The MLB slate on Wednesday features 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 8/9/2023.
8/9 NRFI/YRFI Best Bets
Here are the best NRFI and YRFI bets to place on Wednesday, August 9, 2023.
Nationals vs. Phillies NRFI (-110 at DraftKings)
Starting pitchers: LHP MacKenzie Gore (6-8, 4.34 ERA) vs. RHP Michael Lorenzen (6-7, 3.48 ERA)
Let’s start out with a NRFI pick in a matchup of two teams that played 18 innings yesterday. The Phillies and Nationals could have some tired bats and tired legs the day after playing a doubleheader, which should help this NRFI pick hit at -110 odds.
The pitching matchup in this game is also favorable. Michael Lorenzen makes his second start for Philadelphia after coming over from the Tigers at the trade deadline. The Phillies acquired him partly because of his stellar July when he logged a 1.14 ERA and 0.85 WHIP over 4 starts (23-2/3 innings). He carried that over into his first start with Philadelphia on August 3, when he pitched 8 innings allowing 2 runs on 6 hits against the Marlins.
Lorenzen has pitched a scoreless first inning in 13 of his 19 starts this season including his last 8 in a row. He faces a Nationals lineup that has had success in the first inning this season. They are 5th in runs and 9th in wRC+ in the first inning. But overall it’s a below average offense that is 19th in runs and 22nd in wRC+ for the season.
Nationals starter MacKenzie Gore has had his ups and downs in just his 2nd season, but he has been very strong early in games. The former 3rd overall pick in 2017 has pitched a scoreless first inning in 18 of his 22 starts this season including his last 9 in a row. He has a 2.45 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in the first inning this season.
Gore faces a Phillies lineup that is 11th in runs and 17th in wRC+ in the first inning. The lefty is likely to face two left-handed hitters in Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper, while the right-handed Lorenzen should face at least two righties in Lane Thomas and Joey Meneses.
These matchups create solid value on a NRFI bet in this game.
Blue Jays vs. Guardians NRFI (-120 at BetMGM)
Starting pitchers: RHP Kevin Gausman (8-6, 3.20 ERA) vs. LHP Logan Allen (5-4, 3.65 ERA)
This matchup quietly features arguably the best pitching matchup of the day, making an NRFI bet at -120 odds a solid pick. It also doesn’t hurt that the Guardians will be missing their best bat in Jose Ramirez, who is serving a suspension for his role in the altercation with the White Sox’s Tim Anderson last weekend.
Kevin Gausman has been excellent for Toronto this year. His 3.20 ERA ranks 15th in the majors and he leads all pitchers in FIP and is 2nd in xFIP (minimum 80 innings).
He has had his share of struggles early in games, having allowed 16 earned runs in the opening frame across his 22 starts (which equates to a 6.55 ERA). But he has also been a victim of some bad fielding, as his 2.54 xFIP in the first inning ranks 6th among starters (minimum 10 starts).
Expect Gausman to make quick work of Cleveland, especially with Ramirez out of the lineup. Even with their star third baseman, the Guardians are just 20th in runs and 21st in wRC+ in the first inning this season.
The other side of this matchup is the key to hitting on this NRFI pick. Toronto is 7th in wRC+ overall and 10th in the first inning, although that has not translated to actual runs scored, as they are just 27th in that category in the opening frame.
They will face Guardians rookie Logan Allen, who has been solid in the first inning of his first 16 career starts. He has kept opponents off the scoreboard in 12 of those starts, and most of the damage came in three consecutive starts in early June over which he had a 7.20 ERA and 1.87 WHIP. Since then he has posted a 3.13 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over 6 starts (31-2/3 innings).
Allen has the stuff to keep the Blue Jays in check early in this game. If he does that in the top of the first, then the NRFI will be looking very good once Gausman takes the ball.
Cubs vs Mets YRFI (-120 at BetMGM)
Starting pitchers: RHP Kyle Hendricks (4-6, 3.98 ERA) vs. LHP David Peterson (3-7, 5.65 ERA)
On its surface this looks like a risky YRFI pick at -120 odds. The Mets are dead last (by a healthy margin) in runs scored in the first inning while the Cubs are just 22nd. These teams are also last and second to last, respectively, in wRC+ in the first inning.
But when we look at the pitching matchup and recent performance, it starts looking much better.
The Cubs have been the hottest team and the hottest offense in baseball for over a month. Since July 1 they lead the league in runs and average and they are 4th in OPS and 6th in wRC+.
Today they face a Mets starter who lost his spot in the rotation and on the active roster after his first 8 starts of the season, when he posted an 8.08 ERA and 1.74 WHIP. The Mets recalled David Peterson from Triple-A on June 27 and he has pitched better since then, but mostly in a relief role. He only recently re-joined the rotation after the Mets sold off Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander at the trade deadline.
The Cubs’ lineup has cooled off slightly over the last week, but they still have plenty of firepower to get after Peterson in the opening frame.
On the other side, Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks has struggled mightily in his last five starts. After posting a 3.04 ERA over his first 9 starts of the season, he has managed just a 5.79 ERA over his last 5 outings (28 innings).
Hendricks has still been solid in the first inning, allowing an early run just once in those 5 starts, and he’s pitched a scoreless first inning in 10 of his 14 starts overall this season. The Mets may not have the best numbers in the opening frame, but they do have some power hitters like Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso at the top of their order.
If Peterson manages to get through the top of the 1st unscathed, it would only take 1 swing for those Mets sluggers to cash this YRFI against Hendricks.