MLB picks Monday 7/31: YRFI & NRFI best bets today: Stroman goes scoreless in Chi-Town

Marcus Stroman of the Chicago Cubs
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Kyle Lupas


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Born and raised in Northeast Pennsylvania and a former college baseball player, I'm an avid fan and handicapper of the MLB, NBA, NFL and NCAA's. Looking to find an edge by any means necessary. A lifelong Phillies fan, I was still unable to get my learner's permit the last time they made a postseason appearance. For Kyle Lupas media enquiries, please email
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Don’t like sitting around for the entirety of a baseball game only for your bet to lose in the 9th inning? Well then, the YRFI/NRFI market is your new best betting strategy. Just reserve about 10 or 15 minutes to watch the 1st inning and let the chips fall where they may. We have 20 teams in action today, starting in Miami and winding down in San Francisco. So, let’s get right into it, and don’t forget to check out our MLB picks on the side and total for every game today.

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Los Angeles Angels vs Atlanta Braves: YRFI (-162)

The Atlanta Braves have one of the most dangerous lineups in recent memory, and already have 5 players with 20 home runs or more. They’ll likely finish the season with at least 7 players hitting that mark, as Sean Murphy (17) and Eddie Rosario (16) aren’t far behind. Ronald Acuna is on pace for a 40/80 season and Matt Olson is in line for at least 50 home runs at his current pace. Atlanta ranks 2nd in runs scored, 2nd in batting average, 1st in OPS, and 1st in home runs. Much of that damage has come from the top of the lineup in the first inning. Through 103 games, 109 of Atlanta’s 583 runs have come in the first inning where they own a +72 run differential.

The Braves will go up against right-hander Griffin Canning, who owns a 4.46 ERA through 16 starts. Canning has above-average strikeout numbers, but he’s been hit harder this season than any other season. Canning’s 45.7% hard-hit rate ranks in the bottom 9th percentile and he’s given up a home run in all but 4 starts. Charlie Morton takes the ball for Atlanta but is coming off back-to-back starts in which he surrendered 4 earned runs and a combined 8 walks. If Morton struggles with his command, it could lead to some early runs for the Angels. I’m backing the YRFI in Atlanta.

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Cincinnati Reds vs Chicago Cubs: NRFI (-128)

Ten days ago, the NL Central appeared to be a 2-team race between the Cincinnati Reds and the Milwaukee Brewers. That all changed after the Chicago Cubs rattled off 8 consecutive wins and inserted themselves into the race. Entering the week, only 4 games separate these 3 teams, and the Reds and Cubs faceoff 8 more times the remainder of the season. Needless to say, this 4-game series is going to shake up the division and the Cubs have shifted from sellers at the deadline to possible buyers. Prior to their 8-game winning streak, the writing was on the wall that Chicago would deal Marcus Stroman, Cody Bellinger, or both to begin a rebuild.

Now, all trade discussions are on hold and Stroman will take the ball tonight in what won’t be his last start as a Cub. Stroman is having another tremendous season in Chicago, posting a 3.51 ERA through 22 starts. His last 2 outings have been rough, but I have confidence in Stroman to come through in big moments. Stroman was far too good through the first 3 months of the season to not bounce back. For the Reds, rookie, left-hander Andrew Abbott makes his 11th start and has been lights out to begin his career. Abbott owns a 1.90 ERA and didn’t surrender a run until his 4th big league start. He’s added 2 more shutouts to his resume after tossing 8.0 scoreless against the Giants on July 20 and 6.0 scoreless in Milwaukee on July 25. The game total for tonight is set low at 8 runs and I’m not expecting either starter to give up many. Give me the NRFI in Chicago.

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