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Los Angeles Angels at Houston Astros Betting Preview

Thursday night will see the start of a four-game series between AL West rivals as the Los Angeles Angels (9-7) will square off with the Houston Astros (7-10). Houston will host this one at Minute Maid Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:10 pm ET.

Los Angeles just finished a rough series against the Texas Rangers, as it dropped two of three to the division foes. In the last outing, a 7-4 loss, Jose Quintana threw five innings of one-run ball, but the bullpen blew the game, giving up six runs. In the loss, both Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani hit home runs.

After winning six of their first seven games, the Astros are now ice cold. In fact, they have lost nine of their last 10 games.

In that stretch, they have been swept by both the Detroit Tigers and Colorado Rockies, two of the worst teams in baseball. They will look to get back on track Thursday.

Despite the rough stretch, the Astros are the slight favorites playing at home. They are -144 to win, while the Angels’ moneyline sits at +122. The run line features Los Angeles +1.5, and the over/under for total runs is nine.

Pitching Matchup

The Angels will send righty Alex Cobb (1-0, 4.63 ERA) to the mound. After having his last start postponed due to COVID-19, Cobb will be making his first start since April 12. In that outing, a 10-3 Angels’ win, Cobb allowed three runs while striking out 10 in just under six innings.

Due to off days and not needing a fifth starter, Christian Javier will be making his first start since April 8. In that start, a 6-2 win over the A’s, Javier went five shutout innings while striking out seven. He has been at the Astros’ alternative site since continuing to stay stretched out in simulated games.

By The Numbers

Offensively, the Angels have been one of the best teams in the league. They rank third in the majors averaging 5.40 runs per game.

The Astros rank ninth, averaging 4.62 runs. However, that is misleading, as they have struggled of late, averaging just 1.67 runs over their last three games.

Defensively, it is the Astros who hold the advantage. They rank 19th in runs allowed per game at 4.50. The Angels are 28th, allowing 5.07 runs per game.

Angels Outslugging Opponents

With a strong lineup around him, Trout and the Angels are simply outslugging most teams this season. In fact, even in their loss to the Rangers Wednesday, they still hit four solo home runs.

Leading the way for the Angels has been the star center fielder. Trout is currently hitting a ridiculous .393/.507/.804 with six home runs and 12 runs batted in.

Ohtani has also been putting on a show this year. When he is not dazzling on the mound, he is absolutely mashing the ball. He is hitting .310/.355/.690 with five home runs and 31 runs batted in.

Justin Upton (four home runs, 11 runs batted in) and Jared Walsh (four home runs, 13 runs batted in) have also gotten off to nice starts.

Houston Trying To Get Back To Form

The Astros offense has been absolutely anemic of late. Granted, it did not help that they have been without Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve for a considerable time due to COVID-19 protocols (in fact, Altuve is still out). However, there is enough other talent that the Astros should not have fallen into an absolute state of despair.

One player who has been a bright spot is first baseman Yuli Gurriel. In 60 at-bats, he is hitting .333/.452/.500 with two home runs, eight runs batted in and 13 walks versus just eight strikeouts.

After playing the last two games in a National League park, the Astros will be glad to have Alvarez back in the lineup. Between interleague play and COVID-19 protocols, he only has 47 at-bats. In that time, he is hitting .277/.300/.489 with a couple of home runs and eight runs batted in.

The offense is too talented with the likes of Bregman, Alvarez, Gurriel, Carlos Correa, Michael Brantley and Kyle Tucker, but Houston needs to turn it around sooner than later. Currently, at 7-10, it sits dead last in the AL West.

Hard To Feel Confident In Houston

Despite playing only 17 games, it feels like Houston has played two separate seasons this year. You have the first seven games, where the Astros absolutely terrorized opponents, and then you have the last 10 games, where they can’t buy a win.

With the Astros’ struggles and the Angels’ offense clicking, it feels like Los Angeles is the bet to be made here. Even if the moneyline feels risky, betting the Angels on the run line seems like a smart and easy play.

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