MLB NRFI Odds, Picks: Expert Predictions & Model Projections for 5 Wednesday Games

MLB NRFI Odds, Picks: Expert Predictions & Model Projections for 5 Wednesday Games article feature image

Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Cubs pitcher Marcus Stroman.

  • With MLB action throughout Wednesday afternoon and evening, there's plenty of betting value on NRFIs and YRFIs.
  • Billy Ward's NRFI/YRFI model found five value picks for Wednesday, including bets for Tigers vs. Angels and White Sox vs. Cubs.
  • Read on for all five of Ward's top NRFI/YRFI bets on Wednesday.

Our hot streak continued on Tuesday, with a 4-1 record after our perfect Monday. Let's have ourselves another day today, with a full day of baseball starting at noon ET.

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 night's 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 Wednesday, June 26

Minnesota Twins vs. Seattle Mariners NRFI: These are two of the better NRFI teams in baseball, with Minnesota ranking dead last in production share from the top of the lineup and Seattle coming in at 24th. To further the case today, we have two solid starting pitchers who both feature excellent numbers the first time through the order.

San Diego Padres vs. Pittsburgh Pirates YRFI: We took the NRFI on these teams yesterday, but there's a much better chance of a run today. Both arms are below average in their early splits, and the Padres, in particular, are fairly likely to score in the first frame.

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Baltimore Orioles NRFI: This game has a fairly high total, but I'm expecting those runs to be backloaded given the numbers on both starters and the fact that neither team is especially top-heavy offensively. Philadelphia ranks near the bottom in that area despite the big names at the top of its batting order.

Detroit Tigers vs. Los Angeles Angels YRFI: We took the YRFI in this series yesterday and won, but today's game projecting slightly better. That's mostly due to the Tigers being considerably better against left-handed pitching on the season.

Chicago White Sox vs. Chicago Cubs YRFI: This is a surprisingly cheap YRFI line for a game with a nine-run total. While nothing else is notable — both offenses and pitchers have close-to-average splits — betting low-juice YRFIs in games with totals this high is almost always a +EV move.

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