MLB picks Saturday, 8/12 - YRFI & NRFI best bets today: Bassitt tough to beat for Blue Jays

Chris Bassitt of the Toronto Blue Jays
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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
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The weekend in Major League Baseball features a more-than-full 16-game slate on Saturday. Why 16? Well, the Braves and Mets are squaring off in a doubleheader at Citi Field in New York. With 3 games regionally televised on FOX and another being shown on FS1, it’s a big day in baseball and there is plenty to work with when it comes to making some YRFI/NRFI bets.

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 Saturday, and also be sure to check out all of our MLB picks. 

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Chicago Cubs vs Toronto Blue Jays: NRFI (-128)

This should be a good pitching matchup between Justin Steele of Chicago and Chris Bassitt of Toronto. Steele has been incredible in 2023, with a 13-3 record, 2.68 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. The left-hander has pitched clean first innings in 4 consecutive appearances. Bassitt is 11-6 with a 3.87 ERA and is coming off 7.0 innings of 1-run baseball against Boston this past Sunday.

Neither offense is particularly daunting in the opening frame. The Cubs are 22nd in Major League Baseball with 0.46 runs scored in the first inning on average, including an anemic 0.35 away from home. As mediocre as that is, the Blue Jays are even worse. They are #26 in the league in first-inning offense (0.42 runs per contest). Cody Bellinger is 1-for-3 lifetime against Bassitt with a home run, but nobody else in either lineup has done anything of note against the respective opposing pitcher in this interleague matchup. I will happily roll with the NRFI.

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Minnesota Twins vs Philadelphia Phillies: NRFI (+100)

When you can get the NRFI at plus-money (albeit right on the number) in a game pitched by Minnesota’s Pablo Lopez and Philadelphia’s Taijuan Walker, it’s an opportunity that should be taken. Lopez is sporting a 3.81 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP this year. Through 2 August outings he is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA. Walker boasts a 13-4 record to go along with a 3.98 ERA and 1.26 WHIP.

The Phillies crossed the plate 13 times on Friday, but I have no concern that they will do anything similar against Lopez. After all, the right-hander has allowed a first-inning run just once in his last 12 starts. Walker has been a bit more generous in the early stages of games, but nobody in the Twins’ lineup has ever had more than 2 hits off him and Carlos Correa is 2-for-12. The NRFI has great value in this matchup.

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