MLB NRFI Picks Today, Model Predictions for Thursday, June 8

MLB NRFI Picks Today, Model Predictions for Thursday, June 8 article feature image

Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Bradish

Just three picks today, as my model wasn't showing much value on most of the games on hand today.

Notably, all three picks are on games in the afternoon window, so be sure to get your bets in early.

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 night's 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 Thursday, June 8th

Cincinnati Reds vs. Los Angeles Dodgers YRFI: This game has a 10-run total and two of the top four teams in proportion of the scoring produced by their first three hitters. One of the easier YRFI calls I've had in a long time considering the low juice.

Washington Nationals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks NRFI: The inverse of the above pick — this game has just an eight-run total, with two below-average offenses in terms of scoring produced by their first three hitters. Both starting pitchers here also have solid splits as well.

Milwaukee Brewers vs. Baltimore Orioles NRFI: I'm projecting the Orioles as a moderate threat to score here, but with almost no risk on the Brewers side. That makes this a fairly solid value given the low-vig line on the NRFI side.

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