Top MLB NRFI Picks & Odds for Wednesday, April 27th

Can anyone believe how last night’s Tigers-Twins game ended? For all Tiger fans and (+125) money line betters, I could not imagine a worse way to lose a baseball can this:

With that, let us take a look at today’s action. There are many ways to bet on a baseball game. One of the most exciting ways, now, are No Run First Inning Bets (NRFI). Really, it’s as simple as it sounds; you can bet on whether a run will be scored by either team in the first inning. Especially at a time when scoring is at an all-time low, it’s more likely than not that a run is not scored, leading to prices being juiced towards the “under” taking place. Even with that, the most logical bets are usually to side with the under, as you’ll see here!


Los Angeles at Arizona Diamondbacks

Starting off by fading the Dodgers offense is quite scary, to say the least. However, as was the case against the Mets last Friday, we are maintaining confidence in Diamondbacks starter Zac Gallen to get through at least one scoreless inning.

In his first two starts of the season, Gallen has been impressive, posting a 12.4% swinging-strike rate despite facing the Mets, who have the league’s lowest swinging-strike rate thus far. As I mentioned on Friday: “Coming into the season, I had one request for Gallen; throw the ball up in the zone more often. His arsenal consists of four pitches with plus vertical movement, but he wasn’t able to miss bats (9.1% swinging-strike rate) last year, as he located down in the zone too often.”

Well, we are now two starts in, and Gallen has an average pitch height on his fastball of 2.71 ft, which is significantly higher than where it was last year (2.38 ft). Although this was the expectation with former Astros pitching coach Brett Strom, the confirmation of the shift in strategy is key, and could unlock a whole new level for Gallen this season.

It is hard to be too concerned about a Diamondbacks offense that has the second-lowest weighed-runs-created-plus (74) in the MLB this season, especially facing Julio Urías. Thus, this becomes mainly a gamble on Gallen being able to work through the Dodgers lineup one time, which is why this isn’t at a steeper price. It’s risky, but that’s the name of the game!

Bet: LAD at ARI NRFI (-130)

Oakland Athletics at San Francisco Giants

As a Bay Area native, there a few matchups more exciting than the Battle of the Bay. These teams may be trending in opposite directions right now, but it still exciting the two series a year that they match up for!

Is the breakout of A’s starter Paul Blackburn legitimate? That’s what many, particularly in the fantasy baseball community, want to know. We’ve seen Blackburn miss more bats (10.7% swinging-strike rate) than expected in the early going, and a lot of it ties back to his increased curveball usage (21.4%). It remains to be seen if that is legitimate, but he’ll get the honor of pitching in the very pitcher-friendly Oracle Park, which at least helps reduce the risk of a home run, along with Blackburn’s ground-ball inducing tendencies.

So will the Giants’ pitching duo of Sammy Long and Jakob Junis, with Long serving as the opener. With Long only serving as the opener, it’s less likely the A’s completely cater their lineup to stack righties against him, which would certainly leave lefty Tony Kemp at the top, and perhaps lefty Seth Brown batting cleanup. Now pitching as a bulk reliever, Long’s velocity is up more than two MPH, and he’s missed more bats thus far as a result. Considering that he was always likely going to see an uptick in performance going from the rotation to the bullpen, we should expect this to continue. Well, especially against an Oakland lineup ranked in the bottom-ten in wRC+. I’ll take the under 0.5 runs here.

Bet: OAK at SF NRFI (-135)

Houston Astros at Texas Rangers

The noise you hear are the sirens going off for me considering this game, of all other ones available. However, with this game tied for the highest total of the day, the NRFI price becomes less, increasing the potential value of this bet.

I know we’re used to the “mighty” Astros, but Houston ranks 18th with a below-average 95 wRC+ thus far, while the Rangers rank one spot below at 94. This game is also being played in Texas, a pitcher-friendly environment, leading to me not believing that as many runs will be scored here as the total suggests.

Plus, there’s a lot to like with the two starting pitchers. Moving back from the bullpen to the rotation, Astros starter Cristian Javier may not pitch long into this game, but his effectiveness should be there early on. In his ten starts as a starter last season, the 25-year-old possessed a 29.9% strikeout rate, and he’s been utterly dominant in a bulk reliever role. As someone who misses bats and induces a low bating average on balls in play allowed due to a consistently high pop-up rate allowed (only a .253 BABIP projection from THE BAT), there isn’t much reason to be too concerned about him handling a struggling top of the Rangers order.

Glenn Otto, meanwhile, led the upper levels of the minors in strikeouts last season. His 9.26 ERA in 23.1 MLB innings last season would seem concerning, but it came with well-above-average peripheral numbers (18% K-BB, 3.82 skill interactive ERA). This is a pitcher with an ERA projection around 4.00 by most systems, and has the proven ability to strike batters out based on his time in the minors and the majors. Regardless of his age for the minor-league level, you don’t luck your way into the production he had, and he’s translated that ability to the majors, where his pitch arsenal grades out well, per Eno Sarris of The Athletic:

Remember, 100 is league average for those numbers, so Otto has the makings of a potential above-average starter very soon. Once again, the question will be who deep he is allowed to go into this game, but we’re only concerned about one dining here. As mentioned previously, the Astros lineup is struggling right now, and the top of the lineup is notably weaker with Jose Altuve on the injured list. At a nice price, I recommend taking the chance on these two pitchers against two worse-than-portrayed offenses.

Bet: HOU at TEX NRFI (-120)


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The post Top MLB NRFI Picks & Odds for Wednesday, April 27th appeared first on BettingPros.

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Author: Micheal May