Justin Verlander squares off against Nick Tropeano in primetime Saturday night, as the AL West-leading Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angles square off in Anaheim.
Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels
Sat. July 21, 2018 (7:15 p.m. ET)
Opening line: -155, Astros
Opening total: 8 (-120)
Avg. line: -200.4
Season ROI: 1.0 percent
Justin Verlander (9-5, 2.29 ERA)
Since May 1, the Astros are just 7-7 when Justin Verlander commands the hill, the only member in the rotation without a winning record. Cold bats are to blame. The team is supporting the former Cy Young winner with 3.5 runs per game. The staff allows just 3.1 to cross the plate.
Facing off against an AL West rival will likely fix the problem. Since the start of last season, Houston is an astonishing 45-11 SU (80.4 percent) as road favorites against division foes. Backers have netted a 34.2 percent return at -152.4 average odds. The lineup averages 6.0 runs per game. The team is a perfect 7-0 behind Verlander.
Avg. line: -118.0
Season ROI: -5.6 percent
Nick Tropeano (3-4, 4.83 ERA)
The Angels pushed across just one run on two hits in the series opener against Dallas Keuchel Friday night. It marks the 20th time L.A. has scored fewer than 2 runs in a contest this year. The lowly Orioles lead the majors with 26 overall.
History suggest it could be another frustrating night at the plate. The lineup has matched up poorly against Houston all season, averaging 2.6 runs per tilt. It has crossed the plate more than three times once, an 8-7 win on April 24.
L.A. is 4-6 SU behind starter Nick Tropeano as an underdog in his career. Much of any success came early on. The team has dropped his last five outings catching points on the MLB oddsboard, unable to provide much run support with 2.6 per contest. The staff surrenders 4.9 overall.
The value play is to take a stab at the Astros covering the run line at plus-money. As road chalk of less than -170 this year, the AL West leaders are 11-11, returning 7.2 percent at 115.9 average odds. Up against conference rivals, the mark jumps to 8-2 overall with a 70.9 percent return. Going back to the start of 2017, Houston is 27-11 covering the point spread in the latter situation.