NRFI Bets to Target on Monday 4/8/24

Kenyatta Storin
Kenyatta Storin@KenyattaStorin
NRFI Bets to Target on Monday 4/8/24

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

Seattle Mariners at Toronto Blue Jays

Under 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-120)

With a pair of capable pitchers taking on a pair of offenses that haven't quite gotten going yet this season, this looks like a good place to start for a NRFI.

Jose Berrios will take the mound for the Toronto Blue Jays, and while he hasn't produced dazzling numbers through two starts, he's managed a solid 3.80 xFIP. Although he gave up a leadoff solo shot on Opening Day, he held a strong Houston Astros scoreless in the first inning his last time out.

In 2023, Berrios didn't allow any first-inning runs in 26 of 32 starts while maintaining a 4.06 xFIP, 23.5% strikeout rate, and 6.8% walk rate.

His counterpart will be Luis Castillo for the Seattle Mariners. Although Castillo's 6.75 ERA suggests he's performed poorly, he's still sporting a 3.25 xFIP, 24.0% strikeout rate, and 6.0% walk rate over his two starts. For our purposes, he hasn't allowed a run in the opening frame yet, either.

Castillo kept the opposing team off the boast in 25 of 33 of his first innings last season. In that sample, he recorded a 4.04 xFIP, 24.1% strikeout rate, and 6.8% walk rate.

As previously noted, both offenses have stumbled out of the gate. Toronto enters the day with a 90 wRC+ (19th in MLB) while Seattle is at a 78 wRC+ (27th). Narrowing to the first inning, the Blue Jays have scored in just 10.0% of them (T-25th), and the Mariners are at 20.0% (T-17th).

Castillo is particularly suited to handle Toronto's righty-heavy top of the order, as he was far less susceptible to dingers in same-handed matchups with a 3.28 xFIP and 47.5% ground-ball rate last year.

Chicago Cubs at San Diego Padres

Under 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-128)

The Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres are combining for a 7.5-run over/under, which is tied for the lowest on today's slate.

Unlike our previous matchup, both the Cubs and Padres have performed well on offense to begin 2024 -- including the first inning -- so we're really looking to the pitching to carry us through.

Yu Darvish is pretty easy to buy into after producing a 3.62 xFIP, 26.7% strikeout rate, and 7.8% walk rate in first innings last season. He allowed runs in just 4 of 24 opening frames.

Darvish already has three starts under his belt and has posted a scoreless first inning in all three.

Javier Assad has made just one 2024 start, but it was a good one, as he allowed zero runs across six innings versus the Colorado Rockies with five Ks.

Assad split time as a long reliever and starter in 2023, so he made just 10 traditional starts. If we look at his first time through the order as a starter, he didn't get a ton of Ks (17.8%), but he did manage a 3.96 xFIP and 58.2% ground-ball rate.

The 26-year-old owns a pedestrian 20.3% strikeout rate over 153 career innings, which does add risk against a potent San Diego lineup. But four of the first five batters should be righties, and Assad induced a 50.6% ground-ball rate in that split last year, reducing the change of a dinger.

Petco Park should also aid Darvish and Assad as one of the most pitcher-friendly parks, per Baseball Savant, and temperatures will be at 60 degrees.

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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.