MLB picks Saturday 8/20: YRFI & NRFI best bets today
With more than a dozen MLB games taking place each day, one of the quickest 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 over time. 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 our free picks on the side and total for every MLB game.
There are 2 NRFI/YRFI bets I like on Saturday, so let’s get right into it.
Houston Astros vs Atlanta Braves: NRFI (-125)
Odds available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing.
This marquee matchup between the Astros and Braves will likely be decided by good pitching. On one side, the Astros will have the extremely reliable Cristian Javier on the mound. Javier has been in a groove of late, having allowed only 17 runs in his last 10 outings. Ranking in the top 10 percent in baseball in xBA, xSLG, xERA and xWOBA, Javier is as consistent as they come. Even away from home, the righty should have no trouble setting down the Braves hitters in the opening frame.
The hosts will counter with Spencer Strider, who is the current NL Rookie of the Year favorite. It’s for good reason too, as Strider has an xERA of 2.61 while being an absolute strikeout machine. The young right-hander is in the top 7 percent of all starters in xBA, xSLG and WOBA, proving that his season has been no fluke. Strider strikes out over 37 percent of the hitters he faces this year, and that should help against an Astros lineup that is unfamiliar with him. This first inning should be a quiet one.
Be sure to check out our full game preview for Houston Astros vs Atlanta Braves
Chicago White Sox vs Cleveland Guardians: NRFI (-135)
Odds available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing.
One of the better pitching matchups of the day takes place in an important AL Central battle. The White Sox and Guardians are battling for playoff positioning, and both pitchers should take the field with confidence on Saturday. For starters, Shane Bieber is having a typically solid season on the mound. Bieber’s strikeout numbers are down a bit from the previous 2 seasons, but he still holds a 3.18 ERA and a better xERA than in 2021. More importantly, none of the hitters at the top of the White Sox lineup have good career numbers off Bieber, so he should toss a clean first inning.
Bieber will be opposed by Johnny Cueto, who is having a resurgence in 2022. Holding a 2.78 ERA and xWOBA of 3.05, Cueto has quietly been the No. 2 pitcher for the White Sox. His contributions have been essential, especially in the first inning. The veteran right-hander has surrendered just 2 first inning runs in his last 8 outings. Look for his early success to continue on Saturday.
Be sure to check out our full game preview for Chicago White Sox vs Cleveland Guardians
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