NRFI Bets to Target on Wednesday 5/22/24

Kenyatta Storin
Kenyatta Storin@KenyattaStorin
NRFI Bets to Target on Wednesday 5/22/24

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 (-108)

These teams didn't come through with any first-inning runs on Tuesday, but we're once again seeing appealing YRFI odds despite this matchup having one of the slate's highest totals (9.5). Temperatures in the 80s and hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park should give a boost to batters tonight.

This season, Nick Martinez has shuttled between being a starter and multi-inning reliever for the Cincinnati Reds, but he's scheduled to make his fifth traditional start.

While his season-long numbers are decent, the same can't be said for his 2024 splits as a starter. He's produced just a 5.05 xFIP, 15.0% strikeout rate, and 23.1% ground-ball rate over his first four starts. Against lefties as a starter, Martinez's K rate has plummeted to just 9.6%, and both dingers he's allowed have also come in that split.

Three of the first four projected San Diego Padres hitters will bat left-handed, and the righty of that group, Fernando Tatis Jr., has +250 odds to hit a home run. San Diego is ninth in YRFI rate this season (31.4%).

Padres right-hander Michael King has solid underlying numbers this year but has struggled with free passes (11.0% walk rate) and dingers (1.82 HR/9). Although his rather high 19.0% HR/FB rate could point to positive regression for all those long balls, the problem could still persist due to his lack of grounders (40.1% rate).

King's strikeout rate dips to 22.1% when facing lefties, so switch-hitter Elly De La Cruz should have an easier time doing some first-inning damage. This season, De La Cruz has been a scary power/speed combo with 9 home runs and a league-high 30 stolen bases.

Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays

Under 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-130)

A quality pitching matchup between Brayan Bello and Ryan Pepiot at pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field has this game down at a 7.5 over/under, and this looks like a spot to consider for a NRFI.

Pepiot is coming off a short stint on the IL, but given that it was a leg contusion (after being hit by a line drive) rather than an arm issue, there should be less risk of any lingering problem. The right-hander has impressed in his first campaign with the Tampa Bay Rays, recording a 3.34 SIERA, 29.1% strikeout rate, and 7.8% walk rate over seven starts.

The concern with Pepiot is that he does allow a ton of fly balls (51.1%), opening the door for the occasional home run, and he's been scored upon in three of his seven first innings. However, he boasts that elite K rate against both righties and lefties, giving him a great chance of mowing down the top of the Boston Red Sox order and avoiding dangerous cleanup hitter Rafael Devers (+340 to hit a home run) in the first inning.

Bello is kind of the opposite of Pepiot, coming in with a modest 20.7% strikeout rate but also suppressing fly balls with a 49.5% ground-ball rate. While home runs have been an issue in spite of the grounders, it's hard to see his 25.0% HR/FB rate staying this high over the long haul. Overall, Bello has put together a 3.72 xFIP and has logged a NRFI in six of his seven starts.

The right-hander has worse marks in xFIP (4.41) and K rate (17.7%) when facing lefties this year, so Josh Lowe and Brandon Lowe could be thorns in his side, though it shouldn't be enough to deter us considering he still induces ground balls at a 50.0% clip in the split. Additionally, Brandon Lowe has struggled with injuries and hasn't been effective this year. Tampa Bay is in the middle of the pack in YRFI rate (28.0%).

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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.