AL West Rivals Set to Collide
The last time many baseball fans saw former American League Most Valuable Player Shohei Ohtani, he was striking out Los Angeles Angels teammate Mike Trout to wrap up the World Baseball Classic title for Japan. Now he will be back to doing double duty for the Angels in the 2023 season opener against the Oakland Athletics as he will be the starting pitcher and be in the middle of the lineup as well.
Oakland counters with 25-year-old lefty Kyle Muller, who was 3-5 with a 5.14 ERA in 12 games with the Atlanta Braves over the last two seasons.
Even with Ohtani and Trout missing a decent amount of spring training thanks to the World Baseball Classic, the Angels led the Cactus League with an 18-11 record. Oakland finished last at 11-14.
13-run fun to end our preseason 😇 pic.twitter.com/xlyAXF6q0I
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) March 29, 2023
According to the MLB picks, Ohtani (+200) is the front-runner in the American League MVP odds and tied for fourth at +1000 in the Cy Young odds.
Muller (+2500) is tied for 12th in the American League Rookie of the Year odds, per the MLB odds.
Ohtani threw 2.1 scoreless innings in his lone spring training start. Jimmy Herget allowed one run and struck out nine in six games out of the bullpen for the Angels.
Muller was 1-3 with a 6.50 ERA in five spring training appearances. Domingo Acevedo gave up one earned run in nine relief appearances during the spring.
When looking at the MLB news, the Angels are expected to have infielder David Fletcher available while infielder Jake Lamb (thigh) is questionable. Catcher Max Stassi (hip) and first baseman Jared Walsh (head) are out, as are pitchers Griffin Canning, Davis Daniel, Jose Marte and Chris Rodriguez.
For the Athletics, pitcher Drew Rucinski (hamstring) is doubtful while pitchers Paul Blackburn and Kirby Snead and catcher Manny Pina are out.
According to the MLB playoff odds, the Angels (+4200) are tied for 14th in the odds to win the World Series. The Athletics are well back at +50000.
How Much Help for Dynamic Duo
It has never been about a lack of star power for the Angels with Ohtani and Trout leading the way. Still, the Angels head into the 2023 season projected to miss the playoffs for the ninth season in a row.
The good news is that infielders Anthony Rendon (.500 average, seven extra-base hits and nine RBIs) and Luis Renigfo (.405 average. four home runs) were among the Angels who were swinging hot bats in spring training.
Veteran Jake Lamb was added in the offseason, but he is currently slowed by injury. Keep an eye on catcher Logan O’Hoppe and well-traveled infielder Gio Urshela.
Seven of the last nine games played by the Angels last season finished under the Las Vegas odds total.
Low Expectations in Oakland
The Oakland Athletics are once again expected to be one of the worst teams in the American League. It didn’t help that Cristian Pache, part of the deal that sent slugger Matt Olson to Atlanta, wasn’t going to make the roster so he was traded to Philadelphia.
Kevin Smith, who hit .395 and was second on Oakland with 15 RBIs in the spring, was sent to the minor leagues.
Talented young catcher Shea Langeliers had 11 hits in spring training and seven went for extra bases. Jesus Aguilar was a key off-season acquisition.
Seven of the last nine games played by the Athletics last season finished under the MLB betting.
Angels vs Athletics Game Injuries
Angels vs Athletics Head-to-Head
Oakland won the last three games played against the Angels, all one-run affairs.
The Angels had won the previous six games, three of those being played in Oakland.
Seven of the last nine games between the teams finished under the total and that included two games started by Ohtani.
Angels vs Athletics Game Information
- Game: Angels 73-89 in 2022 (third in AL West) vs Athletics 60-102 (fifth in AL West)
- Location: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA
- Day/Time: Thursday, March 30, 10:07 p.m. ET (the teams also play Saturday at 4:07 p.m. and Sunday at 4:07 p.m.)
- Angels vs Athletics Live stream: MLB.tv
Angels vs Athletics Betting Lines
Angels vs Athletics Picks and Prediction
The teams that finished 33 and 46 games behind AL West champion Houston last season have a chance to get 2023 off to a strong start as they face each other in a three-game series.
Ohtani taking the mound makes the visiting Angels the favorites in the season opener
Five of the first six games played by the Angels last season went under the total. The Angels had just 10 runs in the first four games and the hope is for a quicker start in 2023.
Oakland was 10-9 to start last season before things went in the other direction. Eight of the first 13 games went under MLB lines.
The Los Angeles Angels are listed at -209 in our Las Vegas baseball odds. This means that if you wager $100 on the Angels, you have a chance to win $48. The Oakland Athletics are priced at +179, offering a chance to win $179 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives the Los Angeles Angels a 67.64% chance to win, with the Oakland Athletics at 35.84%.