There are just 9 games on the MLB slate on Thursday, 8/24, which means limited opportunities to bet on run lines, over/unders and MLB player props. MLB bettors looking for some additional betting options 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 8/24/2023.
8/24 NRFI/YRFI Best Bets
Here are the best NRFI and YRFI bets to place on Thursday, August 24, 2023.
Blue Jays vs Orioles NRFI (-105 at DraftKings)
Starting pitchers: RHP José Berríos (9-8, 3.39 ERA) vs. RHP Kyle Gibson (12-7, 4.97 ERA)
Our first NRFI pick of the day comes from a matchup between two projected playoff teams from the AL East. This will be the final game of the regular season between the Blue Jays and the Orioles.
While both of these teams are among the better teams in the league offensively in terms of advanced metrics like wOBA and wRC+, neither club has been particularly good in the first inning this season. Toronto is 29th in runs scored in the opening frame while Baltimore is 15th.
Blue Jays starter José Berríos has been very solid in the first inning this season, having started the game with a scoreless inning in 20 of his 25 starts. He is also pitching extremely well over his last 8 starts, where he has a 2.60 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.
Berríos pitched one of his best games of the season against Baltimore back on June 14 when he threw 7-2/3 shutout innings while allowing just 3 hits. The Orioles’ top 4 hitters have had success against him. Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson, Anthony Santander and Ryan O’Hearn are a combined 21-for-64 (.328) lifetime against him. Still, we have plenty of reasons to expect that Berríos can get through the first inning unscathed tonight.
Kyle Gibson also has a good track record in this matchup. In two starts against the Blue Jays this season, he has pitched 13 innings while allowing just 2 runs on 9 hits. The Jays’ top 4 hitters – Whit Merrifield, Bo Bichette, Brandon Belt, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – are a combined 20-for-76 (.263) against Gibson in their careers.
Gibson has been more vulnerable in the first inning this season. He has pitched a scoreless first inning in just 16 of his 26 starts, which is not the consistency you want to see in a NRFI pick. But given his success against Toronto, and the Blue Jays’ track record in the first inning this season, we like his chances to keep the game scoreless after the opening frame.
Head over to DraftKings to get the best odds (as of this writing) on the NRFI in this game.
Rangers vs. Twins NRFI (-115 at FanDuel)
Starting pitchers: LHP Andrew Heaney (9-6, 4.27 ERA) vs. RHP Pablo López (9-6, 3.51 ERA)
In this matchup of two first-place teams – and a potential ALDS preview – we like the value of the -115 odds on a NRFI.
The key matchup for this pick is Rangers starter Andrew Heaney against Minnesota. While both the Twins and the Rangers have been about average in terms of first-inning offense this season (11th and 17th, respectively), the Twins have been much better over the second half of the season. Since the All-Star break they are 7th in runs scored in the first inning while the Rangers are 27th.
Heaney has been solid if unspectacular in the first inning this season, pitching a scoreless opening frame in 17 of his 24 starts including 10 of his last 12. Of mild concern is that he has pitched only 5 innings total in his last two starts, partly due to an illness that affected his stamina and partly due to command issues in his last start.
In his previous two outings, however, Heaney allowed 0 runs in 11-2/3 innings. Overall he has a 2.16 ERA over 4 starts in August. If he can bounce back from his two recent short outings and regain the form he showed earlier in August, then this NRFI pick will be looking good.
Heaney does have a solid track record against the Twins’ projected 1-through-4 hitters. Donovan Solano, Jorge Polanco, Carlos Correa and Kyle Farmer are a combined 11-for-40 (.275) lifetime against him. Most of that production has come from Correa (8-for-21) who is in the midst of his worst offensive season of his career.
In addition to the Twins’ recent success offensively, the other reason Heaney is the key to this pick is the confidence we have in Twins’ starter Pablo López, who has been absolutely lights out over his last 4 starts. He has allowed just 1 run in the month of August (25 innings), which translates to a ridiculous 0.36 ERA to go along with a 0.88 WHIP.
López has pitched a scoreless first inning in 18 of his 25 starts this season including 13 of his last 14. The way he’s pitching right now (19 consecutive scoreless innings), we expect that trend to continue.
Trust the pitching in this game and take the NRFI at -115 at FanDuel.