) – Mike Fiers (6-4, 4.75 ERA)
The Astros own the best record in baseball over the last two calendar months, going 36-16 with a 69 percent winning percentage. Good team baseball is fueling the run, scoring 4.9 runs and allowing just 3.4 per game.

Mike Fiers gets the nod for skipper A.J. Hinch this afternoon. The right-hander was absolutely shelled in his last two outings, yielding 10 earned runs on 10 hits in 7.0 innings overall. He has worked just one quality start in his last six appearances, a 5-0 victory over the White Sox on July 1.

Despite the recent struggles, the Astros dominate as home chalk behind Fiers. Going 7-2 this season, they have slugged 6.3 runs in support, rewarding bettors with a 27 percent return.

Fiers is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three career starts against the Angels, all coming in a Houston uniform. L.A.’s current roster is hitting .289 against (13-for-45) with over half the hits going for extra bases (four doubles, three home runs).

The UNDER is 26-14-3 this year when the Astros toss the first pitch as chalk at Minute Maid Park. The 9.5 over-under today is the highest offered for a contest in Houston since 2014. For what it’s worth, dating back to 2009, the Astros are 12-3 SU in their last 15 at home with a game total at 9.5 or higher.

 

Final Analysis
The chances of this contest turning into a run-fest are extremely high. Fiers is fishing for consistency and Lincecum is serving up a platter of meatballs every game. That being said, the high over-under mark shies us away a bit, and we like the value on the Astros in the first five innings best. The Giants have gifted five runs in the first half in four of “Big-Time Timmy Jim’s” last five starts. We expect the Astros to continue the run parade. Astros -0.5 (-125) through the first five innings is the free MLB pick

 

Free MLB Pick: Astros -1/2 -125 (1st 5)
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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