NRFI Bets to Target on Friday 4/5/24

Kenyatta Storin
Kenyatta Storin@KenyattaStorin
NRFI Bets to Target on Friday 4/5/24

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

Baltimore Orioles at Pittsburgh Pirates

Under 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-130)

This Baltimore Orioles-Pittsburgh Pirates matchup comes in with one of Friday's lowest over/unders (7.5), and even with cool temperatures across the majority of games, this one could end up as the coldest at right around 40 degrees.

Grayson Rodriguez will get the ball for Baltimore, and he was fantastic in his first 2024 start, allowing just one earned run over six innings with nine punchouts versus the Los Angeles Angels.

Rodriguez pitched a scoreless first frame in that one, and he was quite successful in the opening inning last season, allowing no runs in 19 of 23 starts. Although he issued too many first inning walks in 2023 (11.8% rate), he was otherwise efficient with a 3.61 xFIP, 25.8% strikeout rate, and 55.2% ground-ball rate.

The biggest danger for the right-hander is that three of the first four projected Pittsburgh hitters will bat left-handed, as he was just an average pitcher versus lefties last year. That said, the cold forecast should keep the ball in the park, and despite the Pirates' strong start to the season, they've scored in the first inning once in seven games thus far.

Right-hander Jared Jones will be making just his second MLB start, which makes him somewhat of a wild card. But if his debut was any indication, he should hold up his end of the bargain.

Not only did the 22-year-old pitch a scoreless first inning, but he went on to rack up 10 Ks in 5 2/3 innings against the Miami Marlins. While he ultimately allowed three earned runs, it's safe to say it was a promising first outing.

Jones recorded a 24.2% strikeout rate and 16.3% swinging-strike rate in spring training, a good sign that he can maintain some of those punchouts going forward. Season-long projections on FanGraphs suggest we should temper expectations, but there's plenty to be excited about, too.

Seven of Jones' 10 strikeouts came against lefties, which is hopefully a trend that continues because four of the first five projected Orioles hitters bat left-handed.

San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants

Under 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-130)

Here's another game with a 7.5-run total, and while the wind will be blowing out in San Francisco, that's rarely impactful at Oracle Park, which tends to nullify windy conditions. It might not be quite as cold as our previous matchup, but we're still looking at temperatures in the mid-50s.

This will already be the second duel between starters Dylan Cease and Jordan Hicks, and we're hoping for more of the same, as neither one gave up a first-inning run the last time.

Although Cease's opening start was a mixed bag overall, allowing two earned runs over 4 2/3 innings, he did rack up six Ks. In 2023, he kept the opposing team off the board in the first inning more often than not (27 of 33 starts) while producing a 3.73 xFIP, 27.5% strikeout rate, and 5.3% walk rate.

The San Francisco Giants will likely have three lefty sticks in their first four lineup slots, and Cease wasn't as strong facing lefties last season. However, the Giants haven't been doing a ton of damage in the first inning so far, being held scoreless in six of seven games while showing a below-average 94 wRC+.

Hicks has been a reliever for the vast majority of his career, but he's getting a go in San Francisco's rotation this season. While that makes him more difficult to predict, his first start against these San Diego Padres went swimmingly, as the hard-throwing righty piled up six Ks over five scoreless innings.

Although it's hard to know how Hicks' numbers as a reliever will translate, he posted excellent metrics in 2023. Outside of a troublesome 11.2% walk rate, he compiled a 3.36 xFIP, 28.4% strikeout rate, and 58.3% ground-ball rate over 65.2 innings. He gave up just four dingers all year, too.

The Padres have potent hitters like Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado, but the good news is that Hicks will contend with just one lefty in the top half of the order (Jake Cronenworth). Hicks put up an elite 30.5% K rate versus right-handed batters last year.

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