US PRESSWIRE

Pujols' power surge has books watching Angels' odds

Albert Pujols has awoken from his spring slumber just in time for the unofficial kickoff to summer – Memorial Day weekend.

The Los Angeles Angels’ big offseason acquisition was a bust through nearly the first two months of the schedule, but has suddenly erupted at the plate.

After hitting just one home run through the first 36 games – taking 28 outings to record that lone dinger – the Angels' first baseman hit six homers in his last 11 games. Saturday's blast was his fourth in five games.

Los Angeles, which stumbled out of the gate along with its star player, had won five straight through Saturday.

“We haven’t adjusted anything just yet, but I will say it is something we’re monitoring closely,” Jay Kornegay, sportsbook director for the LVH in Las Vegas, told Covers on Friday. "We didn’t do many adjustments during his slump because we knew baseball is a game of streaks and he was going to come around.”

The LVH opened the Angels at 7-1 to win the World Series back in March, and moved them to as high as 20-1 as they struggled to find footing in the American League West. Now, at 22-25, L.A. is priced at 16-1 to win the Fall Classic.

“Their troubles have something to do with (the futures odds) but so does the play of other teams,” says Kornegay. “The Rangers are playing pretty damn well right now.”

The Halos’ day-to-day prices have come down a bit from the start of the season. During the team’s current 10-game road trip, the Angels were tagged as favorites through the first six outings with an average moneyline of -165.

While starting pitchers play the biggest role in where oddsmakers set the lines, and how bettors handicap them, Pujols is one of the rare position players who can tweak those numbers with his performance.

“(Pujols) can certainly impact games and carry a team,” says Kornegay. “His play carries more weight with the average guys, playing parlays and watching Baseball Tonight. The more seasoned gamblers, who bet baseball every day, are more interested in matchups – pitching, lineups, scratches – than how one star player is performing.”

Pujols and the Angels finish a four-game road set with the Seattle Mariners before returning home to host the New York Yankees and rival Texas Rangers next week.

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