MLB NRFI Picks Today, Model Predictions for Tuesday, August 15
Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images. Pictured: Adrian Houser (Brewers)
Monday went poorly, though it was a small sample size with just two bets on a smaller slate.
With a full slate of games on Tuesday, we can pick and choose the best few to attack.
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.
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 Tuesday, August 15
Texas Rangers vs. Los Angeles Angels YRFI: While these are two of the better overall starting pitchers on the slate, neither is especially dominant early in games. Both teams rank inside the top seven (with the Angels at No. 1) in production share from their top three hitters since the All-Star break.
San Diego Padres vs. Baltimore Orioles NRFI: This is a surprisingly generous line given the eight-run total in the game. Both pitchers have solid first-time-through-the-order splits, and both offenses are on the wrong side of their platoon splits against righties.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Milwaukee Brewers YRFI: Most of the value here is on the Dodgers' side, but sportsbooks have caught on to that factor and made that line not worth playing. However, Milwaukee contributes enough equity to make the full-game line +EV at reasonably low juice.