MLB NRFI Picks Today, Model Predictions for Wednesday, September 13

MLB NRFI Picks Today, Model Predictions for Wednesday, September 13 article feature image

Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Jose Altuve & Yordan Alvarez (Astros)

Tuesday was a great day for the model, going 3-1, including a suggested single-team play.

I have just three picks today, as September call-ups have led to a lot of pitchers having insufficient sample sizes to model.

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 Wednesday, September 13

Colorado Rockies vs. Chicago Cubs NRFI: Obviously Coors Field NRFIs are a big risk, but the Rockies' ineptitude on offense limits the risk here. Rockies starter Jameson Taillon isn't great, but his best xFIP is his first time through the order. I'd recommend this one at half of a unit.

Houston Astros Team-Specific YRFI: We're going back to the well on this one, with Houston implied for 5.34 runs overall. The Astros also have one of the strongest first three hitters in baseball. This is especially appealing thanks to DraftKings' 50% profit boost on any MLB bet, which holds more value on plus-money bets like this.

Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees YRFI: This is a pretty generous line considering the 9.5-run total — and the strength of both teams' lineups. Neither Clarke Schmidt or Tanner Houck have especially strong first-time-through-the-order splits, so there's nothing to keep us from this one.

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