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The L.A. Angels Are Absolutely Heavenly

The Los Angeles Angels are currently waging war with the Houston Astros which will help define their outward prospectus for the next few weeks, but boy did they look sharp by picking up a series win on Tuesday night behind the hard work of their batting order.

I’m not going to lie – I always want them to do well for no other reason than Mike Trout on the big stage, seeking heaters when everything matters. But this year, there’s a different sense around the Angels. They’re getting a lot more attention, and now it’s well justified.

Whenever you talk about the Angels, you inevitably gravitate towards Mike Trout. The six-time All-Star, 2012 Rookie of the Year and two-time AL MVP is without a doubt the best player in the league. His combination of hitting and base running is unbelievable. But it’s easy to lose track of just how gifted Trout is because the Angels haven’t won a playoff game since he arrived on the scene. They did have a few shots at winning one in the 2014 ALDS, but were swept by the Royals.

Such has been life for the Angels, who have only produced one division title and three winning seasons in the last six years. They’re sort of baseball’s known afterthought – you have to keep them in the back of your mind because of Trout, but you also aren’t threatened by them.

This year, it’s obvious that the tone in Los Angeles is different and that’s because of one obvious reason. Trout is having a strong season already, having smashed 10 home runs and racked up 18 RBI’s with a .308 batting average and a .418 OPB. His 2.3 WAR is currently the lowest he’s ever produced, but is sure to change over the course of the season.

However, there’s a new big fish in town. The dynamic Shohei Ohtani has proven to be an absolute devil both at the dirt hill and at the plate. A promising 2-1 record over 4 starts has been coupled with a 4.43 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP which aren’t in themselves encouraging, but forgivable given that the Angles have played some fierce hitting teams.

Ohtani has been a magnetic pitcher, though he was touched for a 4 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings against the defending world champions on Tuesday. He’s been rotated through as a starter and bullpen accessory, much to the delight of all baseball nerds, and remains the team’s biggest x-factor. He could have the most bizarre MVP campaign in the history of the game if he continues on this track and the Angles keep winning.

And that’s the thing – this team is winning lots of money for their backers. At 16-8 SU, they’re slightly ahead of the Houston Astros in the standings (I’m writing this while watching Game 3 of their set this week). This is going to be a season long battle. T

Ohtani and Trout provide the superstar firepower that has given the Angels the kind of attention that they rightfully deserve. We have all been dying for this franchise to build a contender, but they’ve been rightfully patient since Trout is still very young. He’s only 26 and Ohtani is a fresh 23 year-old rookie, and the latter’s arrival has signaled a “strike now” mentality that the club has embraced.

The Angels are +789 units above the moneyline so far this season through a couple months. What’s steadied that momentum is that they feast when travelling, having gone 11-1 SU and 10-2 ATS. They’ve had some problems at home, and face the Yankees over the weekend before hosting the Orioles next week in a nice homestand before heading back out on the road. You should be betting those games pretty heavily. The Angles grade out as a better team than the Yankees overall, but the public factor is massive on one side of the line (you can guess which team that is).

More interestingly, the Angels are climbing up the board in the MLB Futures. For those that like spreading their money around on value, the Angels are it. They have a +1400 number right now at in the MLB World Series market. That’s the same mark given to teams like the Nationals, Diamondbacks and Mets.

Of course, there are reasons to shy away from this bet. The Angels have ranked near the bottom of the league in quality starts (6 – 28th in the league) and tout a below average pitching roster overall. They’re 17th with a team 4.11 ERA though they’re 7th with 224 strikeouts.

Overall they make up for their lack of quality pitching by having consistent at-bats. They’re ranked 7th in virtually everything – runs per game, batting average OPS and are also 2nd in home runs. They’re also 10th in stolen bases. It’s not an offence that’s particularly exceptional at any one thing, but they’re great at everything. And if they’re solid through the order and blast home runs then it’s as reliable as other teams which have so many holes in their game.

In terms of regular season plays that you can ride out for the season, the Angels seem like one that will be very profitable for the bettor that knows how to adjust for home games (where you bet less) and away games (where you can bet more due to the reduced moneyline).

By picking up a series victory over the Astros, the Angels have sent a very strong message that they’re making a push this season. It’s about goddamn time. And I’m buying in.

Bet on the Angels in the MLB Futures and the daily lines at!

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