MLB picks Monday 10/17: YRFI & NRFI best bets today - Bats set the tone in Game 5

Cleveland Guardians outfielder Oscar Gonzalez
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Caleb Wilfinger


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Deputy Editor for Pickswise with years of experience handicapping and giving out winning picks. Lover of all US sports and Southampton FC. For Caleb Wilfinger media enquiries, please email
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The MLB playoffs are in full swing and we’ve now reached the final game of this ALDS matchup between the Yankees and Guardians. One of the quickest MLB bets you can make is if a run will be scored in the first inning. There is value to be had and this market has become very popular. If you don’t like sweating out your bets for 3 hours, this one will only take about 15 minutes.

Before we dive in, don’t forget to check out all of our MLB predictions for this week’s MLB playoff games.

Cleveland Guardians vs New York Yankees: YRFI (+100)

Odds available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing. 

With most postseason games featuring quality pitching, it’s difficult to find spots to back a first-inning run. However, both teams have exhausted their best starters in this series. Therefore, I like this spot for both sides to take advantage of the opponent’s opener in this one. Both managers have indicated that this will be a bullpen game, with their starters set to last only a few innings. For the visiting Guardians, Aaron Civale will get the ball, and his numbers have been anything but promising. The right-hander holds an ERA of 4.92 this season and is in the 25th percentile for hard-hit rate this season. Most of his advanced metrics are below average and the top of the Yankees order should see success early on.

Even if New York doesn’t jump out all over Civale in the bottom of the first, Jameson Taillon doesn’t inspire the most confidence either. The Yankees starter doesn’t have much postseason experience and is now being called upon in an elimination game, which could be cause for concern. Taillon’s xERA was 4.20 this season, to go along with a xBA and xSLG in the bottom 20% of qualified starters. The righty has surrendered a first-inning run in 6 of his last 12 starts dating back to August 2. The Guardians lineup is one that prides itself on putting the ball in play, meaning strikeouts will be hard to come by. If Steven Kwan or Amed Rosario stay hot, then Taillon could be in trouble against Jose Ramirez, Josh Naylor or Oscar Gonzalez.

I think we see some first-inning nerves from both pitchers, so I like getting the YRFI at this price.

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