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Angels 2020 Betting Preview: Oddsmakers juicing up LA under 32.5 wins

July 18, 2020 12:51 AM

For nearly two decades, the Angels were perennial contenders under manager Mike Scioscia. In 19 seasons with Scioscia at the helm, Los Angeles made the playoffs seven times, including a World Series win in 2002 over the Giants. Prior to Scioscia arriving in 2000, the Angels hadn't made the playoffs since 1986. But as they say, all good things must come to an end. Scioscia went 1,650-1,428 (.536) but tailed off in his last few seasons, leading to his firing after the 2018 season. 

Last season the Angels went a disappointing 72-90 (.444) under first-year manager Brad Ausmus, finishing 35 games behind the Astros in the AL West and 24 games back in the Wild Card. Apparently that was all Los Angeles needed to see. Ausmus was let go this past offseason. In his place, the Angels hired former Cubs bench boss Joe Maddon. 

Bringing in Maddon wasn't the only big move this offseason. The Angels also landed the biggest offensive fish on the market, signing former Nats star third baseman Anthony Rendon to a 7-year, $245 million deal. Los Angeles also returns Shohei Ohtani to the mound. The two-way star only hit last season while he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. 

The Angels batting order got a huge boost with the addition of Rendon. Finally, Trout has some solid protection in the lineup. Ohtani is once again expected to be the full time designated hitter, except when he pitches. 

Here is the projected starting lineup:

1. Tommy La Stella 2B

2. Mike Trout OF

3. Anthony Rendon 3B

4. Shohei Ohtani DH

5. Albert Pujols 1B

6. Justin Upton OF

7. Brian Goodwin OF

8. Andrelton Simmons SS

9. Jason Castro C

The Angels' Achilles' heel looks to be their starting rotation. On paper, Los Angeles lacks a true ace and nearly every starter is coming off a 4.00+  ERA season. One saving grace: Los Angeles will get to see Ohtani pitch once per week. According to reports, the two-way star will pitch every Sunday, giving him an extra day of rest. Get ready for Sundays to be known as "Ohtani Day."

Here is the projected rotation:

1. Julio Teheran

2. Andrew Heaney

3. Dylan Bundy

4. Matt Andriese

5. Patrick Sandoval

6. Shohei Ohtani

In the bullpen, the Angels will rely on closer Hansel Robles (2.48 ERA, 23 saves) along with setup men Ty Buttrey and Keynan Middleton. 

At BetMGM, the Angels' 2020 win total is 32.5. This translates to 87.75 wins based on a regular 162-game schedule. Right off the bat, the under seems tempting when considering the Angels only won 72 games last season. A virtual 16-game win increase seems lofty.

A closer look at the juice on the win total backs up this thinking. The over 32.5 is even money (+ 100) while the under is juiced up to -120. Why are oddsmakers forcing bettors to pay an expensive price on the under? Because smart money has come in on Los Angeles winning 32 games or fewer, creating house liability. 

The Angels also offer classic buy low, sell high contrarian value. With all the buzz around Maddon, Rendon, Ohtani, and of course the public's love for Trout, the Angels are somewhat of an offseason darling, leading them to be overvalued. Consider this a "fade the trendy dog" opportunity. 

Another factor to consider is Trout himself. The three-time AL MVP is expecting the birth of his first child in August. As a result, Trout may end up leaving the team in the middle of the season, in which case the Angels will lose their best player for an extended amount of time. 

Los Angeles hasn't made the postseason since 2014. Don't expect that to change in 2020. The Angels are -145 favorites to miss the playoffs and + 120 underdogs to make the playoffs. This translates to a 59.2% implied probability that the Angels miss the postseason.

The Angels have the 3rd-best odds to win the AL West at + 650. The Astros are the favorite at -182 followed by the Athletics at + 265. The Rangers are + 1600 longshots and the Mariners are + 6500 afterthoughts. 

Los Angeles is + 2000 to win the American League and + 4000 to win the World Series.

In terms of player props and futures, Trout is the favorite to win the AL MVP at + 130. Rendon is + 1600 and Ohtani is + 3500. 

Trout is the favorite to lead the AL in batting average at + 550. Rendon is + 900. 

Trout is also the favorite to lead the AL in runs at + 400. 

Trout's over/under home runs is 16.5 (over + 100, under -130), RBIs 38.5 (over -120, under -110) and batting average .300 (-115 both sides). He is + 1800 to hit 30 or more homers and + 10000 to win the Triple Crown. 

Rendon's over/under home runs is 11.5 (over -120, under -110), RBIs 33.5 (over -110, under -120) and batting average .290 (-115 both sides).

Robles is + 1400 to lead the AL in saves. 

Jo Adell, the Angels' top outfield prospect, is + 1400 to win AL Rookie of the Year, good for the 7th best odds overall. 

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