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Picking Today’s NRFI/YRFI Plays: Just Say Yes in Braves-Cards Game

Ah, the first full week of summer, another one of those benchmarks in the MLB calendar that signals an uptick in intensity. The All-Star break, trade deadline and the inevitable dog days will come along soon, and before you know it Aunt Maggie will be sending out invites for Thanksgiving dinner.

Meanwhile, we keep motoring on at the RIFI department, where we churned out a 3-0 effort on Friday to end another winning week with our MLB picks. Here’s a couple new offerings to get you going on Monday.

Picking Today’s NRFI/YRFI Plays:Just Say Yes in Braves-Cards Game
Lance Lynn #31 of the St. Louis Cardinals/Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images/AFP


Today’s 2 Best NRFI/YRFI Bets

1. Braves vs Cardinals: Streaking Clubs Meet in St. Louis

We start off with a pair of second-place teams who have been putting some pressure on the leaders in their respective divisions. Atlanta enters having won three straight series, including two of three in the Bronx over the weekend, while once-dormant St. Louis is aiming for its sixth straight win at home.

Lance Lynn gets the nod for the Cardinals. After a superb start in his return to St. Louis, he’s looked more like a 37-year-old who’s best days are clearly in the past. Not that Lynn has been awful, but the 2.64 ERA he carried through April was a bit of a mirage.

The two-time All-Star has allowed 13 runs in 13⅔ innings over his last three starts. His 1.43 WHIP is the second-highest of his long career, so there’s been plenty of action on the bases.

That’s certainly the case with the opening inning, where Lynn has allowed 12 runs in his 15 starts. The home run ball is often an issue for the right-hander, and three of the nine he’s given up this year have taken place in the first.

Even without Ronald Acuna Jr., the Braves have managed to maintain a top 10 ranking in both first-inning OPS and first-inning scoring percentage, even raising the latter figure since losing their superstar leadoff man.

While Lynn is making career start No. 333, Spencer Schwellenbach will be making his fifth. He’s managed to spin four scoreless firsts so far, but the sample size is pretty limited and the Cardinals have been a force in that frame lately.

Behind red-hot Alec Burleson, St. Louis scored eight first-inning runs in its weekend sweep of the Giants. After opening the month ranked 24th in the majors in runs per first (0.38), the Cardinals are all the way up to 13th (0.51), a massive leap that could mean trouble for the Braves rookie.

Consider some early runs at Busch if you’re making a bet online with this game.


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2. Mariners vs Rays: Taj at the Trop

This is a series with plenty of intrigue. The Mariners come to town losers of four of their last five and feeling the heat in the AL West from the surging Texas Rangers. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, is inching back toward .500 and in need of a statement if it’s going to remain a wild card factor in the second half.

The Rays start things off with Taj Bradley, who is showing signs of finding his form. A highly touted guy when he came up last year, Bradley’s young career has seen its ups and downs, but he’s been dominant of late. The 23-year-old has let up three earned runs while striking out 21 in 18 innings over his last three starts.

Bradley’s dominance has been notable right out of the gate in many of his starts. He’s fanned 14 batters while walking just one in the first inning, giving up a run in just two of his eight starts. Bradley has been a better pitcher at home in his career and his strong strikeout game should play well against a Seattle lineup that whiffs more than any other.

Speaking of whiffs, we whiffed on a Bryan Woo pick last week, one of the few mistakes we made. His outstanding run in May and early June was interrupted by a forearm issue and then an uneven return to action at Cleveland last week, where he allowed three runs – including one in the first we didn’t anticipate – in four frames.

With that return outing under his belt and seemingly no further physical issues, we like Woo to look more like he did when opening 3-0 with a 1.07 ERA. Opponents have a .357 OPS in the first inning against Woo, even after the Guardians rallied for a run against him last week.

Tampa Bay is 26th in the majors in runs per first inning at home (0.36). Woo should hit the ground running this time.




Question Of The Day

Are there any other games that we should focus on at the sportsbook?

The Red Sox have played somewhat poorly at home while doing some great things on the road. At some point that will level off and they’ll have a big run at Fenway. An opener against Toronto – whom they just swept at Rogers Centre – with Tanner Houck on the mound seems like a great place to start.
There are some great vibes around this Boston team and they’ll roll tonight.


Odds and information are accurate at the time of writing. Please check with official sources for the latest updates before placing any bets.

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