Promotion Banner

MLB NRFI Picks Today, Model Predictions for Monday, May 15

MLB NRFI Picks Today, Model Predictions for Monday, May 15 article feature image

Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Noah Syndergaard

With a glut of bad starting pitching and ensuing high totals, we have the rare “all YRFI” day on Monday.

Every game showing a value is on a run to be scored in the first inning, so let’s root for offense today.

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, May 15

Washington Nationals vs. New York Mets YRFI: This is a great price considering the game has a 9.5-run total — which implies more than a run per inning on average. Neither team features a top-heavy lineup, but both teams have starters who struggle early in games. The 4:05 p.m. ET start time also means warmer, more hitter-friendly weather early on.

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Milwaukee Brewers YRFI: The Cardinals feature one of the more top-heavy lineups in baseball, making even-money odds on the yes runs side a solid value even with an eight-run total.

Houston Astros only YRFI: I have the fair value on the Astros — whose top three hitters account for the second-highest proportion of their teams scoring — around +170. That makes the +200 on them at DraftKings a better bet than the +100 game line. As always, bet the individual team YRFI at half of your normal stake on these.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Minnesota Twins YRFI: This is a great line considering the nine-run game total and the fact that the Dodgers are a top-five team in proportion of scoring from the first three hitters. The Twins chip in with a lot of equity too against the possibly-washed Noah Syndergaard.

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.