NRFI Bets to Target on Monday 4/15/24

Kenyatta Storin
Kenyatta Storin@KenyattaStorin
NRFI Bets to Target on Monday 4/15/24

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

San Diego Padres at Milwaukee Brewers

Over 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-115)

Joe Musgrove has struggled in three of his four starts this season, and in this instance, we're hoping his shaky play continues on Monday night for a Yes Run First Inning (YRFI).

Musgrove was elite in the first inning and the first time through the order last season, but that simply hasn't been the case in 2024. The right-hander has allowed first-inning runs in two of his four outings while putting up a 17.4% strikeout rate and 13.0% walk rate. While this K rate improves when we expand to the first time through the order (25.0%), an 11.1% walk rate remains concerning, and his 4.59 xFIP is nothing to write home about.

Even if Musgrove turns things around tonight, his counterpart, Joe Ross, could push this YRFI through, too.

Due to a second Tommy John surgery, Ross entered this campaign having last pitched in an MLB game in 2021. While his first two starts in 2024 have gotten good results, his underlying metrics have been mediocre with a 4.37 xFIP, 22.7% strikeout rate, and 13.6% walk rate. Projection models on FanGraphs universally peg Ross as an average-to-below-average pitcher this season, with THE BAT being particularly pessimistic and projecting a 4.67 xFIP.

It also can't hurt that both of these offenses are off to strong starts. The San Diego Padres have scored in the first inning 38.9% of the time (fifth-best) while the Milwaukee Brewers have done so at a 35.7% clip (11th-best).

St. Louis Cardinals at Oakland Athletics

Under 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-140)

This matchup has the day's second-lowest over/under (7.5), featuring a combination of solid starting pitching, sluggish offenses, a pitcher-friendly ballpark (Oakland Coliseum), and cool temperatures (60 degrees).

Sonny Gray will make his second start for the St. Louis Cardinals, and if his first one was any indication, he should get the job done against these Oakland Athletics. The 34-year-old faced the Philadelphia Phillies last week and shut them down over five scoreless innings while recording five punchouts. Also, he'll be pitching in familiar surroundings, as Gray spent his first four MLB seasons with the A's.

Gray performed well in the opening frame last season, posting a 3.53 xFIP, 27.0% strikeout rate, and 6.6% walk rate over 32 first innings. Best of all, he didn't allow any home runs in that sample.

The right-hander could see multiple lefties at the top of Oakland's lineup tonight, but he handled lefty sticks well in 2023 with a 3.75 xFIP and 51.9% ground-ball rate. Regardless, the Athletics aren't exactly the most formidable lineup anyway. They've begun the season with the league's second-worst strikeout rate in the first inning (36.9%), and it's even higher versus right-handed pitching (40.4%).

Ross Stripling, another 34-year-old righty, will take the mound for the A's. Stripling has produced mixed results through three starts, but a 3.91 xFIP and 3.89 xERA suggest he's performed better than his 5.50 ERA. A .424 BABIP appears awfully unlucky for someone who's allowed a 90th percentile Statcast hard-hit rate (25.0%).

Stripling made just 11 starts last year, but he put up a 3.13 xFIP and 24.4% strikeout rate in the first inning, and he also maintained a 3.19 xFIP the first time through the order.

The Cardinals' bats have disappointed at the plate thus far, owning just the 23rd-best wRC+ (84) and 20th-best ISO (.136). That has included poor marks in the first frame, and they're right up there with Oakland in first-inning strikeout rate both overall (33.9%) and versus righties (37.7%). St. Louis has scored in the first inning just 12.5% of the time in 2024, tied for the league's second-worst clip.

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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.