The MLB slate on Wednesday, June 21 offers 15 games to bet on run lines, over/unders and MLB player props. MLB bettors looking for some other bets to place should consider an increasingly popular MLB bet: No Run First Inning (NRFI) and Yes Run First Inning (YRFI). This article analyzes today’s NRFI and YRFI betting odds and recommends the best NRFI bets and the best YRFI bets to make on MLB games on 6/21/2023.
6/21 NRFI/YRFI Best Bets
Here are the best NRFI and YRFI bets to place on Wednesday, June 21, 2023.
Boston Red Sox vs Minnesota Twins NRFI (-115 at FanDuel)
Starting pitchers: RHP Garrett Whitlock (4-2, 4.38 ERA) vs. RHP Sonny Gray (4-1, 2.37 ERA)
Getting -115 odds on a NRFI bet in a game with one of the best pitchers in baseball on the mound is a very good value.
The other starter might not inspire as much confidence, but there is plenty of good reason to trust him in this matchup.
The Twins’ Sonny Gray has been one of the best pitchers in the majors this season and is a contender for the AL Cy Young award. In his dominant season, he has been especially dominant in the first inning. Gray has allowed just 1 run in the first inning in his 14 starts this season. He has a 0.71 WHIP in those 14 first innings and has held opposing batters to just a .106 average.
While the Red Sox are 6th in the league in total offense, they are just 21st in the first inning. When Gray faced them on April 18, he pitched five innings of 1-run ball and struck out seven batters. The Red Sox are fully capable of scoring runs on any pitcher eventually, but I trust Gray to at least start off well in this game.
Red Sox starter Garrett Whitlock had a rough start to the season with a 6.19 ERA in his first three starts before landing on the IL with an elbow injury. Since returning, he is 3-0 with a 3.13 ERA in four starts (23 innings). He has pitched five scoreless first innings in his seven starts this season, including his last three in a row.
The Twins are below average offensively (19th in runs and bottom 10 in average and OPS), and they are just 18th in runs in the first inning. I have plenty of confidence in Gray and enough confidence in Whitlock to like the -115 odds on an NRFI in this matchup.
Texas Rangers vs. Chicago White Sox NRFI (-102 at FanDuel)
Starting pitchers: LHP Martín Pérez (6-3, 4.54 ERA) vs. RHP Michael Kopech (3-5, 3.92 ERA)
It’s always nice to get an NRFI at close to even money, and this game is no exception. The key to this NRFI pick will be the matchup between the Rangers’ lineup and White Sox starter Michael Kopech.
Kopech had a terrible start to the 2023 season with a 7.01 ERA and 1.71 WHIP in April, but he found his groove and has been excellent since then. Over his last nine starts, Kopech has a 2.39 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. He has pitched scoreless first innings in 11 of his 14 starts this season including six of his last seven.
The Rangers may have the best offense in baseball this season, but they are just 14th in scoring in the first inning. The way Kopech is pitching lately, I like his chances to keep the Rangers off the board early.
Pérez has been on the opposite trajectory – he posted an excellent 2.41 ERA in six April starts, but that has ballooned to 6.18 in eight starts since then. Despite those subpar numbers, he has started off well in his outings. He has pitched scoreless first innings in 10 of his 14 starts including 5 of his last 6.
Pérez should be able to take care of a White Sox offense that is just 22nd overall in runs scored and 27th in the first inning. They are not trending in the right direction either, as they have scored just 3.2 runs per game over their last 14 games.
Trust the pitching in this game and take the NRFI at the attractive -102 odds.
Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies NRFI (+100 at FanDuel)
Starting pitchers: RHP AJ Smith-Shawver (1-0, 2.03 ERA) vs. RHP Aaron Nola (6-5, 4.66 ERA)
Let’s go a bit bolder for our final pick of the day and pull the trigger on a NRFI at even money.
In this matchup we have a rookie pitcher that is off to a strong start against a veteran pitcher that has not performed up to expectations this season. We also have two very dangerous lineups, one of which has been the best in baseball in the first inning, which is a big reason why you can get this NRFI bet at even money.
Aaron Nola has had an inconsistent season and he has had some struggles in the first inning. He has allowed runs in the first inning in 5 of his 15 starts, including 1 in his last outing against Atlanta on May 25. He has also had two bad outings in a row – 10 earned runs combined over 13 innings, albeit against two potent lineups in the Dodgers and Diamondbacks.
The Braves also have a potent lineup, arguably the most potent in baseball. They lead the league in runs scored in the first inning and have scored the most runs overall in June by a fairly significant margin.
The thing about Nola’s inconsistency is that he never does what’s expected – which can be good or bad. Based on his recent performance, it would be easy to expect Nola to get rocked by the Braves’ lineup, but that is exactly why he’s likely to pitch well! He also has been much better at home during his career, and that is no different season. He has posted a 3.92 ERA in 6 starts at Citizens Bank Park compared to a 5.17 ERA in his 9 starts on the road.
The Braves seem to have an endless supply of talented young pitchers, and today’s rookie starter, AJ Smith-Shawver, has been impressive in his first two starts. Given his limited exposure, the Phillies might need one turn through the order to see his stuff before they can figure out the right approach.