NRFI Bets to Target on Friday 5/10/24

Kenyatta Storin
Kenyatta Storin@KenyattaStorin
NRFI Bets to Target on Friday 5/10/24

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

Minnesota Twins at Toronto Blue Jays

Under 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-125)

We have a potential pitchers' duel on our hands between Joe Ryan and Yusei Kikuchi tonight, laying the groundwork for a NRFI. This is backed by this matchup showing a 7.5 over/under, tied for the day's lowest mark.

Kikuchi will look to silence the Minnesota Twins in the top of the first, and his 2024 profile suggests he has a great chance to do so. Over seven starts, the southpaw has recorded a 3.11 SIERA, 26.5% strikeout rate, and 5.6% walk rate, and he's failed to pitch a scoreless opening inning just once.

Best of all, after struggling with home runs his entire career, Kikuchi has given up just two so far. While a rather low 5.9% HR/FB rate is likely to regress, he's allowing fewer fly balls due to an increase in ground-ball rate (47.7%), so the dip in dingers isn't entirely a fluke. His 2.95 xERA falls in line with his 2.72 ERA, too.

Minnesota's lineup projects to be entirely made up of right-handed batters, but Kikuchi is no stranger to this, as 129 of the 162 batters he's faced have come from that side. That means the vast majority of his stellar metrics have come versus righty sticks.

Ryan has also enjoyed an excellent campaign, sporting a 2.92 SIERA, 28.4% K rate, and 3.7% walk rate.

Similar to Kikuchi, Ryan has experienced home-run issues before, but he hasn't been giving up a ton of loud contact this season, which has contributed to him giving up a more manageable 1.11 HR/9 despite a 45.8% fly-ball rate. He's 80th percentile in hard-hit rate, which has helped him to a pristine 2.45 xERA (91st percentile).

Facing a righty-heavy Toronto Blue Jays lineup should further aid him. Just one of the first six batters projects to be a lefty, and Ryan has seen his strikeout rate bump up to 30.3% in same-handed matchups this season. The Blue Jays have also underwhelmed in the first inning and are tied for 21st in YRFI rate (21.6%).

Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Angels

Over 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-108)

This matchup features a pair of starting pitchers who have failed to generate many punchouts, pushing us toward a possible YRFI opportunity.

Griffin Canning will take the mound for the Los Angeles Angels, and it's safe to say he's had a rough 2024 campaign. The right-hander has been lit up for a 6.69 ERA, and while both his xFIP (5.10) and xERA (5.06) are technically better, that's not saying much. The combination of a 16.8% strikeout rate and 45.1% fly-ball rate has contributed to Canning allowing 1.54 HR/9, and he's converted a NRFI in just 3 of 7 starts.

The Kansas City Royals' offense ranks 10th in YRFI rate (33.3%), and the trio of Bobby Witt Jr., Vinnie Pasquantino, and Salvador Perez have been particularly dangerous in the top half of the lineup.

Right-hander Alec Marsh missed the last couple of weeks on the injured list, which could be a positive for the Angels tonight. More importantly, while Marsh produced good results before the IL stint, his underlying metrics point to significant regression.

Over five outings, he's pitched to a 2.70 ERA but had worse marks in both xERA (4.70) and xFIP (4.42). His K rate is way down this year at 15.9%, and he's lucky to have given up just one home run despite a 36.3% ground-ball rate and underwhelming Statcast data.

Regression seems likely to come versus left-handed batters in particular, as Marsh comes in with a 4.87 xFIP and 14.1% strikeout rate in the split this year. Although the Angels aren't a very exciting lineup without Mike Trout, three of the first four batters should be lefties, and the lone righty, Taylor Ward, has shown solid pop (.190 ISO) this season.

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