AccuScore take a look at the first game of this AL West match-up and they see big value on the home side...
"Despite Houston's magnificent season so far, they have struggled of late, getting swept by another divisional rival, Oakland, on the road."
Houston Astros @ Los Angeles Angels
Tuesday 12 September, 10:05 PM (EDT)
The divisional rivals begin a three-game series in Anaheim. Both are post-season bound, with Astros leading the way with AL runner-up record of 86-57. Angels have a little more work to do, but a late season surge has seen them rise to challenge for the wild-card spot with a record of 73-70 - only one win behind Minnesota Twins.
Despite Houston's magnificent season so far, they have struggled of late, getting swept by another divisional rival, Oakland, on the road. They began the four-game stand by losing 9-8 and then went on to allow 10 or more in the next three. Their big bats were out of touch, only scoring one, four and two in those final three games. Safe to say, against the Angels that will simply not be good enough.
The Angels have woken up to the season rather late, going 18-12 in their past 30 games but looking on the up now. They had their struggles against Seattle's better pitchers, but managed to bang in plenty of runs against Oakland - a feat not accomplished by their rivals tonight. The return of Mike Trout has given the team a boost, while Justin Upton has brought the scoring threat we've used to expect from the outfielder.
On the mound the Astros bring in Justin Verlander, who arrived from Detroit Tigers at the end of August. Verlander is making his second start as an Astro and has been as good as ever. He is 11-8 in 29 starts, with an ERA of 3.74.
Angels answer with Garrett Richards, who's finally healthy after missing a long period in the sidelines due to an injury. Richards, as well as Verlander, possesses one of the baseball's highest spin-rates. He is making the first start at home since April 2016 and has gone 22-12 with an ERA of 3.41 at Angel Stadium.
The current Betfair Exchange market favours the visitors, with odds of [1.75] on an Astros win. The Angels get a fair price of [2.14]. According to Accuscore's simulations, it is indeed the home team that is underestimated and should be valued with odds of [1.87].
In Accuscore simulations, Los Angeles Angels are the favorites, winning 53.6% of the simulations, leaving the visiting Astros at 46.4%.
Value bets should be placed for Angels when the odds are [1.87] or above and for the visiting Houston Astros with odds of [2.16] or better.
The teams are evenly matched in starting pitchers, with both allowing less than seven hits in six innings. It's likely that the bullpen will be the deal breaker and Angels' have a small edge: their relievers allow 1.2 runs against Astros' 1.5.
Both teams are excellent at bat. Houston is one of the heaviest hitting teams in the league and their scoring potential is divided evenly in their lineup. It's unlikely that Richards or the Angels' relievers allow a lot of long balls, which has usually proved problematic for Astros. Angels' big bats, Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Albert Pujols have had remarkable success against Verlander in the past and with their current form it's likely that Angels outscore their visitors. In Accuscore simulations Astros hit 4.7 runs while the Angels score 4.9.
The pitching battle seems quite even with Verlander and Richards. However, it is the Astros' bullpen that might prove to be the Achilles' heel for the visitors. Angels have slight edge in their form at bat, and plenty of depth throughout the lineup. With the excellent home odds, fly with the Angels tonight!