MLB NRFI Picks Today, Model Predictions for Wednesday, August 9
Photo by David Berding/Getty Images. Pictured: Merrill Kelly (Diamondbacks)
It was a rough one on Tuesday, with variance working against us in a number of spots.
Let's get back in the win column today, with four more picks.
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 Wednesday, August 9
Cincinnati Reds vs. Miami Marlins YRFI: The 10-run total here makes this a fairly easy YRFI pick, even with heavily juiced lines at most books. Fortunately, Kambi-associated books (BetRivers, GunLake, etc.) are a bit off the market here, making this a solid selection if you have access to one of those.
Cleveland Guardians vs. Toronto Blue Jays NRFI: We have an eight-run total here, with two pitchers who do a bit better their first time through the order. Additionally, neither team is especially top-heavy offensively, making this a solid choice across the board.
New York Mets vs. Chicago Cubs YRFI: Much of this projection is based on the Mets' David Peterson, who has a 6.85 ERA his first time through the order this season. It's a fairly big sample size as well, with over 20 innings of data facing the opposing hitters for the first time.
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Los Angeles Dodgers YRFI: Los Angeles remains the most top heavy team in baseball, making them a frequent YRFI candidate. Arizona has a solid chance of scoring here too, though, as neither pitcher has especially strong splits their first time through the order.