YRFI and NRFI MLB Best Bets for Friday, August 25

By Jared Smith  (VSiN.com) 

August 25, 2023 11:55 AM

Best Bets on Today's MLB YRFI and NRFI Markets

I ended last week on a down note going 0-2 with Sunday’s best bets. Both picks feel like ancient history at this point so no need to recap. Overall, it’s been a difficult week for me in the MLB markets since last Sunday, as my attention is starting to become split with football season fast approaching. I understand how difficult it can be to stay the course betting on baseball as NFL and NCAA distractions start to enter your headspace. My best advice is to continue to carve out time to go through your process every day. I don’t like the idea of quitting a marathon on the 24th mile. 

Keep reading to find out my best bets for Friday, August 25th. I recommend two units for each. All odds are via DraftKings but be sure to shop around for the best line as prices vary dramatically in this market. 

Best Bets Season Record: 50-46 (52.1%) -5.26u -2.5% ROI

Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates

Kyle Hendricks is just 11-6 to the NRFI this season and has been trending down all month with a 5.48 ERA over his last four starts. He draws a Pirates lineup that has been coming on strong this month with a .352 BABIP and OPS in the top 10 of the league in the first inning vs. RHP. He pitched well against the Pirates in Pittsburgh back on June 21st pitching a clean opening frame and allowing just two hits and one earned run over six innings. However, Brian Reynolds and Andrew McCutchen did not play in that game, both of whom have seen Hendricks a ton and have taken him deep. 

Mitch Keller is just 15-11 to the NRFI this season and 7-5 at home. Like Hendricks, he has also struggled this month with a 5.73 ERA over his last four starts which includes a .452 BABIP, the highest of any pitcher on the board today. He draws the top of a Chicago lineup that is operating at peak efficiency. The Cubs lead the majors first-inning wRC+ vs. RHP this month, and overall, they are 14-7 to the YRFI in August. 

I was able to find +100 available in the market and would feel comfortable playing this up to -115 but not at the -125 price currently offered by DraftKings at the time of publication. 

Here’s how the starting pitchers have fared against the projected top of each lineup:

Kyle Hendricks vs.:

Ji Hwan Bae (0-for-3)

Bryan Reynolds (5-for-24, 2 3Bs, HR, 3 Ks, BB)

Andrew McCutchen (9-for-38, 2 2Bs, HR, 8 Ks, 2 BBs)


Mitch Keller vs.:

Mike Tauchman (0-for-2)

Nico Hoerner (1-for-3, 2B)

Ian Happ (7-for-16, 2B, 2 HRs, 4 Ks, 5 BBs)

Bet: Yes Run First Inning (-125)

Oakland Athletics at Chicago White Sox

Zach Neal is making his first MLB start. The righty reliever has a 4.96 xFIP in seven appearances out of the bullpen this season, but his recent form has been a struggle. Neal has allowed three home runs in just 8.1 innings pitched this month with a 2.19 WHIP and .387  BABIP. Say what you want about how disappointing the White Sox season has been, they have some capable hitters at the top of the lineup, and this month they are top 10 in wRC+ and BABIP in the first inning vs. RHP. 

Dylan Cease is 21-5 to the NRFI this season and 12-1 at home but has been trending down in a big way since not being moved at the trade deadline. This month, Cease is pitching to a 6.75 ERA and 1.88 WHIP with 14 walks allowed in just 18.2 innings. Nothing about the Athletics lineup scares me, but the underlying data says they are about average in wRC+ vs. RHP in the first inning this month. If you take the full sample, Oakland is 39-24 to the YRFI on the road this season, and they have an above-average scoring rate. 

I was able to find -105 available in the market and would feel comfortable playing this up to -115.

Here’s how the starting pitchers have fared against the projected top of each lineup:

Zach Neal vs.:

Tim Anderson (2-for-3, 2B)

Andrew Benintendi (never faced)

Luis Robert Jr. (never faced)


Dylan Cease vs.:

Lawrence Butler (never faced)

Zack Gelof (never faced)

Ryan Noda (1-for-2, 2B, BB)

Bet: Yes Run First Inning (-110)


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