The MLB slate on Thursday, June 29 offers 12 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 6/29/2023.
NRFI/YRFI Best Bets (6/29/23)
Here are the best NRFI and YRFI bets to place on Thursday, June 29, 2023.
Milwaukee Brewers vs. New York Mets NRFI (-120 at FanDuel)
Starting pitchers: RHP Adrian Houser (2-2, 4.02 ERA) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (7-2, 3.95 ERA)
The Mets’ Kodai Senga let us down yesterday by allowing 2 runs in the first inning, but that doesn’t scare us away from going right back to this series for another NRFI pick. The underlying metrics backing up the pick logic are still there.
They do get a pretty good matchup today against Adrian Houser, who has allowed runs in the first inning in 3 of his 7 starts this season including 2 of his last 3. Still, it’s hard not to expect the Mets to be kept off the scoreboard in the first inning regardless of the matchup.
That brings us to Max Scherzer, who has pitched scoreless first innings in 9 of his 13 starts this season including 6 of his last 8. While he has been a bit inconsistent this season, he has been solid in his last two starts, having allowed just 3 runs on 11 hits over 14 innings.
The Milwaukee lineup he faces is 9th in the league in runs scored in the first inning, but they are just 27th overall in runs scored per game and 27th in wRC+. Scherzer should have the edge in that matchup, and he gives me enough confidence to take the -120 odds on a NRFI in this game.
Miami Marlins vs. Boston Red Sox NRFI (-105 at BetMGM)
Starting pitchers: LHP Jesús Luzardo (6-5, 3.77 ERA) vs. RHP Brayan Bello (5-4, 3.27 ERA)
Here we have a matchup of two pitchers with very good first-inning metrics against two lineups in the bottom eight in first-inning offense, and we’re getting close to even money on this NRFI pick.
Marlins lefty Jesús Luzardo is 10th in the league in xFIP in the first inning at 2.60. His actual FIP in the first inning is a measly 0.71 (4th) while his ERA is 0.56. He has allowed two unearned runs in the first inning this season, but still has pitched scoreless first innings in 14 of his 16 starts while allowing just 9 baserunners (0.30 WHIP).
While the Red Sox are 9th overall in runs scored per game and 11th in wRC+, in the first inning they are just 22nd in runs scored and 21st in wRC+. They have also gone cold over the last few days, having scored just four total runs over their last three games.
Miami’s lineup has been even worse in the first inning. They are 29th in runs scored and 29th in wRC+ in the first inning. That is a big reason why they have played to a NRFI in a league-high 69% of their games this season.
Do not expect that to change against Red Sox starter Brayan Bello, who has been excellent this season despite a rough start in April. Over his 9 starts since then, he has a 2.51 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. Bello has pitched a scoreless first inning in 9 of his 12 starts this season including 4 of his last 5.
With these two pitchers against these two lineups, the -105 odds on a NRFI is a great value.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Colorado Rockies NRFI (+125 at BetMGM)
Starting pitchers: RHP Emmett Sheehan (1-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. RHP Chase Anderson (0-2, 5.79 ERA)
It’s not often you can get +125 odds on a NRFI pick, and there is a good reason those are the odds in this matchup. The game is being played in hitter-friendly Coors Field, the Dodgers are second in the league in runs scored in the first inning and 2nd in wRC+, and tonight they are facing a struggling pitcher in Chase Anderson.
The Rockies’ veteran righty has gotten absolutely shelled in his last two starts. He was the starter when the Angels scored a historic 25 runs last week – Anderson allowed 9 of those and couldn’t finish the 3rd inning. In his previous start, he allowed 7 earned runs in just 3 innings against the Braves.
One thing that didn’t happen in those two starts, however, was Anderson allowing a run in the first inning. He has allowed a run in the first inning just once in his 8 starts this season. Of course, the Dodgers are capable of jumping on any pitcher early, but that’s why we’re getting such juicy odds on this pick.
On the other side, Dodgers rookie Emmett Sheehan has looked great in his first two career starts. He didn’t allow a hit in 6 innings in his first start against San Francisco, then allowed just two earned runs over 6 innings in his second start against Houston. He pitched perfect first innings in both starts.
Sheehan is still a rookie making just his third career start, so there is always a chance that Colorado can score a run early on him. But the Rockies’ lineup is missing two of its best bats in Charlie Blackmon and Kris Bryant, so the top of their lineup is particularly weak right now.
There is no sugarcoating it – this is a risky pick. But there are enough reasons to like the chances of a NRFI to accept that risk at +125 odds.