NRFI Bets to Target on Friday 6/7/24

Skyler Carlin
Skyler Carlin@skyler_carlin

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

Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals

Under 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-132)

Chris Sale hasn't been the best pitcher early in games for the Atlanta Braves this season, but there is reason to believe his metrics in the opening frame will improve moving forward. Despite having a 6-5 NRFI record on the season, Sale's 6.68 first-inning FIP compared to his 3.11 first-inning xFIP suggests he's been a bit unlucky.

What has gotten Sale in trouble at times is his 8.3% walk rate in the first inning. The good news is Sale will take on the Washington Nationals, who have scored the fewest runs (14) in the first inning this year and have the eighth-lowest walk rate (7.2%) against southpaws.

Washington has also gone 10 consecutive games without scoring in the first inning. Even with Sale's woes to begin games, he still holds a solid 29.2% strikeout rate in the first inning across his 11 starts in 2024.

On the other hand, Jake Irvin has been a bright spot for the Nationals thus far. Irvin has gone three straight outings of not allowing a run in the first inning, improving his NRFI record to 9-3 through 12 starts.

While Irvin doesn't possess the strikeout upside that Sale does, he is in the 92nd percentile in walk rate (4.4%) and is allowing a minuscule .204 AVG to opposing teams in the first inning. Besides the Braves going three straight contests failing to score in the first inning, they have produced the 11th-fewest runs (20) at the beginning of games.

Both Sale and Irvin should expect to see at least two right-handed hitters early in Friday's showdown. Sale is posting a 2.53 xFIP, 1.04 WHIP, and 30.1% strikeout rate to righties while Irvin is permitting a .230 wOBA, 2.50 xFIP, and 0.73 WHIP against right-handed bats.

Boston Red Sox at Chicago White Sox

Under 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-128)

The Boston Red Sox came out firing in Thursday's 14-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox, scoring a run in the first inning -- and three runs in the first two innings. Following the explosive output from the Red Sox, we could see a low-scoring start to Friday's clash between Boston and Chicago.

Garrett Crochet has been one of the best pitchers in baseball and is holding a 12-1 NRFI record with eight consecutive starts of zero earned runs allowed in the first frame. Amidst being in the 98th percentile in xERA (2.19) and 95th percentile in strikeout rate (33.7%), Crochet is recording the highest strikeout rate (46.7%), the second-best WHIP (0.38), and the best xFIP (1.67) in the first inning.

Just to tip the scales even more in Crochet's favor, the Red Sox are registering the highest strikeout rate (28.3%) versus southpaws. Two of the first three players projected in Boston's projected lineup carry strikeout rates of 25.0% or higher against left-handed pitchers, giving Crochet a decent chance to strike out the side to begin the game.

Cooper Criswell isn't pitching deep into games for the Red Sox -- he's yet to pitch six-plus innings in any of his first nine starts -- but he's been holding his own early in contests. Among pitchers with at least eight starts, Criswell owns the ninth-best first-frame WHIP (0.67) while allowing zero homers and walks in the first inning this year.

The ability to prevent hard contact and free passes have aided Criswell in producing a 7-2 NRFI record up to this point. It also helps that the White Sox are tallying the eighth-lowest wOBA (.284), ninth-lowest wRC+ (82), and third-lowest ISO (.106) in the first inning to begin the campaign.

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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.