MLB NRFI Picks, Model Predictions for Tuesday, June 13
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin.
- Fifteen games line Tuesday's MLB schedule, meaning we can be a bit pickier with our NRFI/YRFI picks.
- Billy Ward came through with four games that his model sees NRFI/YRFI value on, including Dodgers vs. White Sox and Cardinals vs. Giants.
- Read on for all four NRFI/YRFI picks for Tuesday's MLB games.
We got off to a rough start on Monday, going 1-3 on a lighter slate of games. The MLB is back with a full slate today, though, so we can be a bit choosier on which lines to take.
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.
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, June 13
Minnesota Twins vs. Milwaukee Brewers YRFI: Both pitchers in this game have "reverse splits," meaning they've been worse their first time through the order. That's enough for this one to be worth taking at the plus-money BetMGM line despite the low total.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Francisco Giants YRFI: I was pretty surprised to get this one at even money considering the nine-run game total. Neither pitcher is especially dominant early in games, and both teams are above average in terms of the proportion of their offense produced by the first three hitters.
San Diego Padres vs. Cleveland Guardians NRFI: We have one offense that ranks near the bottom in terms of the percentage of scoring produced at the top (the Padres) and another offense that's just plain bad (the Guardians). Plus, it helps to have two pitchers with solid stats the first time through the order.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago White Sox YRFI: Unsurprisingly, Los Angeles makes up the bulk of the scoring projection here — about two-thirds. For that reason, I'll be splitting my exposure on the game YRFI line and the Dodgers-only line at +170 at DraftKings. I'm betting to win half of my YRFI unit on the game at BetMGM and half of my usual unit on the Dodgers only.