NRFI Bets to Target on Friday 4/26/24

Kenyatta Storin
Kenyatta Storin@KenyattaStorin
NRFI Bets to Target on Friday 4/26/24

The MLB season is an annual marathon that gives us months of daily betting markets to consider.

While traditional player props like home runs and strikeouts remain popular options, one market that's gained steam is betting whether or not no runs will be scored in the first inning -- aka a No Run First Inning (NRFI) bet.

On FanDuel Sportsbook's MLB odds, we can find NRFI odds listed as 1st Inning Over/Under 0.5 Runs odds under each MLB game.

Where can we find value in this unique prop market today?

Please note: lines and projections are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published.

Best NRFI Prop Bets

St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets

Under 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-128)

At first glance, starters Jose Butto and Miles Mikolas probably don't jump out for a NRFI, but a pair of struggling offenses should aid them in getting there. Temperatures will be in the low 50s at an already pitcher-friendly Citi Field, leaving this game with just a 7.5-run over/under.

Butto is three starts into this campaign, and he's allowed just three earned runs over 16 1/3 innings, two of which came in his last start against a frightening Los Angeles Dodgers lineup.

Most notably, the right-hander boasts an elite 31.8% strikeout rate thus far. However, walks remain an issue (13.6% rate), and his K rate is notably higher than what we saw over 42 innings last season (21.2%), so it remains to be seen whether the punchouts stick. An 85th percentile whiff rate this year, per Baseball Savant, is a promising sign, though.

Mikolas isn't known as a high-strikeout guy, but he doesn't walk many guys (6.0%) and has a respectable 4.05 xFIP. Despite getting roughed up in three of five starts, matchups could be partially to blame, as those poor outings have come against the Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Milwaukee Brewers, three offenses that are off to strong starts this year.

This brings us to the lineups in this matchup. The St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets have been two of the worst first-inning offenses in 2024. The Cardinals have scored in the first inning at a 20.0% rate (20th in MLB) while the Mets are at 16.7% (T-25th).

The top half of the Mets lineup has been particularly short on power in the opening inning with a league-worst 0.46 ISO and 17.7% FanGraphs hard-hit rate. That should give us a bit more confidence in Mikolas getting through the first inning unscathed despite his lack of strikeouts.

Chicago Cubs at Boston Red Sox

Under 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-150)

While we aren't getting as much value for this NRFI, we have several factors working in our favor. First pitch at Fenway Park will be close to 50 degrees, and both starting pitchers have been fantastic this season.

Right-hander Kutter Crawford will take the mound for the Boston Red Sox, and he's put up a 2.60 xERA and 27.3% strikeout rate over five starts, which includes going a perfect 5-for-5 in NRFIs. He's actually amassed most of those strikeouts versus lefty batters (33.9% K rate) thus far, which lines up well for him against a Chicago Cubs team that features multiple lefties atop the order.

While Crawford has been a bit lucky with a .235 BABIP and owns a high walk rate (10.0%), the positives definitely outweigh the negatives in 2024.

Chicago will roll out southpaw Shota Imanaga, who also hasn't allowed a run in the first inning yet. Imanga has posted a 3.35 xERA, 25.6% strikeout rate, and 2.4% walk rate through four starts. He's also benefited from an unsustainable BABIP (.224), but once again, it's hard to argue with the underlying numbers.

Although Boston's hitters have performed well in the first inning, a same-handed matchup against Rafael Devers and Jarren Duran should help Imanaga nullify two of the first four batters he's likely to see tonight. Tyler O'Neill could be his biggest obstacle, but O'Neill just came off the injured list this week and is striking out 24.3% of the time this season.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.