NRFI Bets to Target on Tuesday 5/21/24

Kenyatta Storin
Kenyatta Storin@KenyattaStorin
NRFI Bets to Target on Tuesday 5/21/24

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 (-120)

This game has one of the slate's higher over/unders (9.5), so the fact we aren't seeing much shorter odds for a YRFI makes this a possible value spot. We should have hitter-friendly conditions for the San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds, as temperatures are expected to be in the high 80s, and Great American Ball Park strongly favors batters to begin with.

Left-hander Andrew Abbott will get the ball for Cincinnati, and despite good results this season, he looks like someone we can attack. Underneath his 3.06 ERA lies a 4.49 xFIP and 4.31 SIERA, and he's unlikely to sustain a .245 BABIP and 88.1% strand rate. All of it suggests he's due for a course correction.

One area where Abbott has struggled is giving up dingers (1.62 HR/9), which tends to happen when you aren't generating strikeouts (20.1% K rate) or grounders (34.2% GB rate). This has partially contributed to him logging a NRFI in just five of nine starts.

All nine home runs have come off right-handed bats, so we're hoping for some fireworks from Fernando Tatis Jr. (+240 odds to hit a home run) or Manny Machado (+280 odds to hit a home run).

Despite a slow start to the year, Machado is still showing some promising Statcast metrics, including a 49.6% hard-hit rate (87th percentile), and he logged a pair of doubles on Monday. He's been hitting fifth the past four games, so a move back to the cleanup spot would be ideal to increase his chances of batting in the first inning.

Overall, San Diego has performed well in the first inning and owns the eighth-best YRFI rate (32.0%).

Right-hander Joe Musgrove has rather similar peripheral numbers to Abbott, but in his case, the results have been decidedly not in his favor. Musgrove enters the game with an ugly 6.37 ERA that's practically identical to his 6.34 xERA. However, among pitchers with at least 40 innings, he has the 2nd-highest 22.7% HR/FB rate and 11th-highest .342 BABIP, so he ought to see positive regression eventually. A 4.29 xFIP points to the same conclusion.

Still, Musgrove suffers from the same lack of punchouts (20.1%) and ground balls (39.5%), so while he might not keep allowing an absurd 2.20 HR/9, his home run woes aren't entirely a fluke. He's also coming off a brief stint on the IL, so it's fair to wonder what kind of form he'll be in.

The 31-year-old hasn't been at his best in the opening inning, either, converting a NRFI in just three of his eight outings. Cincinnati hasn't been a great first-inning offense this year, but they've posted a respectable 28.0% YRFI rate over the last 25 games, likely coinciding with Elly De La Cruz being moved up to the two-hole since late April.

Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals

Over 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-118)

Kansas City has an ideal hitting environment, as well. Winds are blowing out to right field at 10-15 mph, and Kauffman Stadium ranks third in Baseball Savant's park factors leaderboard. This matchup is showing a solid 9.0 over/under and has been as high as 9.5 this morning.

Alec Marsh will start for the Kansas City Royals, and he comes in with a solid 3.96 xFIP over seven 2024 starts. But similar to the pitchers in the previous matchup, he's another low-strikeout (20.7%), low-grounder (37.1%) arm, yet he's allowed just three dingers (0.73 HR/9) all season.

Marsh should start to see more balls land in the outfield seats, particularly considering he got roughed up by home runs last season. A windy evening looks like the ideal place for that regression to take place.

The Detroit Tigers have surprisingly been a solid offense in the first inning and are tied for 12th in YRFI rate (29.8%). Although Marsh hasn't allowed much damage to lefties yet this year, he's not getting as many Ks in the split (19.4% compared to 23.4% versus righties), and he was pummeled by lefties last year (5.56 xFIP). Three of Detroit's first four batters are projected to bat left-handed.

Tigers' righty Casey Mize breaks the mold and brings us someone who's inducing grounders this season (52.1%), but a middling 17.5% strikeout rate means he allows a whole lot of balls in play. He's been just okay in the first inning, managing a NRFI in five of eight starts.

The Royals are seventh in YRFI rate (34.7%) -- a number that's climbed to 44.0% over the last 25 games. For context, if they had that latter mark for the entire season, they would be tied with the mighty Los Angeles Dodgers for the league lead.

While Mize's lack of fly balls allowed reduces the chance of a dinger, Bobby Witt Jr. and Salvador Perez have been crushing it this year, with both cracking the top 10 in barrels per plate appearance.

Dinger Tuesday is back! Place a pre-live, straight "To Hit a Home Run" wager on any MLB game happening May 21st. You’ll get Bonus Bets for each home run BOTH TEAMS hit in the game! See here for full terms and conditions. Learn about today’s other offers at FanDuel Sportsbook Promos.

Looking for more MLB betting opportunities? Check out all of the MLB odds at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Sign up for FanDuel Sportsbook and FanDuel Daily Fantasy today!

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.