MLB picks Friday, 10/20 - YRFI & NRFI best bets today: Justin Verlander and Jordan Montgomery contest a pitchers' duel

Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) reacts after striking out Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (not pictured) to end the sixth inning in game one of the ALCS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Minute Maid Park.
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Ricky Dimon


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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports -- just about any and all you can think of! -- and coaching tennis in Atlanta, GA. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me. For Ricky Dimon media enquiries, please email

Well, the League Championship Series just got interesting. The Houston Astros have battled back to tie the ALCS at 2-2 after dropping the first 2 games at home against the Texas Rangers. In the NLCS, the Arizona Diamondbacks trail the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 but they are still alive and kicking thanks to their Game 3 victory on Thursday.

The YRFI/NRFI market has become extremely popular in baseball betting. After all, you don’t have to sit around for 3 hours (or maybe a lot less now that games are not as long on average!) to see if your wager hits; the satisfaction (or in some cases disappointment) is immediate. It all comes down to the first inning.

Here are my favorite YRFI/NRFI plays for Friday, and also be sure to check out all of our MLB picks for both games today.

Houston Astros vs Texas Rangers: NRFI (-111)

We’re already into Game 5 in the ALCS, so the pitching matchup is a much different story to what we should see in Phillies vs Diamondbacks. Both teams have ringers taking the mound in the form of Justin Verlander (Houston) and Jordan Montgomery (Texas). Given Verlander’s illustrious history and Montgomery’s dominance in Game 1 of this series, the NRFI is an obvious choice – especially at a reasonable -111 price.

It feels like a while ago considering what has already been a rollercoaster ride of a series, but don’t forget what Montgomery did in the opener. The Rangers’ left-hander fired 6.1 innings of scoreless baseball, helping his team pick up a 2-0 road win. Through 3 postseason outings, Montgomery is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA. Verlander also pitched to the NRFI in Game 1 and finished with 6.2 innings of work with only 2 runs allowed. The veteran right-hander is sporting a 1.42 ERA through 12.2 innings in these playoffs. Yeah, there’s no way I’m fading either one of these guys regardless of the opposing offenses’ prowess.

Read our Houston Astros vs Texas Rangers predictions for Game 4

Philadelphia Phillies vs Arizona Diamondbacks: YRFI (-128)

I had the YRFI in both games on Thursday. That worked out swimmingly in Astros vs Rangers but not so much in the NLCS. Despite the quiet bats early, I’m going right back to the YRFI well for Game 4 of Phillies vs Diamondbacks. After all, you can only hold down this Philadelphia offense for so long. Moreover, Arizona is going with a bullpen day that will be opened by Joe Mantiply. That doesn’t bode well for the Snakes based on Mantiply’s Game 2 performance in which he allowed 3 runs in 0.1 innings. Kyle Schwarber is 2-for-4 lifetime against Mantiply and Trea Turner is 3-for-4.

The Phillies are countering with Christopher Sanchez, who went 3-5 with a decent 3.44 ERA in the regular season. This will be the 26-year-old’s first-ever postseason appearance, so nerves would be understandable. Both Ketel Marte and Corbin Carroll are 1-for-1 with a double all time against Sanchez. With momentum in hand following their walk-off win in Game 3, the Diamondbacks may be able to remain on a roll with a quick run on Friday. The bottom line is at least 1 of these teams should cross the plate right away.

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