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Free MLB Picks: Los Angeles Angels at Houston Astros

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Oskeim Sports previews Thursday’s game between the Los Angeles Angels and Houston Astros.  Oskeim provides free MLB picks in that game (and possibly others).  Be sure to check back regularly for more free MLB picks from Oskeim Sports.

Houston right-hander Cristian Javier is the organization’s No. 2 prospect and had a solid major league debut in 2020, posting a 3.48 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and a 3.02 xERA in twelve appearances (ten starts). In two starts this season, the 24-year-old has posted a 2.08 ERA, 3.16 ERA, and a 1.59 FIP across 8.2 innings of work. Javier’s strikeouts are up (11.42 K/9), his walks are down (2.08 BB/9) and, most importantly, he has avoided the long ball (0.0 HR/9), which plagued him last season (1.82 HR/9).

Los Angeles starter Alex Cobb is undervalued in the betting market due to his 4.63 ERA this season, but he has performed significantly better than his surface statistics indicate. The 33-year-old owns a 2.06 FIP and 1.68 xFIP across 11.2 innings this season. The veteran right-hander has been hampered by negative variance (.393 BABIP, 66.2% LOB%) which will regress moving forward,

With that said, Cobb has struggled against the Astros, toeing the rubber with a 7.63 ERA and 1.69 WHIP in three career starts. He is backed by a Los Angeles bullpen that has really struggled away from home in 2021, posting a 5.24 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in 22.3 innings (20/11 K/9). Los Angeles relievers are ranked 21st in the league in K/9 rate (9.28) and 17th in ERA (4.36).

From a technical standpoint, Los Angeles is a money-burning 16-39 in its last 55 games versus a starting pitcher with a WHIP of 1.15 or less, 10-27 in its last 37 games with a total between 9.0 and 10.5 runs, and 18-37 in its previous 55 trips to Houston. The Astros are a profitable 61-24 in game 1 of a series, 59-27 as home favorites, and 106-52 art home versus right-handed starters.

Since October 1, 2015, the Angels are 0-11 as road underdogs following an upset loss as favorites in which they blew a lead. Finally, the Astros are 15-1 since June 5, 2009 in game 1 of a series at home without rest entering off an upset loss as favorites in which they never held a lead. Take Houston as one of Oskeim Sports’ Free MLB Picks for Thursday, April 22.