NRFI Bets to Target on Friday 6/21/24

Kenyatta Storin
Kenyatta Storin@KenyattaStorin
NRFI Bets to Target on Friday 6/21/24

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

Boston Red Sox at Cincinnati Reds

Over 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-120)

Temperatures in the mid-to-high 90s combined with hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park should open the door for offense in Cincinnati tonight, and it's the Boston Red Sox side specifically that should intrigue us for a YRFI bid.

That's because Boston will be facing left-hander Andrew Abbott, a pitcher who's logged a NRFI in just 57.1% of his 14 starts and has looked like a prime regression candidate all season.

While Abbott owns a 3.42 ERA, he's managed just a 4.74 xFIP, 4.65 SIERA, and 18.3% strikeout rate, and his ERA has been creeping upward lately after posting a 5.32 mark over his last four starts.

The southpaw does sit 90th percentile in hard-hit rate allowed, likely explaining some of his success, but that hasn't stopped him from giving up 1.48 HR/9 due to a mere 33.8% ground-ball rate.

If we dig further into his splits, we find that 12 of the 13 dingers he's allowed have come off right-handed batters. Boston should have three righties occupying the first five lineup slots, with Tyler O'Neill being the most notable name. O'Neill boasts a .285 ISO that's backed up by a 97th percentile barrel rate, and he has the game's shortest odds to hit a home run (+285).

Given Abbott's modest strikeout ability, we also shouldn't write off Rafael Devers in the lefty-lefty spot, and he's not far behind O'Neill at +330 to hit a home run. Overall, the Red Sox are tied for eighth in YRFI rate (30.7%).

At first glance, there's a less compelling case for the Cincinnati Reds to get on the board early versus Kutter Crawford (3.75 SIERA; 24.6% K rate), but the home runs have begun to pile up for Crawford, as he's allowed at least one in eight of his last nine starts, including coughing up a pair in each of his last two outings.

Considering the right-hander's modest 35.7% ground-ball rate, we could see these home run woes continue, and tonight's weather and venue will make him more susceptible to dingers. Cincinnati's bats have performed well in the first inning lately, too, converting a YRFI 40.0% of the time over their last 25 games.

Kansas City Royals at Texas Rangers

Under 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-118)

This matchup is one of a handful of games sitting at a slate-low 7.5 over/under, and while the Texas Rangers aren't a lineup we generally want to mess with for a NRFI bet, these are solid odds to take a shot on a matchup that could be short on scoring.

But we'll begin with the Kansas City Royals, who have a poor 16.0% YRFI over their last 25 games, giving us confidence that Nathan Eovaldi can blank them in the opening frame.

Although Eovaldi wasn't at his best in his most recent start, his overall 2024 body of work includes a 3.52 xFIP, 26.0% strikeout rate, and 50.0% ground-ball rate. One of the few blemishes on his resume is a 9.8% walk rate, but Kansas City has recorded the second-worst walk rate in the first inning this year (4.9%). The veteran righty has pitched a scoreless opening inning in 8 of his 11 starts.

In the bottom half of the inning, right-hander Brady Singer will be tasked with silencing the Rangers. Like Eovaldi, Singer has also enjoyed a strong campaign, producing a 3.54 xFIP, 23.2% strikeout rate, 7.0% walk rate, and 50.5% ground-ball rate. What's even more encouraging is that he's notched a NRFI in 12 of 14 starts.

The biggest worry for Singer is that 9 of the 11 home runs he's allowed have come off lefties, and Texas just so happens to have an especially dangerous lefty in Corey Seager. The good news is that Singer has still maintained a 52.6% ground-ball rate in that split, so it's possible his home run rate dips over the long haul.

Additionally, while the Rangers have one of the league's better YRFI rates (32.4%), they've actually been closer to an average first-inning offense (99 wRC+). Perhaps most surprisingly, they possess the sixth-worst ISO (.117) in the opening frame.

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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.