NRFI Bets to Target on Thursday 6/13/24

Skyler Carlin
Skyler Carlin@skyler_carlin
NRFI Bets to Target on Thursday 6/13/24

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

Chicago Cubs at Tampa Bay Rays

Under 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-138)

Thursday's showdown between the Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Rays carries the second-lowest projected run total on the slate at 7.5 -- with the under sitting at -118 odds. This game is one of my favorites to target for a SGP due to Justin Steele and Taj Bradley being on the bump.

Steele has given up a combined two earned runs in his last three starts while producing the seventh-best xFIP (2.13) in the first inning among pitchers with five-plus starts. Along with his positive xFIP, Steele is notching a notable 0.75 WHIP and 40.0% strikeout rate in the opening frame of games, which has aided him in recording a 7-1 NRFI record.

Besides having the fourth-highest strikeout rate (25.4%) versus southpaws this year, Tampa Bay has the worst wOBA (.275), second-worst wRC+ (82), third-worst ISO (.113), and fourth-highest strikeout rate in the last 30 days. In the first inning of contests, the Rays have the 9th-worst wOBA (.285), 11th-worst wRC+ (89), and 8th-worst ISO (.133).

FanDuel Research's Annie Nader listed Steele's over 5.5 strikeouts as one of her favorite strikeout props on Thursday.

Bradley has also been lights out in the first inning despite having a 4-2 NRFI record through six starts. The hard-throwing righty for the Rays boasts the second-best xFIP (1.63) among pitchers with five-plus starts, and he's sporting a 1.00 WHIP and 45.8% strikeout rate.

Across six starts in 2024, Bradley is ranked in the 88th percentile in strikeout rate (29.8%) while the Cubs are striking out at the sixth-highest rate (24.2%) against right-handed pitching. Given Bradley's strikeout upside, it's worth mentioning that Chicago also has the seventh-highest strikeout rate (26.8%) in the first inning.

Philadelphia Phillies at Boston Red Sox

Under 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-120)

The Philadelphia Phillies aren't going to score a run in the first inning the rest of the year, right? The Phillies have plated at least one run in the opening frame in three straight games -- including each of the first two matchups versus the Boston Red Sox.

Even with Philly getting on the scoreboard early in recent outings, I'm expecting no runs to be scored in the first inning of Thursday's bout. Aaron Nola and Tanner Houck are the projected starters for the series finale between the Phillies and Red Sox, putting together a combined 21-5 NRFI record in 2024.

Nola is in the 74th percentile in xERA (3.29) and is tied with Houck for the 12th-best WHIP (0.69) in the opening inning. To add on to that, Nola is permitting just a .200 wOBA and .181 OBP to begin games.

Two of the first three projected hitters for the Red Sox (Jarren Duran, David Hamilton, and Tyler O'Neill) carry a strikeout rate of 26.1% or higher against right-handed pitching. Even though Nola is registering the lowest strikeout rate (23.1%) of his career since his rookie year in 2015, he resides in the 86th percentile in chase rate (32.5%), and Boston has the 11th-highest swing rate on pitches outside of the zone (32.0%).

Houck has arguably been better in the first inning through his first 13 starts, producing the 11th-best xFIP (2.34), 10th-best walk rate (2.0%), and 14th-best wOBA allowed (.181). What has helped Houck avoid giving up runs early is the fact he's logging a 61.8% groundball rate and just a 17.6% flyball rate in the first inning.

Getting three outs to begin the game against the Phillies has been easier said than done as they own the fourth-best wOBA (.370), fifth-best wRC+ (141), and third-best ISO (.210) in the opening inning. At the same time, Houck's ability to keep the ball on the ground should help mitigate Philly's tendency to induce hard contact early in contests.

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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.