NRFI Bets to Target on Wednesday 6/5/24

Kenyatta Storin
Kenyatta Storin@KenyattaStorin
NRFI Bets to Target on Wednesday 6/5/24

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

Tampa Bay Rays at Miami Marlins

Under 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-132)

In a bit of a surprise, it was the lowly Miami Marlins offense that sank a NRFI bid against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday, but with this matchup once again showing a slate-low 7.5 over/under, we're going to give this another go. We're unlikely to see many, if any, dingers in this contest, too, as the shortest odds to hit a home run are priced at +480, which is the worst of any game on Wednesday.

Following an injury that delayed his season debut, left-hander Braxton Garrett is making his fifth 2024 start for Miami. After getting knocked around in his first two outings, Garrett has righted the ship over his last two, allowing just one earned run over his last 14 innings. Overall, he comes into the day with an encouraging 3.14 SIERA and 3.48 xERA.

Similar to the last couple of days, the Rays will counter the southpaw with a righty-heavy lineup, but Braxton has strong splits against that handedness thus far. He's faced 73 righties this year, and while his 20.5% strikeout rate in the split isn't exciting, he otherwise boasts a 3.21 xFIP, 1.4% walk rate, and 59.3% ground-ball rate.

Zach Eflin will take the mound for the Rays, and he's been excellent in the first inning, converting a NRFI in 8 of 10 starts. Eflin has seen his punchouts drop rather steeply this year (17.9% K rate), but he has the league's lowest walk rate (1.6%) among pitchers with at least 50 innings, which has helped him maintain a solid 3.87 SIERA and 3.56 xERA.

The right-hander isn't getting as many grounders this year, which has contributed to a rise in dingers (1.22 HR/9). However, as noted at the top, we're not expecting the long ball to be a factor tonight. Even with the Marlins' bats coming through with first-inning runs yesterday, they still sit 22nd in YRFI rate (23.0%).

Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees

Over 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-120)

In stark contrast to the previous matchup, we're seeing some of the slate's best home run odds in this game, but that tends to happen when the star-studded New York Yankees are involved. Aaron Judge has a slate-best +215 to hit a home run, followed by Juan Soto (+265), and Giancarlo Stanton (+340). Despite this, we're still getting reasonable odds for a YRFI, making this an ideal spot to target.

The Bronx Bombers will face Chris Paddack, a right-hander who's had mixed results in 2024. Paddack has a mediocre 4.32 xERA through 11 starts, and the combination of being 34th percentile or worse in all of ground-ball rate, hard-hit rate, and barrel rate has contributed to him coughing up 1.62 HR/9 innings. It's easy to see why Judge and friends have such short home run odds.

But it's Soto in particular who could come through for us. While Paddack has allowed dingers to both righties and lefties, the latter split displays a concerning 4.75 xFIP, 15.9% strikeout rate, and 46.7% fly-ball rate. Soto has absurd Statcast metrics across the board and ranks second overall in barrels per plate appearance behind only Judge.

On top of all this, the Yankees have been a wrecking ball in the first inning lately, logging a 52.0% YRFI rate over their last 25 games.

While we should clearly have confidence in New York's bats, we shouldn't write off the Minnesota Twins in the top half of the inning, either.

The Twins will take on lefty Carlos Rodon, who's having a bounce-back campaign but hardly a dominant one. Despite a 3.09 ERA over 12 outings, Rodon has a less exciting 4.32 xERA, and his metrics against right-handed batters are especially worrisome. When facing righties, the southpaw has put up a 4.72 xFIP, 21.1% strikeout rate, and 30.6% ground-ball rate while allowing 1.47 HR/9.

Minnesota should have an entire lineup of righties tonight, so they could absolutely give Rodon fits tonight. Rodon has been mediocre in the first inning (66.7% NRFI rate), too, which includes allowing three first-inning solo shots.

Detroit Tigers at Texas Rangers

Over 1st Inning 0.5 Runs (-122)

The Texas Rangers rank ninth in YRFI rate (31.2%), and we should like their chances of getting on the board early against Kenta Maeda.

Maeda's had few bright spots this year, coming in with an ugly 6.25 ERA while getting blasted for 2.23 HR/9. Perhaps some positive regression will come his way, but it's not like a 4.80 xFIP or 4.84 xERA inspires a lot of confidence. The combination of a low strikeout rate (17.1%) paired with a high fly-ball rate (48.1%) suggests we should continue to see plenty of balls leaving the park, too.

Unsurprisingly, Maeda's issues don't exclude the first inning, where he's logged just a 55.6% NRFI rate. Either Corey Seager (+320 to hit a home run) or Adolis Garcia (+330 to hit a home run) could single-handedly cash the YRFI.

On paper, the Detroit Tigers' lineup is the weak link here, but they're actually 11th in YRFI rate (29.5%), so they could potentially show up versus Jose Urena.

Urena has a 3.74 ERA across 45 2/3 innings between the Texas bullpen and rotation in 2024, but after years of poor results dating back to 2019, it's hard to see that ERA lasting for long. That's especially the case as a starter, as he's produced a 4.34 xFIP and 13.4% strikeout rate in that role and most recently lasted just 2 2/3 innings against the Marlins.

Riley Greene typically bats second and has been one of the Tigers' best hitters this season. Given that Greene will have the platoon advantage and is 91st percentile in barrel rate and 85th percentile in xSLG, he's a strong candidate to take advantage of Urena's low strikeout rate.

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