The Los Angeles Angels are still the right MLB pick for Thursday’s tilt with the Houston Astros – even if they keep losing.
Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels
September, Thursday 23, 2021 – 9:38 PM EDT at Angel Stadium
Every once in a while, we get the chance to make back-to-back MLB picks here at the home office. Wednesday was the third of four games at the Big A between the Houston Astros (91-61, plus-2.80 units) and Los Angeles Angels (72-80, minus-5.72 units); we had L.A. as +193 home dogs, and that turned out to be a bargain price after some late action drove them down to +173. Wait, the late money wasn’t on Houston? The No. 2 team on the public money charts? Curious.
Anyway, the Angels put up quite a fight, and we stayed up late here at the ranch to watch, but they ended up losing 9-5 in the 12th. So close. At least we can put away any concerns over L.A. tanking Thursday’s finale; they’re probably still the right choice as +161 home dogs on the MLB odds board at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review), and we’re far too stubborn to let Wednesday’s result change our minds. Trust the process.
You’ve Got Cobb
Perhaps things will go better for us with Alex Cobb (2.60 FIP) taking the mound in Anaheim. Cobb was an absolute steal for the Angels this offseason, a reclamation project trying to bounce back from his 2015 Tommy John surgery – and a project the Baltimore Orioles had no patience to see through. They shipped Cobb to the Halos in February and paid over half his remaining $15 million in salary for the privilege; in just 16 starts for his new employers, the veteran righty has already matched his career season-high at 2.5 WAR (as per FanGraphs), racking up 4.66 betting units in earnings on a team record of 11-5.
The Astros also have one of their top starters on tap in Lance McCullers Jr. (3.47 FIP), an under-rated commodity pitching in the shadow of former Cy Young winners Justin Verlander (when healthy) and Zack Greinke. McCullers has Houston at 16-10 this year for 1.84 units in profit, with a modicum of support from the No. 11-ranked bullpen in baseball at 3.4 WAR. It’s mostly about the hitting with this team; the Astros lead the majors at 32.2 WAR, and in scoring at 5.40 runs per game, leaving the Over at 16-10 with McCullers on the hill.
It might be tempting to hit up that 8.5-run total at Bovada Sportsbook, but we’re happy (or at least stubborn enough) to stick with the Halos. FiveThirtyEight thinks this pitching matchup favors L.A. ever so slightly, enough to give them a decent chance of victory at 43 percent. That’s the same as +133 when you run it through the unflappable BMR Odds Converter, so there you go, the Angels are quant-approved at +161. It’s like picking cherries off a tree.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.