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Los Angeles Angels Betting – The Stake Are High In Anaheim

Posted by Dale “Skip” Lalonde on 4/4/2012 4:23:26 PM

Sports betting odds for 2012 were shaken up when the Los Angeles Angels poached two of the biggest free agents on the market, including a slugger that is going to the Hall of Fame, and anything less than a championship won’t do. The Angels will be in the running, but they may have to wait a season to win the World Series.

Lineup

You may have heard that the Angels made a splash in the free-agent market, luring Albert Pujols away from St. Louis in what was probably the biggest move since Alex Rodriguez went from Texas to New York. Pujols slots in at first base and makes the Angels a legitimate MLB betting favorite to win the World Series, and if all goes well, they’ll have one of the best lineups in the major leagues. Mark Trumbo has been moved to third as the Angels want his bat in the lineup, and they’ll also be hoping that Kendry Morales is healthy enough to be the designated hitter. With all the power in the lineup, that takes pressure off left-fielder Vernon Wells, while Torii Hunter is in right, and Howie Kendrick may be the best for-average hitter in the lineup. From second to seventh, the Angels have one of the top lineups not only in the American League, but in the entire majors. Shortstop Erick Aybar isn’t too shabby leading off, either.

The Angels can bring Bobby Abreu off the bench, although the veteran isn’t happy about it, and they also have Alberto Callaspo and Maicer Izturis to play in the infield. Los Angeles is actually loaded in this part of the team.

Pitching

But it doesn’t stop there as the Angels stole C.J. Wilson from their Texas rivals, and he fits in perfectly with a rotation that is led by Jered Weaver (who finished second in the Cy Young voting) and Dan Haren. Facing that trio in a three-game series would make virtually any opponent an MLB betting underdog against the Angels, and then there is Ervin Santana, who has the stuff, but is terribly inconsistent. Garrett Richards fills out the rotation and all he really has to do is not be terrible because the first four should be able to carry the unit. The Angels were fifth in quality starts and added an All-Star who won 16 games and has playoff experience. That isn’t a bad haul at all.

However, the rotation will need to be strong as the bullpen leaves something to be desired. The biggest question mark is the closer role, which will be filled by Jordan Walden, who blew 10 saves in his first season in the big leagues. With experience under his belt, Walden should be better, but what if he isn’t? The Angels have some solid setup men in Scott Downs, LaTroy Hawkins and Jason Isringhausen, but it’s all for naught if Walden can’t close.

Intangibles

Mike Scioscia has led the Angels since 2000, winning the American League Manager of the Year twice (2002 and 2009) and in 2002, he helped the Angels win the World Series. There are few in the game that are as astute as Scioscia, who was a three-time All-Star catcher (ironically, with the crosstown rival Dodgers). Now, the Angels have given him the keys to a new Ferrari and the pressure on Scioscia is huge. It’s World Series or bust in Anaheim.

But the Angels have enough veteran players that know how to pace themselves through the season, and everyone in the clubhouse respects Pujols, a future Hall of Famer, and Wilson, who they have seen plenty of from his time in Texas. The only question mark is Abreu, who isn’t ready to become a reserve, but he may not have a choice and there is a good chance that the Angels will ship him out if he becomes a problem.

How It Will Play Out

MLB betting odds have the Angels as a -150 favorite to take the West from the Rangers, +400 to win the pennant behind only the Yankees and +680 to win the World Series. The signings of Pujols and Wilson have brought high expectations on the team, but they have enough veterans and experience to deal with the pressure.

The Angels should look at teams like the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles and the NBA’s Miami Heat as warning signs for building teams through big-money free-agent signings (or they could look towards the Yankees, Boston or Philadelphia) and it doesn’t always pay off. But this team seems different and it would be a surprise if they didn’t win the West. But they’re going to have their hands full for the pennant and the World Series, and it may be a season before they come through in those regards for online betting players.

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