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The Los Angeles Angels might be out of the running for a playoff spot http://www.philliesfanproshop.com/authentic-pat-neshek-jersey , but they can certainly factor in the American League West race.The Angels open a three-game series against the AL West-leading Houston Astros on Friday night at Angel Stadium, the first of 10 games against the reigning World Series champions over the next month.The Astros (77-50) entered Thursday with a one-game lead over the Oakland A’s and a 5 1/2-game edge on the Seattle Mariners.Article continues below ...The Angels (63-65) have six games remaining against Oakland and four against Seattle, which is chasing the A’s for the final AL wild-card spot.Houston will send left-hander Dallas Keuchel to the mound in the series opener. Keuchel is 11-2 in his career against the Angels with a 3.41 ERA. He’s 25-23 against the rest of the AL West.He won his only start against the Angels this season, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning on July 20 in Anaheim before allowing one unearned run and two hits over 7 2/3 innings of the 3-1 win.He has won his past five decisions against Los Angeles overall with his last loss coming on Sept. 11, 2015 at Angel Stadium.Keuchel (9-10, 3.59 ERA) hasn’t been able to get his record over .500 this season, however.He had three chances after moving to 9-9 in an 8-3 win against the Mariners on Aug. 1, but had no decisions in his next two starts and then took the loss in a 7-1 defeat against the A’s on Saturday.Keuchel gave up five runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. Six of those hits were doubles.“They got in that momentum with really good at-bats and double after double after double,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch told MLB.com afterward. “He didn’t need to make perfect pitches, but he didn’t get the ball on the ground today the way he normally does.”The series will mark the return of Houston catcher Martin Maldonado to Anaheim. He was acquired from the Angels in a trade on July 26.Maldonado has three home runs in 16 games with the Astros after hitting five in 78 games with the Angels.Reports have also surfaced that Los Angeles outfielder Mike Trout could return Friday. Trout was on the 10-day disabled list with a sore right wrist when his brother-in-law, Aaron Cox, died on Aug. 15.Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney is also looking to get over .500 for the first time this season. He’s had six chances http://www.philliesfanproshop.com/authentic-pat-neshek-jersey , but is 0-3 with three no-decisions in those games.Most recently he missed an opportunity against the Texas Rangers, allowing six runs and 10 hits on Saturday and leaving after 5 2/3 innings with the score tied 6-6. The Angels went on to win 11-7.Heaney (7-7, 4.11 ERA) beat the Astros in his two starts this season, both times to get his record back to .500. Those are his only two decisions in four career starts against the Astros.Heaney will try to lift his teammates, who have dropped five of their past six games. In addition to being without Trout, left fielder Justin Upton has missed the past two games with a cut on his right index finger, forcing Angels manager Mike Scioscia to go with a younger, more inexperienced lineup.“We have some guys who are figuring it out as they play every day,” Scioscia told the Orange County Register following a 5-1 loss at the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday. “These guys need to play to figure stuff out.” The Seattle Mariners (65-50) begin a crucial divisional series with the World Series champion Houston Astros (73-42) on Thursday as solid road underdogs at the sportsbooks. The American League West-leading Astros have won two straight games, while the Mariners have lost two in a row, as they continue to chase the Oakland Athletics for the second and final AL wild-card spot. MLB betting line: The Astros opened as -145 favorites (wager $145 to win $100); the total is at seven runs, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)MLB betting pick Aaron Altherr Jersey , via OddsShark computer: 3.9-2.2, Astros (MLB picks on every game)Check out the OddsShark podcast on iTunes or at OddsShark.libsyn.com for more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week's top sports betting news. Why the Mariners can pay on the MLB linesSeattle may not be playing in desperation mode yet, but this is the perfect time to start getting hot in an effort to catch Oakland. The Mariners would love nothing more than to start this series off with a big victory, and they will have ace James Paxton (9-5, 3.51 ERA) on the mound looking to put together his third straight quality start since the MLB All-Star break.The 29-year-old has allowed a combined three runs and 11 hits in splitting his last two outings totaling 14 innings, walking one batter and striking out 15. More importantly, though, he is a perfect 3-0 versus Houston this season with a sparkling 0.87 ERA. Why the Astros can pay on the MLB linesThe Astros are well on their way to earning back-to-back division titles, and they rank first in baseball with a plus-202 run differential, even ahead of the MLB-leading Boston Red Sox. They have also dominated this matchup with Seattle recently, winning 12 of the past 15 meetings Clay Buchholz Jersey , according to the OddsShark MLB Database.The three losses all came against Paxton, but Justin Verlander (11-6, 2.19 ERA) has also been very good versus the Mariners over the previous three seasons. Michael Wyke/Associated PressWhile he has not faced them this year, the 35-year-old went 2-0 with a 1.82 ERA in six starts against them between 2015 and 2017, limiting them to a .215 batting average during that stretch.Smart betting pickSeattle appears to be a solid value play in this spot considering Paxton has been awesome versus Houston this season. This is arguably the biggest series of 2018 for the Mariners, who cannot afford to fall further behind in the race for a wild-card berth. The Astros are a great team, but look for them to stay winless against Paxton here. MLB betting trendsThe total has gone over in six of Seattle's last eight games.Houston is 1-4 in its last five games at home.The total has gone over in four of Houston's last 5 games at home.All MLB odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report's official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week's top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.