MLB NRFI Picks, Model Predictions for Thursday, March 28

MLB NRFI Picks, Model Predictions for Thursday, March 28 article feature image

Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images. Pictured: Brayan Bello

  • It's Opening Day, which means NRFI season is back!
  • Our expert's model has identified the best ways to bet on today's first innings, including a pick for Red Sox vs. Mariners.
  • Let's dive into his NRFI picks and predictions below.

Baseball is back! Well, technically it was back a week ago, but that was just two games. Now we have all 30 teams in action, giving us plenty of chances to bet on the first inning. This season, I've made some improvements and tweaks to the model that should improve our results, particularly late in the season.

Read about those changes in the link below, as well as a general explainer on all the ways to bet variations of this bet. Let's get to the picks.

Looking for MLB NRFI picks for Friday, March 29? Check out Friday's article linked below:

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, March 28

Pirates vs. Marlins (NRFI): Two pitchers with outstanding first-time-through-the-order splits meet in a game with a total of just 7.5. These are the spots we like to target, even with the Marlins having a strong top of the order.

Tigers vs. White Sox (Tigers-only YRFI): Detroit is implied for 4.3 runs against White Sox starter Garrett Crochet. Crochet threw just 12 2/3 innings in the big leagues last season, exclusively as a reliever. That's not enough of a sample size to confidently project him, but he had an xFIP north of seven pitching around one inning per appearance — which is unlikely to improve as he tries to last deep into this one. The +260 is a big enough line to take a bit of a guess for half of a unit.

Yankees vs. Astros (YRFI): The full game total is 8.5, and both pitchers have roughly league-average splits their first time through the order. I like this one a bit better than my model suggests, since the Yankees' No. 4 hitter (which doesn't factor in to my projection) is Giancarlo Stanton — who posted a 153 wRC+ against lefties even during his overall poor 2023 season.

Red Sox vs. Mariners (NRFI): I have the fair value at around -145 for the no runs side, given the 7.5-run total shaded to the under and two reasonably solid starting pitchers.

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