Houston Astros at LA Angels Pick 7/22/18
Event: Astros vs. Angels
Date/Time: July 22, 2018 at 4:05 PM EDT
Location: Angel Stadium
Money Line: HOU -130 / LAA +120
Total line: 8.5un -115
By Darin Zank
The hot-again Astros shoot for a sweep of the slumping Angels Sunday afternoon out in Anaheim (4:05 ET). How are we leaning on this contest with our daily free MLB picks?
The MLB Betting Line
Sunday’s MLB betting odds opened Houston and Lance McCullers at around -135 over Los Angeles and Andrew Heaney, with an over/under of 8 runs. That line was then bet down about a nickel in early action, to the -130 range at BetOnline.
The Astros could also be found getting around +120 giving the run and a half on the run line.
Houston has taken the first two games of this series by scores of 3-1 Friday and 7-0 Saturday. The Astros won at -110 on the dime line Friday and -175 Saturday, and covered against the run line both nights.
So Houston is 4-1 over its last five games. At 66-35 overall the Astros lead the AL West by six games over second-place Seattle, but they also trail Boston by 3.5 games in the battle for the best record in the American League.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles has lost three games in a row and nine of its last 15. At 49-50 the Angels trail Houston by 16 games in the AL West, and they sit 10 games behind the Mariners in the scrum for the second American League wild-card spot.
The Astros lead this season series five games to three.
Sunday’s Starting Arms
This pitching match-up is a rematch of a game played back on May 14 of this season, a 2-1 LA victory.
Lefty Heaney (5-6, 3.78), by our strict standards, is 11/17 on quality starts this season and three for his last three. Eight days ago he held the Dodgers to two earned runs through 6 1/3 innings, and over his previous three starts, he’s allowed seven ER through 20 1/3 innings, with 26 strikeouts. The Angels are 7-10 with Heaney this year, with the unders going 10-5.
In that one start, this year against Houston Heaney allowed just one run and four hits, with 10 whiffs, through eight innings.
McCullers (10-4, 3.77) is 12/19 on quality starts this year. Eleven days ago he got nicked by Oakland for six runs through just four innings, with five walks, but in his five starts previous to that he allowed eight ER over 33 innings, with 42 strikeouts. The Astros are 13-6 with McCullers this season, with the overs going 10-8.
In four starts against Los Angeles over the last season-plus, including a quality effort back on May 14, McCullers allowed just four ER and 13 hits through 23 innings. Thanks to poor run support Houston lost three of those games, and three of those games played under their totals.
Sunday’s Batting Splits
Houston ranks No. 1 in the Majors against left-handed pitching with a .275 team batting average, 3rd with a .346 team OBP and 4th with a .452 team slugging percentage.
Los Angeles ranks 17th against right-handed pitching with a .249 BA, 11th with a .320 OBP and 9th with a .423 slugging percentage.
The Astros get our baseball handicapping check-mark with the sticks for Sunday.
The Houston bullpen ranks No. 1 in the ML with a 2.71 ERA and No. 1 with a 1.02 WHIP, while going 25/37 on save opportunities.
The Angels pen ranks 14th in ERA at 3.86 and 19th in WHIP at 1.36 while going 22/39 on save conversions.
So we give the Astros the check-mark in the comparison of the bullpens, too.
The unders are 26-20 in games played at Angel Stadium this year, which are averaging 8.2 total runs per.
The unders are also 6-1-1 in Astros-Angels games this season, six of which has seen seven or fewer total runs scored.
Free MLB Picks
The Astros get our handicapping edges with the sticks and the bullpens. Also, while McCullers is coming off a rough outing sometimes, that’s the best time to bet on a good pitcher, in expectation of a bounce-back effort. We’re betting Houston here, and we’ll chase the better price against the run line.