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We had a quiet Wednesday, with two half-unit bets losing while our only full-unit bet was rained out. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see both of our Thursday picks come to fruition.

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The model

The process is relatively simple. First, I start by assuming that the full-game (implied) run totals for either team are approximately efficient. As mentioned above, that tends to be the case most of the time. This saves me the trouble of trying to predict the total runs scored in the game and allows me to focus strictly on “when” instead of “how many.”

Next, I built a database of how the pitchers performed the first time through the order, relative to their overall stats. Since the latter is presumably included in the full game total, I wanted to find out if those races are more likely to come early or late. Most, but not all, MLB starters do somewhat better early in games, but with some variation in how much. The model uses xFIP (expected fielding independent pitch) as a predictor of pick effectiveness.

However, that’s only half of the equation, and offenses make up the other half. To do this, I looked at what percentage of a team’s total runs are produced by the top three hitters in the lineup. While a run scored in the first inning, by definition, needs at least four batters to reach the plate, one of the first three has to score it. The metric chosen here is wRC+, based on each team’s projected lineup for the day.

This is a trade-off of sorts, as lineups (and running totals) can change throughout the day, especially if important contributors miss time. However, in my experience, the inefficiency of the morning lines more than makes up for the leakage in the model. That said, be careful if, say, Mike Trout is listed as questionable for the game of the night.

The selections

With all the selections below, I will include the pick, the best line, and the threshold I would bet on. These will increase in the morning, so if any important news appears between the publication and the time you read it, be sure to consider it.

Infrequently, instead of betting on traditional YRFI/NRFI, the choice will be on one team or another specifically to score a run, which as of this writing is only one betting option on DraftKings. Since the model handles each team individually, sometimes a team projects a greater proportion of “run equity” in the first inning than the betting lines represent.

NRFI Odds and Picks for Thursday, September 14

Milwaukee Brewers vs. Miami Marlins NRFI (-105 at BetMGM): Whether you look at xFIP, ERA, or some other metric, Eury Pérez has been off early in games, as his first-down ERA is just 2.37. While Milwaukee’s Adrian Houser isn’t as dominant, we can live with one-way risks in a game with a total of eight runs and a relatively low NRFI.

San Francisco Giants team-specific YRFI (+180 on DraftKings): Fading the Coors game didn’t work out well yesterday, so today we’ll take the opposite approach. The Giants’ +180 line to score a run in the first inning is quite generous considering the implied total of six runs. They will also face Chase Anderson, who has a 6.49 overall ERA, although he has been a little better early in games. This is another great opportunity to take advantage of the 50% increase in MLB earnings on DraftKings.

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#MLB #NRFI #Picks #Today #Model #Predictions #Thursday #September

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