Best NRFI Bets Today | MLB Picks, Model Predictions for Tuesday, May 2

Best NRFI Bets Today | MLB Picks, Model Predictions for Tuesday, May 2 article feature image

Denis Poroy/Getty Images. Pictured: Freddy Peralta

  • The RFI market is robust on Tuesday with a myriad of betting options on the Major League Baseball schedule.
  • Our analyst has six betting picks to recommend, including four YRFI and two NRFI.
  • Continue reading for his top plays and projections for the MLB NRFI and YRFI market for Tuesday, May 2.

Tuesday's are for baseball, and we have another loaded slate of games on tap.

There's a six-pack of first inning bets to choose from tonight, though some are only worthwhile at specific books.

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 Tuesday, May 2

New YorkMets vs. Detroit Tigers NRFI: My model has all of the "run equity" on the Mets side for this one, with the Tigers offense one of the worst in baseball. Of course, the Mets just played a doubleheader yesterday in Atlanta, then had to fly to Detroit for an early(ish) start tonight. Coupled with the awful hitting weather (temperatures in the low 40s) and the chance New York sits some starters I'm willing to roll the dice that this one is more valuable than the model suggests. Also a bit of an off line at FanDuel relative to the market.

Miami Marlins vs. Atlanta Braves YRFI: I'm a little nervous about this one without Ronald Acuna Jr. but the plus-money at BetMGM is too good to pass up. On paper, this is a matchup between good hitting and good pitching, but I'm not sold on Atlanta's Bryce Elder. His ERA is 2.17 but his SIERA and xERA are both above 4.00.

Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays YRFI: This is a very fair line considering the game's 9.5-run total. Toronto starter Yuseki Kikuchi has also been consistently worse his first time through the order, with a large enough sample size to feel confident that's not just noise.

Kansas City Royals vs. Baltimore Orioles YRFI: This is mostly based on BetMGM being considerably off the market here. I'm not super confident in projecting games where one team uses an "opener" rather than a traditional starter, but my model leans over even with conservative projections on the Royals' Ryan Yarborough. I wouldn't bet this if you don't have access to the BetMGM odds.

Los Angeles Angels vs. St. Louis Cardinals YRFI: The Angels' lineup is consistently one of the most "top heavy" in baseball, thanks to superstars Mike Trout and Shoehei Ohtani. Tonight, they face an opponent that's just as dangerous at the top, especially against left-handed pitching

Milwaukee Brewers vs. ColoradoRockies NRFI: Definitely keep this one to half of your normal unit, but thanks to the juicy odds my model prefers the no runs side in a Coors Field game. The top of the Brewers' lineup is below average against right-handed pitching, while Colorado's is near the bottom of the league. Both pitchers have solid strikeout and ground ball rates, and the thin air doesn't matter if you don't hit the ball in the air.

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