NRFI Bets to Target on Wednesday 5/29/24

Kenyatta Storin
Kenyatta Storin@KenyattaStorin
NRFI Bets to Target on Wednesday 5/29/24

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

Toronto Blue Jays at Chicago White Sox

Over 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-106)

Cooler temperatures around 60 degrees typically aren't ideal for hitting, and neither of these offenses have performed well in the first inning, which is likely why the odds aren't shorter for a YRFI. But I like the potential value we could be getting in what's otherwise an appealing matchup to target due to questionable starting pitchers on both sides.

The Chicago White Sox will have right-hander Chris Flexen in their corner, and Flexen's 2023 struggles have carried over into 2024. This year, he's posted a 4.80 xFIP, 17.1% strikeout rate, and 34.6% ground-ball rate while coughing up 1.47 HR/9. Although he's allowed a YRFI in just one of his nine traditional starts this season, these shaky numbers suggest his early success is unsustainable.

The Toronto Blue Jays have endured a disappointing campaign, and that includes having the worst YRFI rate this season (14.8%). That certainly doesn't inspire confidence, but they haven't been a terrible offense overall, and some of their slow-starting bats could be starting to turn things around.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. inexplicably has a .121 ISO and just 5 home runs this year, yet if you looked at his Baseball Savant page you would never know it. A dip in fly-ball rate (27.4%) has been the main culprit, but anyone touting a 100th percentile hard-hit rate and who is 99th percentile in both average and maximum exit velocity can't be far off from significantly bumping up his power numbers. In fact, Guerrero has this game's shortest odds to hit a home run (+310).

Toronto starter Alek Manoah has roughly average numbers through four starts with a 4.30 xFIP, 23.7% strikeout rate, and 8.2% walk rate. However, he's split between good and bad starts and was most recently knocked around by the Detroit Tigers. While it remains to be seen which version of Manoah ultimately emerges over the long haul, it's worth noting he's coming off a disastrous 2023 season where he finished with a 5.87 ERA and 1.74 WHIP over 19 starts.

All five home runs Manoah has allowed have come off left-handed bats, so it isn't surprising that usual number-three hitter Gavin Sheets (.176 ISO) has Chicago's best odds to hit a home run (+470). Like the Blue Jays, the White Sox have a poor YRFI rate (17.9%), but this is more a bet on the bad version of Manoah showing up than anything else.

New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels

Over 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-102)

Both of these teams scored in the first inning on Tuesday, and we're hoping for a similar result tonight. The New York Yankees are once again the headliner here, and getting near even odds for a YRFI is especially appealing when we see who they're facing on the mound.

That would be left-hander Tyler Anderson, a rather obvious regression candidate. Anderson enters the day with a 2.52 ERA, but behind it lies poor marks in xFIP (4.85), SIERA (4.86), and xERA (4.62). He isn't getting punchouts (17.1% K rate) or grounders (35.4% GB rate), and even his walk rate is mediocre at best (8.9%).

So how can we explain his stellar results? Among qualified starters, Anderson has the 2nd-lowest BABIP (.209), 7th-highest strand rate (84.5%), and 14th-lowest HR/FB rate (7.8%). The southpaw has basically hit the luck jackpot, and the BABIP in particular should see a massive course correction. Over his career, the lefty has averaged a .284 BABIP, 72.2% strand rate, and 11.4% HR/FB rate -- all numbers that align closely with the 2024 league average.

The Yankees are a perfect team to pave a path for Anderson's regression to the mean. The Bronx Bombers are up to a 56.0% YRFI rate over their last 25 games and are at 39.3% overall (second-best in MLB).

Similar to yesterday, Aaron Judge has the slate's shortest odds to hit a home run (+215) with Juan Soto (+280 to hit a home run) and Giancarlo Stanton (+300 to hit a home run) also showing strong odds. Soto's odds are especially telling given that this is a lefty-lefty matchup.

Unfortunately, the Los Angeles Angels' bats are less likely to be a factor in a difficult spot against right-hander Luis Gil -- but there are a few holes in his profile to give us hope.

While regression shouldn't be nearly as dramatic for Gil's 2.11 ERA, he does have a 3.55 xFIP and 3.62 SIERA, and much like Anderson, he's benefited from fortunate marks in BABIP (.203), strand rate (81.4%), and HR/FB rate (5.8%).

Admittedly, his elite 31.7% strikeout rate could lead to a swift end to the first inning, but Gil does issue too many free passes (13.1%), and his 43.3% fly-ball rate ought to lead to more dingers than the 0.49 HR/9 he's allowed so far.

Although the Angels don't have the most prolific offense, they've managed to be about an average team in YRFI rate (27.8%) and have logged a YRFI in 4 of their last 10 games.

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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.