NRFI Bets to Target on Thursday 6/20/24

Kenyatta Storin
Kenyatta Storin@KenyattaStorin
NRFI Bets to Target on Thursday 6/20/24

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

Kansas City Royals at Oakland Athletics

Under 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-128)

This afternoon's matchup between the Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics is tied for the lowest over/under of the day (7.5) and looks like a spot to target for a NRFI.

A's starter Mitch Spence is arguably the weak link of this wager -- he's logged an underwhelming 18.8% strikeout rate this year -- but there's still plenty of room for optimism. Across 57 innings between the rotation and bullpen, Spence has put up a solid 3.84 xFIP and 3.73 xERA while posting strong marks in walk rate (6.1%) and ground-ball rate (50.0%).

The rookie could also get some assistance from a Royals offense that's cooled off lately, too. Kansas City has scored in the first inning just 16.0% of the time over their last 25 games and has been blanked across their last 10. We still have to worry about the always dangerous Bobby Witt Jr., but if Spence can navigate around him, he ought to get through the opening frame unscathed.

Veteran starter Seth Lugo will get the nod for the Royals, and he's pretty easy to get behind, as he's converted a NRFI in 13 of his 15 starts this season (86.7%). Although Lugo's sparkling 2.40 ERA is likely due for a course correction when compared to his 3.91 xFIP, that's unlikely to happen against an Oakland team that's 27th in YRFI rate (18.4%). The A's have produced the second-worst wOBA (.243) and fifth-worst ISO (.112) in the first inning this year.

Milwaukee Brewers at San Diego Padres

Over 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-113)

Between a struggling rookie pitcher on one side and a starter who could be regressing on the other, we have a potential YRFI cooking in San Diego tonight.

That rookie is right-hander Adam Mazur for the San Diego Padres, and early returns suggest he's a ways off from being able to hang in the big leagues. Through three starts, Mazur has been lit up for a 7.82 ERA that closely mirrors a 7.28 SIERA, and he's recorded poor marks in both strikeout rate (13.1%) and walk rate (21.3%). It's not like the 23-year-old was crushing it in Triple-A before his call-up, either, posting a lackluster 4.77 xFIP.

While three starts is admittedly a small sample to dig into splits, it still feels noteworthy that Mazur has had absolutely no answer versus left-handed batters. Against 32 lefties faced, he's registered a single punchout and a whopping 10 walks, which comes to a 3.1% K rate and 31.3% BB rate.

The Milwaukee Brewers project to have two lefties in the top third of the order (Brice Turang and Christian Yelich), so we should like their chances of getting on the board early. Yelich may no longer possess the power he demonstrated in his peak years, but he's still rocking a .394 wOBA and .184 ISO this season.

Righty Bryse Wilson will toe the rubber for Milwaukee, and while he's gotten solid results as a starter and bulk reliever this year, he's struggled in three of his last four appearances. We probably shouldn't be surprised by the recent issues, as Wilson's 3.84 ERA doesn't look particularly sustainable when compared to his 4.68 xFIP and 4.64 xERA.

Frankly, it's difficult to find any area where the right-hander excels. He has mediocre marks in all of strikeout rate (18.8%), walk rate (9.0%), and ground-ball rate (41.7%). Wilson's Baseball Savant page doesn't provide many positives, either, with his 44.9% hard-hit rate sitting in the 13th percentile.

The Padres have been a strong first-inning offense this year, boasting the seventh-best YRFI rate (30.8%). Wilson's underlying metrics suggest he's vulnerable against both lefties and righties, but he's specifically had trouble with the former (4.99 xFIP versus lefties), and San Diego should deploy left-handed batters in three of the first four slots. Of course, it can't hurt that the lone righty amongst those four is Fernando Tatis Jr., who's 95th percentile or better in xwOBA, xBA, and xSLG in 2024.

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