Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels MLB Odds and Pick for Opening Day

It’s finally baseball season. After months of grueling labor negotiations followed by a truncated spring training, Major League Baseball’s Opening Day is finally here. We have nine games on the schedule for Thursday around the league.

One of the more intriguing matchups on the Opening Day schedule will go down in Orange County. A pair of American League West powerhouses will go toe-to-toe when the Houston Astros take on the Los Angeles Angels.
Joe Maddon has already tapped Shohei Ohtani as his Opening Day starter. This will be Ohtani’s first Opening Day start in the mound since his arrival in the majors four years ago. The two-way phenom took home American League MVP honors last year largely due to his exploits at the plate, but he quietly established himself as one of the best starters in the league, too.

Houston, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Framber Valdez. Jake Odorizzi will get the ball in Friday’s game, while ace Justin Verlander has been pushed back to Saturday aftern missing all of last year following Tommy John surgery.

BetOnline thinks the Halos have a good chance to get their season kicked off with a win. The Halos are -120 moneyline favorites at home in this one.

Houston Astros

The Astros seem to lose more star-level talent with each passing offseason. After the recent departures of Gerrit Cole, George Springer, and others, Houston lost another big name in Carlos Correa over the winter. Last month, Correa skipped town to sign with the Twins on a lucrative, short-term deal.

However, the Astros are still among the betting favorites to win the AL again this year, even without Correa. Houston has won three pennants since 2017 with one World Series title in that span. However, the Astros have been upset in each of their last two trips to the Fall Classic, including a surprising loss last fall to the Atlanta Braves.

Valdez doesn’t have a lot of name recognition around the league, but he has quietly become one of Houston’s best pitchers in recent years. The left-hander isn’t a huge source of strikeouts, but he excels in the ground ball department.

In 22 regular-season games last year, Valdez finished 11-6 with a 3.14 ERA. He became Houston’s top starter in the postseason almost by default following the season-ending injury to Lance McCullers Jr.
Valdez posted a strikeout rate of 21.9 percent last year, which was right around league average. However, he induced ground balls at a remarkable 70.3 percent clip, which ranked first among all qualified starting pitchers in Major League Baseball.

The southpaw fared well against the Angels last year, as well. Valdez went 2-0 in his two starts against the Halos, allowing four earned runs in 12 total innings of work.

Los Angeles Angels

2022 is shaping up to be a massively important year for the Angels. Los Angeles has made just one playoff appearance since Mike Trout debuted back in 2011. With Ohtani and Trout both on the roster, there is really no excuse for this team anymore. To this point, LAA has largely wasted having arguably the two best players in the entire sport on the same roster.

In terms of his pitching, Ohtani came on strong as last season progressed. The right-hander went 9-2 across 23 starts with a 3.18 ERA. His strikeout rate north of 29 percent was among the league leaders for starting pitchers, as well.

The biggest obstacle for Ohtani on the pitching front is control. His 8.3 percent walk rate was still a little high by MLB standards, but it was easily his best mark since coming to the big leagues. If Ohtani can improve even further upon his walk rate in 2022, he could legitimately get himself into the American League Cy Young conversation.

Ohtani wasn’t quite as dominant against the Astros last year as he was against other foes. He went 0-1 in two starts vs. Houston with a bloated 6.10 ERA. However, those numbers were largely skewed by one poor start. He yielded six runs on nine hits in a start at Houston in September.

In his only other pitching appearance against the Astros in 2021, Ohtani racked up 10 strikeouts while yielding just one run on four hits across seven dazzling innings of work.

Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels MLB Game Pick

Houston is 31-17 over the last three seasons in their head-to-head matchups against the Angels. That, of course, includes the shortened 2020 pandemic season. Los Angeles went just 6-13 in their 19 meetings last year against the defending division champs.

Please Note:
Injuries were a problem for both teams last year, but both come into Opening Day largely healthy. Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon will both be back in the Angels’ lineup, while Alex Bregman is looking for
a bounce-back year after a lackluster 2021 for Houston.

Baseball is a volatile game, which makes betting on underdogs a potentially profitable endeavor. We won’t see Houston listed as underdogs all that often this season, so I think this is a good spot to take advantage. Take Houston at even-money to win this game outright on the moneyline. The Astros’ hitters have had success against Ohtani in the past, so Houston feels like a good bet to do some damage in this one.

Houston Astros

Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels Betting Recap

  • Moneyline: Astros +100, Angels -120
  • Runline: Astros +1.5 (-240), Angels -1.5 (+260)
  • Over/Under: Over 8.5 runs (-110), Under 8.5 runs (-110)
  • Pick: Houston Astros (+100)


Taylor Smith / Author

Taylor is a sports writer based in Southern California. While he primarily specializes in basketball, baseball and football, he will also dabble in things like soccer and politics from time to time. He has lived in just about every corner of the United States at one point or another, and he has been covering sports and sports betting for the better part of a decade. Taylor currently lives in Long Beach with his fiancé and their two cats.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.