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Angels vs. Astros MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Offenses Overvalued in Houston (Friday, July 1)

Angels vs. Astros MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Offenses Overvalued in Houston (Friday, July 1) article feature image
Credit:

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley

  • The Astros are home favorites on Friday against the Angels.
  • The Angels will start Michael Lorenzen while the Astros counter with Cristian Javier on the mound.
  • Check out Kenny Ducey's pick and analysis below.

Angels vs. Astros Odds

Angels Odds +135
Astros Odds -160
Over/Under 8 (-105 / -115)
Time 8:10 p.m. ET
TV Apple TV+
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Angels are fresh off their second series win in their last four and will look to keep the momentum going when they open a three-game set in Houston on Friday.

The Halos will send the normally-reliable Michael Lorenzen to the hill here against the indomitable Cristian Javier in a game that could easily turn into a pitcher’s duel. Is there value on the total or a side? Let’s break down the matchup.

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Angels Need Lorenzen to Find His Mojo

I said Lorenzen is normally reliable because, well, he’s been a bit off in his last four starts.

The righty allowed five runs in Philadelphia at the beginning of June and seven in Seattle just weeks later, bookending the month with a shaky start against those same Mariners the next time out. After allowing two runs in three innings in his second start of June against the Mariners, Lorenzen would finish the month with a 6.75 ERA over four starts.

While Lorenzen did strike out 21 hitters in 20 innings, upping the ante in that department, he also issued 13 free passes. While he has never really been great at limiting walks, Lorenzen had at least calmed down in that metric during the month of April with 19 walks in 32 and two-thirds innings. Somehow his Walk Rate for the season stands at just 9.8%, which is not too much worse than the league average, and it’s right in line with his career 9.7% Walk Rate.

The Angels are searching for answers at the plate. They own a 94 wRC+ over the last two weeks, which ranks 24th in the league, and they’re striking out in an alarming 25.5% of plate appearances. With that said, the Halos have a .171 ISO thanks in large part to a 10.8% Barrel Rate over the last two weeks, which ranks third in the league with a very beefy 41.5% Hard-Hit Rate.

Astros’ Javier Looks to Stay Scorching Hot

The Astros haven’t exactly been punishing the ball like the Angels as they have pretty average exit velocity and barrel numbers and are just 13th in Contact Rate over the last two weeks. Despite that, they’ve done a good deal of damage at the plate.

Yes, Houston is hitting .237, but it is rocking a 126 wRC+ in the last 14 days, which ranks second in baseball during that time. Why? Well, for starters, the Astros are walking in 9.8% of plate appearances and own a modest .322 on-base percentage. The biggest factor, though, would be the Astros’ .219 ISO, which has come with an impressive 23 home runs.

I’m not trying to poke holes in the Astros’ form, but it’s worth noting that nine of those 23 homers came with an expected batting average under .300, meaning they’ve been aided a bit by some friendly ballparks. While it’s not uncommon to have some cheapies, the Yankees, for reference, did not have a homer in June with an xBA under .283, and just two were under .300. The Astros had seven — seven! — at .214 or worse.

Okay, now for some Javier talk. You probably know this, but the 25-year-old is very good. He owns a 2.71 ERA and a low 2.37 xERA, posting one of the best Strikeout Rates in the league at 31.8%. While he’s walked 9.4% of the batters he’s faced, he’s given up just a .343 xwOBA on contact and a 34.5% Hard-Hit Rate. It is downright impossible to sock the ball off this guy, and it’s just as hard to make contact.

Angels-Astros Pick

I do see a bit of value on the Angels here, given what we’ve covered about the quality-of-contact numbers, but I think I like the total a bit more.

Lorenzen has been good enough at limiting damage when the ball has been hit with a .342 for me to believe he can navigate the Astros on Friday. Walks could turn into an issue, and that’s about the only reason why I can’t fully get behind the road team here.

I think the Astros’ offense is a bit overvalued here, but Javier is somehow undervalued. He’s good enough to take this game under all by himself, but I think he’ll have help here.

Pick: Under 8 (-110)

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