MLB picks Thursday 7/20: YRFI & NRFI best bets today: We're on a 5-1 run!

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Chris Bassitt (40) pitches to the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Rogers Centre.

If you aren’t interested in a bet that will take 9 innings, one of the shortest-lasting bets you can make in an MLB game is if a run will be scored in the first inning. All it takes is 6 outs to glory, and one swing of the bat can make or break your bet. There is also a lot of value in these bets because the odds are usually very well-priced, and if you’re not a fan of sweating out your bets for 3 hours then this one will take only about 15 minutes to win or lose. But before we dive in, don’t forget to check out our MLB picks for every game on Thursday.

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San Diego Padres vs Toronto Blue Jays: NRFI (-106)

Available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing

Blake Snell has established himself as a serious contender for the National League Cy Young award. Gary Sanchez, though, has also been a hidden hero who has contributed much to Snell’s success. Looking at Snell’s game log, the lefty turned the corner exactly 9 starts ago. Sanchez was signed by the Padres at the end of May and has caught Snell’s previous 9 starts (see the correlation?). Snell has a 0.51 ERA in 53 innings with Sanchez as his catcher and has held hitters to a .150 batting average, a .243 on-base percentage, a .194 slugging percentage and .437 OPS. But the madness doesn’t end there; Snell’s strikeout rate before the addition of Sanchez was 27.9%, but it has since risen to 46.1%.

There are 2 different versions of Chris Bassitt: at home and away. The change of setting means everything to Bassitt, who owns a 5.71 ERA on the road and a 2.47 ERA at home. In his 9 starts in Toronto, Bassitt is 5-1 with a 0.874 WHIP and has limited hitters to a .165 batting average, .259 on-base percentage and .499 OPS. He’s allowed a first-inning run in just 2 of his 9 starts at home, and I like his chances of another scoreless first frame against a Padres offense that doesn’t seem to wake up until the mid-to-late innings. Between Snell and Bassitt, I’m a huge fan of the NRFI in Canada.

Lock in our expert’s +863 MLB mega parlay for today’s action

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Minnesota Twins vs Seattle Mariners: NRFI (-135)

Available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing

George Kirby is a rising star. The 25-year-old breezed through the Minors en route to becoming an important piece in Seattle’s starting rotation. After 18 starts, Kirby has a 3.44 ERA with a 1.07 WHIP and might have the best control in the game. He has just a 2.4% walk rate in over 100 innings which puts him into the 100th percentile for walk rate. As for Kirby in the opening frame, he’s allowed just 4 runs in 18 starts and has limited hitters to just a .177 batting average and a .212 on-base percentage. The Elon alum is also much better in Seattle than on the road, so that’s yet another advantage for him.

Pablo Lopez has an incredibly misleading 4.24 ERA. Through 18 starts, Lopez has an ERA north of 4 but an xERA of just 3.11 and a FIP of 3.37. That means Lopez was quite unlucky throughout the first half of the season and is due for some positive regression in the second half. All it takes is a quick look at Lopez’s advanced metrics to see that he’s a much better pitcher than someone with a 4.24 ERA too. The right-hander ranks in the 85th percentile or better in xBA, xERA, strikeout rate, chase rate and more. He gets a fortunate matchup against a Mariners lineup that has been whiffing at a concerningly high rate this season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see 6 up and 6 down in Seattle, so I’m happy taking the NRFI at this price.

Make sure you lock in my MLB best bets for Thursday, which features a 9-1 trend

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