Astros vs Angels Picks and Predictions: Houston Bats Buoy Verlander Return

Two elite pitchers on the comeback trail take to the mound Saturday as Houston looks to beat up on L.A. again. And in a game with so many potential variables, we're siding with the slim favorites — find out why with our Astros vs. Angels picks.

Last Updated: Apr 9, 2022 11:08 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Justin Verlander Houston Astros MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Astros have gotten the better of the Los Angeles Angels to begin the season. After Friday’s high-scoring 13-6 win, the Astros moved to 2-0 on the season. They bested the Angels 3-1 in the opener. 

The Angels have peddled around as a .500 team for what seems like ages despite possessing arguably the greatest ballplayer of the era in Mike Trout. With 2021 AL MVP Shohei Otani in the fold as well, the Angels will look to avoid yet another lost year in Los Angeles. 

Check out our free MLB picks and predictions for the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels on Saturday, April 9.

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Astros vs Angels odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

This one opened close to a pick ‘em, with Houston the slight -115 favorite and the Angels listed at -105. That’s where the line currently resides as of Saturday morning. The total is set at 9.5. 

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full MLB odds before placing your bets.

Astros vs Angels predictions

Picks made on 4/9/2022 at 10:20 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Astros vs Angels game info

Location: Angel Stadium, Anaheim, CA
Date: Saturday, April 9, 2022
First pitch: 9:05 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports West

Astros vs Angels betting preview

Starting pitchers

Justin Verlander (2021: Inactive): The two-time Cy Young winner did not pitch in 2021 as he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. He hasn’t pitched since July of 2020 and has thrown just 6 innings over the past two seasons. He’s won 226 games in his career with an ERA of 3.33 while racking up over 3,000 strikeouts. Verlander is one of the sport’s best pitchers when healthy.

Noah Syndergaard (2021: 0-1, 9.00 ERA): Another top-notch talent making his long-awaited return from injury, Thor heads to the mound for the first time as an Angel. He signed a one-year, $21 million contract with Los Angeles this offseason and will be playing his first season away from the Mets. He’s thrown just two innings over the last two years as he makes his own recovery from Tommy John. He has a career 3.32 ERA while striking out 9.74 batters per nine innings. 


Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.

Key injuries

Astros: Jake Meyers CF (Out), Taylor Jones 1B (Out), Cooper Criswell RP (Out).
Angels: Taylor Ward LF (Out), Chris Rodriguez RP (Out).
Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Angels are 2-12 in their last 14 home games. Find more MLB betting trends for Astros vs. Angels.

Astros vs Angels picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Moneyline analysis

This is an unusual handicap given that both pitchers are in the same boat. Justin Verlander and Noah Syndergaard are both former (still?) elite pitchers making their return from a long absence due to Tommy John surgery. They’ve combined for only eight innings over the last two seasons. 

Reports are that both looked good in Spring. Verlander tossed 13.2 innings in Spring Training and allowed only two earned runs while striking out 15. Syndergaard allowed one earned run over 8.2 innings while striking out 11. Once again — these two pitchers seem to be in the exact same boat.

It’s easy to say that Verlander is older and could be in a tougher spot in this start than the 29-year old Syndergaard, but the Houston hurler has defied odds in the past and could still have a few years of top-notch production under his belt if healthy. Given the results of Spring Training, we’re expecting both pitchers to be ready to go.

The Astros are hitting the ball well to begin the season. This lineup has taken some hits over the years, but it still appears to be a slight step above what the Angels will throw out there. Ohtani and Trout obviously bring a thump, but Anthony Rendon is still getting up to speed after missing chunks of Spring Training and the rest of the lineup outside of first baseman Jared Walsh is a question mark.

We’re looking for the Astros to make it 3-0 to begin the season as Verlander makes a triumphant return to the mound. He’s performed well against the Angels in his career, going 15-10 with a 3.23 ERA.

Prediction: Astros ML (-115 at DraftKings)

Over/Under analysis

When both pitchers are at their best, they’re two of the best in the game. Verlander has defied odds in the past and, at this point, we’re not counting him out until he gives us a darn good reason.

Syndergaard was last seen in 2019 when he sported a career-worst 4.28 ERA. The underlying numbers (3.33 xERA, 3.60 ERA) give less cause for concern, but the fact remains that he’s a power-pitcher coming off two years away from the mound who was heading in the wrong direction last seen. He last pitched at an elite level in 2018 — four years ago.

These are two hard-throwing right-handers, and both have the ability to make this a low-scoring game. We rate Verlander ahead of Syndergaard in this matchup, but the advanced numbers show that Thor might be a tad underrated, as his ERA was artificially inflated during his last full season on the mound.

The first meeting between these teams cashed the Under with ease (3-1 final score), while last night’s game flew over the total (13-6 final score). We’re going to bank that these starters live up to their career numbers and keep this one low-scoring.

Prediction: Under 9.5 (-115 at DraftKings)

Best bet

The Angels will likely turn things around soon, but we don’t see that happening Saturday.

Justin Verlander is one of the brightest stars in the sport, regardless of age, and will look to carry over his strong Spring performances to the regular season. The Astros’ bats are hot out of the gate this year and we’re putting our faith in Verlander. Astros ML is the play.

Pick: Astros ML (-115 at DraftKings)

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