NRFI Bets to Target on Thursday 5/23/24

Kenyatta Storin
Kenyatta Storin@KenyattaStorin
NRFI Bets to Target on Thursday 5/23/24

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 Cincinnati Reds

Over 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-118)

For the third day in a row, we're seeing this San Diego Padres-Cincinnati Reds matchup get a hefty 9.5-run over/under, yet the odds for a YRFI don't reflect the high total. Both teams scored in the first inning yesterday, and it's possible we see a similar result today with pitchers Matt Waldron and Frankie Montas taking the mound.

Walrdon probably deserves better than his 5.00 ERA, but he still has a rather average 4.15 xFIP, 22.6% strikeout rate, and 8.5% over nine starts. He's struggled mightily in the first inning, securing a NRFI in just three of those outings.

The main issue for the right-hander is his trouble with left-handed batters. In that split, his xFIP jumps to 4.95 while both his strikeout rate (19.8%) and walk rate (11.5%) go in the wrong direction. Waldron doesn't induce a ton of grounders, either, and four of his six home runs allowed have come off lefties.

Well, it just so happens these Reds can go heavy with lefties, and it's possible we see just one right-handed batter among their first six batters. The electric Elly De La Cruz has +370 odds to his a home run and should be batting second as usual.

As for Montas, he comes in with pretty lackluster metrics across the board, having posted a 5.11 xFIP, 16.1% K rate, and 9.7% walk rate through eight starts, and he's also coughed up 1.54 HR/9.

While the right-hander has been worse versus lefties (5.24 xFIP), it's not like he's showing much in same-handed matchups (4.96 xFIP), either, so he's vulnerable against all comers in this San Diego lineup.

Similar to the past couple of days, Fernando Tatis Jr. has this matchup's shortest odds to hit a home run (+285) out of the two-hole. The Padres sit eighth in YRFI rate this year (32.7%).

Toronto Blue Jays at Detroit Tigers

Under 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-146)

The odds are leaning pretty strongly toward a NRFI here, but it could still be worth taking the plunge given that this game is tied for the lowest total of the day (7.5) and features a pair of quality pitchers in Kevin Gausman and Jack Flaherty.

While Flaherty has pitched to a solid 3.79 ERA, his underlying numbers have been downright elite. The Detroit Tigers' right-hander has recorded a 2.09 xFIP, 33.0% strikeout rate, and 3.7% walk rate. Potentially unlucky marks in BABIP (.336) and HR/FB rate (18.4%) could be the reason his results haven't matched up.

This looks like the right opponent for Flaherty to see some positive regression. The Toronto Blue Jays are last place in the AL East and have been one of the league's worst offenses in the first inning. They've converted a YRFI just 16.7% of the time (28th), and that mark sits at an even more egregious 8.0% over their last 25 games.

Gausman's endured an up-and-down campaign, one that isn't up to his usual standards, which includes a 22.6% K rate that's well off the 31.1% clip he produced in 2023. The good news is he's still showing a solid 3.46 xFIP and isn't issuing free passes (5.8% walk rate). Both a .369 BABIP and 63.8% strand rate should improve over the long haul.

Most of Gausman's troubles have come against lefties, as there's a significant difference in his strikeout rate in that split (16.9%) compared to same-handed matchups (27.1%).

Although that could be a problem against a Tigers lineup that projects to have lefties in three of the first four slots, it's telling that none of their batters have particularly good odds to hit a home run tonight. Spencer Torkelson, a righty, has the shortest odds to hit a home run (+600) among Tigers, and he's been hitting sixth or seventh lately.

The Tigers have been fairly good at scoring in the first inning this year, but they've dipped to a 24.0% YRFI rate over their last 25 games and have been blanked over their last 10 first innings.

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