MLB NRFI/YRFI Best Bets Today: Expert Picks & Predictions for Wednesday’s Slate (5/31/23)

The MLB slate on Wednesday, May 31 offers 14 games to bet on run lines, over/unders and MLB player props. This article analyzes the betting odds for an increasingly popular MLB bet: No Run First Inning (NRFI) and Yes Run First Inning (YRFI). Continue below for recommendations on the best NRFI bets and the best YRFI bets to make on MLB games on 05/31/23.

5/31 NRFI Best Bets

A handful of the major league’s top pitchers this season take the mound on May 31, including the Guardians’ Shane Bieber and the Rays’ Zach Eflin.

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Chicago Cubs YRFI (+100 at BetMGM)

Starting pitchers: RHP Zach Eflin (7-1, 3.17 ERA) vs. LHP Justin Steele (6-2, 2.77 ERA)

Picking the YRFI in this game might seem counterintuitive considering the matchup between two of the top starting pitchers in the MLB this season in terms of ERA. Justin Steele has been excellent for the Cubs, sitting 11th in the league in ERA and 21st in WHIP (1.11). However, he has struggled a bit lately and is coming off his worst outing of the season – allowing five earned runs in 3-2/3 innings on May 26 against the Reds.

Steele has given up four first-inning runs in 11 starts this season, and they have all come in three of his last four starts. That could be a cause for concern against a Rays team that is second in the league in first-inning scoring (0.77 runs per first inning) and first-inning OPS (.942). The Rays are also the best in the league against lefties in both AVG (.311) and OPS (.955).

The Rays’ bats have gone ice cold in this series. They have just eight hits, zero extra base hits, and one run scored in the last two games. But they are the best offense in baseball, and I am betting they bust out of that mini-slump and make it four out of five games for Steele allowing a first-inning run.
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Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers YRFI (-125 at BetMGM)

Starting pitchers: LHP Patrick Corbin (4-5, 4.88 ERA) vs. RHP Noah Syndergaard (1-4, 6.27 ERA)

There is a reason the YRFI odds on this matchup are at less than even money. Corbin and Syndergaard have both struggled mightily this season. Corbin has allowed a first-inning run in 3 of his 11 starts this season while Syndergaard has allowed one in four of his 10 starts, including each of his last two.

Corbin has historically struggled in the first inning. He has a higher career ERA in the first inning (4.97) than he does in any other inning, and he had a whopping 7.50 ERA in the first inning last season (4.09 so far this year). In one start against the Dodgers last season, Corbin got chased in the first inning after allowing seven runs (six earned) and recording just two outs.

Syndergaard has not been much better in the first inning. He had a 6.08 ERA in the first frame last season, and this year’s mark sits at 4.50.
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Milwaukee Brewers vs. Toronto Blue Jays NRFI (+100 at BetMGM)

Starting pitchers: RHP Julio Teheran (0-1, 1.80 ERA) vs. RHP Alek Manoah (1-5, 5.53 ERA)

We have two picks for a YRFI, so let’s close things out with an NRFI pick. I love getting plus odds for an NRFI in this Brewers vs. Blue Jays matchup. There is no doubt the odds are what they are because Alek Manoah has surprisingly struggled to start the 2023 season, and Julio Teheran has made just two starts in the last two seasons.

After posting a 2.24 ERA in 31 starts last season, Manoah appears to be suffering from the new rules instituted this season. Manoah has a slow pitch delivery and appears to be struggling to adapt to the pitch clock. He has also allowed 12 stolen bases (second-most in the league) in 13 attempts against him.

A matchup with a struggling Brewers’ lineup might be just what the Blue Jays’ would-be ace needs to get back on track. Milwaukee has gone ice cold over the last week, scoring more than two runs just once in the last five games. They are last in the league in batting average (.158), OPS (.507) and runs scored (11) over that span.

On the other side, the Blue Jays have been one of the slower-starting offenses in the league this season (25 first-inning runs, 24th in MLB). It is hard to anticipate what we will see from Teheran today, but he did look good in his first outing of the season and first with the Brewers (5 IP, 1 ER, 5 Ks).

I am betting on the struggling offenses and the talent of Manoah to yield a NRFI today, especially when I can get that at +100 odds.

Noah hails from Philadelphia and is a diehard Philly sports fan. He graduated from Penn where he was a sports writer and editor for the student newspaper and also spent a summer covering the Baltimore Orioles for He has been playing fantasy sports since before live stats were a thing, and he has enjoyed learning the nuances of DFS in recent years. As a current resident of Florida, he is hoping the wave of sports betting legalization will eventually reach his home state.

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