Astros vs. Angels Odds, Picks, Predictions: How to Bet Shohei Ohtani Against Houston on Opening Day (April 7)

Astros vs. Angels Odds, Picks, Predictions: How to Bet Shohei Ohtani Against Houston on Opening Day (April 7) article feature image

Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Shohei Ohtani

  • Shohei Ohtani and the Angels are Opening Day favorites on Thursday night against the Astros.
  • The defending AL champion Astros will send Framber Valdez to the mound as they look to remain on top of an improved AL West.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.

Astros vs. Angels Odds

Astros Odds-104
Angels Odds-122
Time9:38 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Astros will travel to Los Angeles to begin their season against the always-imposing Shohei Ohtani and the Angels. To counter, Houston will throw Framber Valdez, who was last seen surrendering runs in bunches to the Atlanta Braves in last year's World Series.

Are the Astros undervalued in this spot? Or are there reasons to like the Angels? Let's take a closer look at this one.

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Astros' Success Hinges on Valdez

I'll get into the Astros' offense in just a little bit, but I think this game begins and ends with Framber Valdez. No, I don't think he'll throw a complete game. What I meanis that the outcome hinges on how well he pitches in this one. If you couldn't tell already, I don't think it'll be very well.

The lefty certainly wasn't bad last year. He pitched to a 3.14 ERA for Houston in his age-27 season and won 11 games. With that said, none of his peripherals backed up that number. His FIP was an alarming 4.01 and his expected ERA sat at 3.81.

He once again allowed an inordinate amount of hard contact, with 44.4% of all contact registering 95+ mph off the bat. His strikeout rate was also nothing like we saw in 2020, dipping back down near 20%, and his walk rate climbed up into double-digits just as it did in the first two years of his career.

So there are certainly reasons to be a little concerned about Valdez and predict he might look more like the pitcher who gave up 10 earned runs across his final two starts of the postseason last year than the guy who pitched to a 3.14 ERA. I also don't love this Astros offense.

Sure, Kyle Tucker, Yordan Alvarez and Alex Bregman will hit. They always do. What about Jose Altuve, who was better — yet not his great self — in 2022? What about Michael Brantley, who is approaching 35? Is it fair to expect Jeremy Pena to come close to replacing Carlos Correa's bat? I see a lot of question marks in this lineup.

Angels Have Formidable Offense

The Angels signed Anthony Rendon after his All-Star season in 2019 hoping to get an RBI machine and bona fide MVP candidate to install in the middle of the order. What they got instead was a decent performance in a COVID-shortened season followed by a 58-game season in 2021 which was cut short due to injury. We know Rendon can hit — he has done it his whole career — and for one game, anyway, he'll be on the field.

The return of Rendon makes this Angels offense all the more dangerous. They have a guy who has four times finished in the top 11 in MVP voting batting cleanup and two favorites for the award in 2022 batting leadoff and third, respectively.

Jo Adell, once a player you dreaded watching, even looked good down the stretch last year hitting .333 in September and October and posting a .703 OPS in the second half. There is a lot that can go right for this L.A. lineup, and realistically it needs just two good performances per game to accent what the top four bring to the club.

Then, there's one of those MVP candidates — Shohei Ohtani. He will be the one getting the start on Thursday, and while I expect him to flourish against an aging Astros lineup, there are a few things we need to lay out.

He did spin a gem against Houston in May of last year with 10 strikeouts before allowing six earner runs over 3 1/3 frames later in September. He also gets deserved credit for his ridiculous strikeout numbers but did allow hard contact at nearly a 40% clip last year. For the righty, this one will once again be all about missing bats and limiting the gopher balls that have done him in periodically.

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Astros-Angels Pick

After laying out the doubts I have about Houston's order and their starter on Thursday, it should come as no surprise that I'm all over the Angels here. Ohtani should shut down this offense as he did last May, considering he no longer has to worry about Correa and will probably meet worse versions of Altuve and Brantley.

Rendon's .901 career OPS against lefties makes me all the more confident in an Angels offense that should tout seven right-handed hitters, and at least three that pack a real punch.

This could very well be L.A.'s year, and the year Houston retires as a powerhouse. It starts with an Opening Day win for the Halos.

Pick: Angels (-122)

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