Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels MLB Pick – May 16th

We were the victims of a rain cancellation last night when we took the Washington Nationals at home against the New York Yankees. Our side was looking great early as the Nationals jumped out a quick to a 3-0 lead. The Yankees managed to tie the game up just in time for the rain delay. Had the Nationals survived just one more half of an inning without giving up a run, this game would have gone the full five innings and they would have been awarded the rain-shortened victory. But alas, mother nature jumped in and killed our action. So, we will take our refund and fire it today at something else. For today’s bet I will look at the game between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Angels.

The Houston Astros are in Los Angeles Wednesday for game three of a three-game series with the Angels. This series feels like it could very well be a playoff preview as they two American League West foes are two of the best teams in the league. The Astros are in first place in the AL West at 27-17 and are just one win shy of having the most wins in the American League. The Angels aren’t far behind as they are just one game back of the Astros entering play today.

The Angels took game one 2-1 behind a huge performance from starter Andrew Heaney. Heaney pitched eight innings and allowed just one run and struck out ten Astros. Houston struck back in game two with some late-game heroics. The Angels managed to touch up Houston starter Garret Cole, something nobody has been able to do this year, and Cole was in line for the loss late in the game. But Houston was able to rally against the Angels bullpen and scored four runs in the eighth and ninth innings combined to steal the game 5-3. The rubber match of the series tonight promises to be an exciting one.

Starting tonight for Houston is their ace, Justin Verlander (4-2 1.21 ERA) and for the Angels it is Garrett Richards (4-1 4.08 ERA). The Astros are -133 road favorites. The game total over-under is set at seven and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 PM PST from Angels Stadium in Anaheim.

It looked like Justin Verlander’s time as an ace pitcher was just about done in his last few seasons with the Detroit Tigers. He was by no means bad, but it looked like the days of him winning Cy Young Awards were behind him. Then he got traded at the deadline to the Houston Astros and led them to a World Series Championship and was nearly unhittable down the stretch.

This season has started out much the same as last season ended. Through nine starts this year Verlander is 4-2 with an ERA of 1.21. Somehow the Astros have lost his last three starts, even though, get this, he has given up just a total of two earned runs in twenty innings in those three starts. Talk about hard-luck loser. Verlander is striking out guys at an elite level, he has seventy-seven punchouts in just fifty-one and two-thirds of an inning pitched. If the All-Star break were right now, it would be Verlander starting for the American League for sure.

Starting for the Angels is Garrett Richards. Richards is also enjoying a solid start to his season. While Richards is not posting numbers anywhere nearly as good as Verlander’s, he is having a good year, and the Angels are winning a lot when he pitches. Los Angeles in 6-2 in Richards eight starts this year. Richards is giving his team a chance to win each and every time he starts, and in the end, what more can you ask for out of a starter than that?

This is a great series and a great game tonight. Two very strong starters on the mound in what could very well be a playoff preview. There is no doubt both of these teams are amongst the four best teams in the American League, and they should battle each other all year long for the AL West title. So where do I see the value today? In backing Justin Verlander at such a low price.

Verlander is having what could be a historic season. I know there is a lot of baseball left to play but an American League pitcher with an ERA that could end up being sub one earned run would be absolutely historic. It goes to show you how tightly matched this game is that we can get a pitcher like Verlander that is at the absolute top of his game, and only have to lay -133.

To me, this is a tight game all the way down. I can see Verlander going seven-plus innings and finding a way to sneak out of LA with the win. Richards will likely not be bad as the Astros have struggled to score runs for Verlander, so I will shy away from any consideration of a run line bet. This game has 2-1 written all over it, and I am excited to see it play out. Give me Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros as small road favorites tonight in Anaheim!

The Bet: Houston Astros -133


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