Houston Astros vs Los Angeles Angels: Preview, Prediction & Odds -- Aug. 15, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 4:07 p.m. ET
Venue: Angel Stadium, Anaheim, CA
Where to watch: AT&T SportsNet-SW, Bally Sports West, MLB Network

Season-to-date (entering Saturday)
Astros: 69-46 (1st place, AL West)
Angels: 58-59 (4th place, AL West)

Projected lineup


Astros:
Jose Altuve (R) 2B
Michael Brantley (L) LF
Carlos Correa (R) SS
Yordan Alvarez (L) DH
Aledmys Diaz (R) 1B
Kyle Tucker (L) RF
Chas McCormick (R) CF
Jacob Wilson (R) 3B
Martin Maldonado (R) C

Angels:
Shohei Ohtani (L) DH
David Fletcher (R) 2B
Jared Walsh (L) 1B
Max Stassi (R) C
Jose Iglesias (R) SS
Jo Adell (R) RF
Brandon Marsh (L) CF
Juan Lagares (R) LF
Jack Mayfield (R) 3B

Probable starting pitchers: Lance McCullers Jr. (HOU) vs. Reid Detmers (LAA)

Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Astros -180, Angels +155; Over 8.5 -120, Under 8.5 +100

Recent form (entering Saturday)
Astros: Won three straight
Angels: Lost three of four

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Astros - Angels preview


It took one swing of the bat for the Houston Astros to, once again, eliminate some worry.

Kyle Tucker drove in all four runs for the Astros on Friday night with a grand slam off Patrick Sandoval, giving Houston a 4-1 win against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium.

The teams will wrap up their three-game series in the home of the Mouse on Sunday. 

That gave the Astros a 2.5-game lead for first place in the American League West by way of the Oakland Athletics losing to the Texas Rangers.

Zack Greinke allowed all but two base runners in his seven scoreless IP, to go with seven strikeouts. Houston’s ace is floating around with a 3.51 ERA, but it was one of his better performances this season.

“The main thing is don’t look back behind you, look at the finish line,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said, per MLB.com. “You appreciate some help from your friends, but at the same time, you’ve got to play your own game and just win. Just win, win, win and keep on winning. Everything else will take care of itself.”

Tucker went 1-for-4 on a night where Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa combined 1-for-7. The former batting crown holder Altuve has a .273 batting average. The Astros have bounced back to pull within an even 5-5 during August entering Saturday.

It was a win the Astros needed to keep pace with the red-hot Athletics, but the Angels were not prepared to send Oakland a gift basket on this night. Shohei Ohtani, like he’s been most of this year, was a one-man show and drove in the only run for the Angels with his 85th RBI of the year.

“That's just what I had today,” Sandoval said. “I had to compete with it. I thought I did an alright job up until that fourth inning. Some pitches got away, and then one swing and it's a four-nothing game. That's just how baseball is. I just gotta fight through it. Get ready for the next one.

Would he have done better on the mound? Who’s to say (yes, it would’ve been on short rest)? But the Angels didn’t have enough offense to get over the hump, an unfortunate time given how Houston didn’t have enough juice.

“More than anything, his stuff wasn't as sharp as normal,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said, per MLB.com. “There was no real go-to tonight. That change wasn't there. The fastball didn't have good carry. … Just overall, he wasn't out there with his full normal complement tonight.”

Right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. will get the call for the Astros, against 22-year-old Reid Detmers.

Betting trends


The Astros have been a favorite for a while. This season has been no exception, and they’ve handled business. When a favorite of -125 to -175, Houston cleans up at 34-15 (+11.4) with the Over going 27-20. When it settles at -150 or more, Houston is 34-18. The bulk of that comes from home; at -125 to -175, the Astros are 14-7.

The Angels are 10-11 when a home underdog this season and 3-6 when the line sits at +125 to +175.

The under has cashed nine of the last 11 against division opponents.

Prediction


The Astros have a lot of frustration to take out over these next few days, and the Angels just happen to be in the crossfire. McCullers should dominate the pitching matchup here, unless Ohtani cranks two home runs and gets to 40 and brings the Angel fans to euphoric cheer, it just doesn’t seem like that’s the case. Astros win, under 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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