Houston Astros vs Los Angeles Angels: Preview, Prediction & Odds -- Aug. 14, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 9:07 p.m. ET
Venue: Angel Stadium, Anaheim, CA
Where to watch: AT&T SportsNet-SW, Bally Sports West

Season-to-date (entering Friday)
Astros: 68-46 (1st place, AL West)
Angels: 58-58 (4th place, AL West)

Projected lineups


Astros:
Jose Altuve (D) 2B
Michael Brantley (Z) DH
Carlos Correa (D) SS
Yordan Alvarez (Z) LF
Aledmys Diaz (D) 3B
Chas McCormick (D) CF
Jake Meyers (D) RF
Taylor Jones (D) 1B
Martin Maldonado (D) C

Angels:
Shohei Ohtani (L) P
David Fletcher (R) 2B
Jared Walsh (L) 1B
Phil Gosselin (R) 3B
Justin Upton (R) LF
Jose Iglesias (R) SS
Jo Adell (R) RF
Brandon Marsh (L) CF
Kurt Suzuki (R) C

Projected starting pitchers: Luis Garcia (HOU) vs. Jaime Barria (LAA)

Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Astros -220, Angels +180; O/U 9.5

Recent form (entering Friday)
Astros: Won three of four
Angels: Lost four of six

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Astros - Angels preview


It’s rocky time for the Houston Astros.

A couple of bad losses have put the Astros in dangerous territory when it comes to first place in the American League West. Their advantage is now down to a 1.5-game lead with the Oakland Athletics right on their tail.

Despite back-to-back wins, Oakland’s seven-game winning streak entering Friday is suddenly front and center as we enter mid-August.

The Astros began a seven-game road trip Friday with a trip to the Los Angeles Angels. The series continues Saturday at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

Houston is in that weird spot where the world needs to know where they fit in the AL playoff landscape. The split against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 3 was a statement-like split. Then they returned home for a four-game series against the Minnesota Twins and laid an egg the size of the old hill at Minute Maid Park. The Astros redeemed themselves with two wins against the Colorado Rockies, capped by a 5-1 win Wednesday.

It’ll be a show when the Astros show up in Southern California. But it’s a show when superstar pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani makes his presence felt. Ohtani was on the mound Thursday pitched six innings and struck out six in a 6-3 win against the red-hot Toronto Blue Jays.

In the box, the Angels’ superstar is two home runs from a 40 piece while coupling a .268 batting average and 84 RBI in what has been a transcendent-type season.

Outside of the Angels being a .500 team, there hasn’t been much to be excited for the Halos. Jared Walsh has been their second-best power hitter with 22 home runs.

Barring craziness, Ohtani will not pitch in this series, but he’s likely ready to rake a home run or two at some point.

Trends


While the Astros have been struggling as of late, as the season progresses, they’ve been a solid bet. At -110 or higher, the Astros are 55-33 (-1.3 units) with the over being a sligh lock at 45-40; when it’s -150 or more, the Astros are 34-18. It’s been that kind of dominant campaign. However, the over is 26-24 in those games.

The Angels are 25-32 when an underdog of any capacity this season, with the under winning 31-25. The over has been the popular choice at Angel Stadium this year, going 38-20 and keeping with the trend over the last three years (97-67).

Both of these offenses have the tendency to hit for power and that will contribute to the over.

Prediction


The second game of these three-game sets is bound to cash the underdog at some point, unless you’re a team that can’t find ways to win. This seems like one of those games where the home dog can make some noise. The Angels will get it done; the batters not named Ohtani will make an impact, and Ohtani may even hit a home run. It seems like that kind of game. It’s just difficult to trust the Astros right now, even though the sample size is small. They need to find a way to get the A’s off their tail and get it beyond a two-game lead. On this day, the Angels are the right choice. Angels win, over cashes.

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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