YRFI and NRFI MLB Best Bets for Friday, July 28

By Jared Smith  (VSiN.com) 

July 28, 2023 11:55 AM

Best Bets on Today's MLB YRFI and NRFI Markets

We were on the verge of a sweep last Sunday with two outs and the bases empty in the bottom of the first, but JJ Bleday had other ideas, launching a homer off Astros rookie Hunter Brown to sink our NRFI spirits and send us to another 1-1 day. Not an easy pill to swallow, but when you are consistently betting into a market that spans only six outs, those are the ups and downs you have to manage over the course of a long season. At some point our luck will change, I hope. 

Keep reading to find out my best bets for Friday, July 28th. I recommend three 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: 37-35 (51.4%) -10.16u -7.0% ROI

Milwaukee Brewers at Atlanta Braves

The Braves have scored an early run in nearly 50% of their home games this season (25-of-51) which is the second-highest rate in the league behind the Red Sox. Adrian Houser has posted an 8-3 NRFI record this season, but the underlying data does not back it up. Houser’s xFIP in the first inning is nearly two runs higher than his actual FIP (4.87 to 3.10) which tells me he’s gotten considerably fortunate in the opening frame. 

Yonny Chirinos was just claimed by the Braves off waivers from the Rays earlier this week and is being immediately thrust into a starting role. He was 4-0 to the NRFI this season in Tampa, but his xFIP in the first inning was over a run higher than his actual FIP (5.50 to 4.28) which like Houser also tells me he’s due for some regression. Milwaukee’s lineup has been slightly above average in the first inning with a scoring rate of 30% on the road this season. Perhaps they get a boost tonight after acquiring Carlos Santana yesterday from the Pirates, which will add a veteran switch-hitting presence in the heart of the order. 

I was able to find plenty of -130 available in the overnight market, and I would feel comfortable playing this wager up to -140 but not at the ridiculous -165 price being offered by DraftKings at the time of publication.

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

Adrian Houser vs:

Ronald Acuna (5-for-10, 2B, 2 Ks)

Ozzie Albies (3-for-11, 2B, K, 2 BBs)

Austin Riley (5-for-13, HR, 3 Ks)

Matt Olson (1-for-5, 2 Ks, 3 BBs)


Yonny Chirinos vs:

Christian Yelich (never faced)

William Contreras (never faced)

Willy Adames (never faced)

Owen Miller (never faced)

Bet: Yes Run First Inning (-165)


Cincinnati Reds at Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers, like Atlanta, deserve YRFI consideration every night. Los Angeles has a 46% scoring rate at home in the first inning this season, which is the third-highest in the league. They also have been fantastic against lefties, with the 2nd highest wRC+ in the opening frame since June 1st. All of this is bad news for southpaw Brandon Williamson, who is a surprising 9-3 to the NRFI this season despite a first-inning xFIP 1.5 runs higher than his actual FIP (5.10 to 3.62) which tells me he’s dodged a few early bullets and might be a regression candidate. 

Bobby Miller has posted a 7-3 NRFI record thus far in his rookie campaign. He's a flamethrower who can be susceptible to the long ball, with two of his five home runs allowed coming in the first inning. Miller is below the 50th percentile of average exit velocity, chase rate and whiff rate despite being in the 98th percentile of fastball velocity. That tells me his fastball is relatively straight without much deception. The Reds are a good fastball-hitting team, ranked top five in pitch value according to Fangraphs. Some other intriguing splits include Miller’s 5.93 ERA at home this season compared to 2.63 on the road. He also struggles with his control against lefties and has issued 11 of his 16 walks this season to left-handed hitters. Cincinnati will likely stack up three lefties (De La Cruz, Friedl, Fraley) in the first four hitters. 

I was able to find a -120 available on Friday morning, and I would feel comfortable playing this wager up to -140, which was the price being offered by DraftKings at the time of publication.

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

Brandon Williamson vs:

Mookie Betts (1-for-3, HR)

Freddie Freeman (1-for-3)

Will Smith (2-for-3, 2B, HR)

JD Martinez (1-for-3, 2B)


Bobby Miller vs:

Elly De La Cruz (never faced)

TJ Friedl (never faced)

Matt McLain (never faced)

Jake Fraley (never faced)

Bet: Yes Run First Inning (-140)


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