MLB NRFI Picks Today, Model Predictions for Monday, June 5

MLB NRFI Picks Today, Model Predictions for Monday, June 5 article feature image

Mark Blinch/Getty Images. Pictured: Alek Manoah

Much of the league has the day off on Monday, but we've still managed to find a few spots worth betting.

We've got three picks today as we look to put together another strong week.

The Model

The process is relatively simple. First, I start by assuming that the full game (implied) run totals for either team are roughly efficient. As mentioned above, that tends to be the case more often than not. This saves me the trouble of trying to predict the total runs scored in the game — and allows me to focus strictly on the "when" rather than "how many."

Next, I built a database of pitchers performance the first time through the order, relative to their overall stats. Since the latter is presumably baked into the full game total, I wanted to figure out if those runs are more likely to come early or late. Most — but not all — MLB starters do somewhat better early in games, but with some variance in just how much. The model uses xFIP (expected Fielding Independent Pitching) as the ERA predictor of choice.

That's only half of the equation, though, with the offenses making up the other half. To do this, I looked at what percentage of a team's total runs is produced by the top three batters in the lineup. While a first inning run scored, by definition, needs at least four hitters to come to the plate, one of the first three has to actually score it. The metric of choice here is wRC+, based on the projected lineup for the day from each team.

This is a bit of a tradeoff, as lineups (and run totals) can shift throughout the day, especially if significant contributors miss time. However, in my experience the inefficiency of the morning lines more than makes up for the leakage in the model. With that said, exercise caution if, say, Mike Trout is listed as questionable for the nights game.

The Picks

With all of the picks below, I'll include the pick, the best line and the threshold I'd bet it to. These will go up in the morning, so if any major news breaks between publishing and when you read it, be sure to consider that.

Infrequently, rather than betting on the traditional YRFI/NRFI, the pick will be on one team or the other specifically to score a run, which as of this writing is only a betting option at DraftKings. Since the model handles each team individually, sometimes one team is projecting for a greater proportion of the "run equity" in the first inning than the betting lines are accounting for.

NRFI Odds, Picks for Monday, June 5

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Detroit Tigers NRFI: The Tigers aren't projecting as much of a threat against Aaron Nola, especially while missing one of its better hitters in Riley Greene. That makes this effectively a bet against the Phillies scoring. They've hit lefties considerably worse this season, and Detroit starter Joey Wentz is a southpaw with solid splits his first time through the order.

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Oakland Athletics YRFI: It's pretty close to the exact same value on the game YRFI at -105 and the Pirates-specific line at +185 (DraftKings), since Pittsburgh provides most of the value here. Team-specific picks are obviously higher risk and higher reward, but feel free to split your exposure or play the Pirates only line for juicier odds.

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Houston Astros YRFI: This game has a 10-run total and two teams ranked inside the top 10 in terms of percentage of their scoring provided by the top three hitters.  There's a good chance we take the YRFI every game in this series.

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