We kick off September with a full slate of MLB action including a doubleheader between the Cubs and Reds, making it 16 games in total on Friday. There are potential playoff series previews between the Braves/Dodgers, Phillies/Brewers and Rangers/Twins, and some big name pitchers taking the mound including Max Scherzer, Max Fried and Zack Wheeler.
Let’s take a look at today’s best MLB bets on 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 9/1/23.
9/1 NRFI/YRFI Best Bets
Here are the best NRFI and YRFI bets to place on Friday, September 1, 2023.
Marlins at Nationals NRFI (-120 at DraftKings)
Starting pitchers: RHP Eury Pérez (5-4, 2.68 ERA) vs. RHP Jake Irvin (3-5, 4.30 ERA)
Let’s start off today’s ticket with a matchup that features two talented rookie pitchers, most notably the Marlins’ Eury Pérez.
Pérez has been one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball this season in the first inning. He has allowed a run in the opening frame just 1 time in his 15 starts, and that 1 time came against a Braves team that is putting up record-breaking numbers in the first inning this season.
Ignoring that 1 outlier game, Pérez has a ridiculous 0.43 WHIP and a 9.5 K/BB ratio in the opening frame. In two starts against the Nationals this season, he has pitched a perfect first inning both times. Overall in those two starts, including his most recent outing, he has pitched 11 innings and allowed 2 runs (1 earned) and just 6 hits.
Washington’s lineup has been good in the first inning this season, despite not being great offensively overall (20th in runs and 21st in wRC+). They are 6th in runs and 11th in wRC+ in the opening frame this season, but have not been as productive recently after scoring just 12 first-inning runs (20th) during August.
Miami remains one of the worst teams in the league offensively in the opening frame, which combined with strong pitchers like Pérez has led to them hitting the highest percentage of NRFI games in the league this season (65%).
Nationals rookie Jake Irvin has not been quite as dominant as Pérez, but he has still shown more than enough to have confidence in him shutting down this Marlins lineup in the first inning. He has already done it twice against Miami this season, pitching two nearly perfect first innings (allowed 1 walk) against them. In those 2 starts he has allowed 2 earned runs overall on 8 hits over 11 innings.
Overall this season, Irvin has pitched a scoreless first inning in 15 of his 20 starts this season (excluding unearned runs), including 9 of his last 10.
This exact pitching matchup cashed a NRFI bet less than one week ago in Miami. We love the value on the -120 odds for that bet to cash again today in Washington.
Braves at Dodgers YRFI (-105 at BetMGM)
Starting pitchers: LHP Max Fried (5-1, 2.85 ERA) vs. LHP Julio Urías (11-7, 4.41 ERA)
Frankly it’s somewhat stunning that odds favor a NRFI in this matchup. These are not only two of the best offenses in baseball and two of the best offenses in the first inning this season, but the Braves are one of the greatest offenses in the first inning of all-time.
Going back to 2002 (the earliest year that data exists on FanGraphs), the 2023 Braves have the highest average (.326), OPS (.976), wOBA (.411) and wRC+ (160) in the first inning, and in all cases it’s not particularly close. With 29 games to go, they are already 17th all-time in runs scored in the first inning, and if they can come close to keeping up their current average of 1.02 runs/inning in the opening frame, they will easily break the record for 162 games (144).
The Dodgers are also putting up numbers in the first inning that would likely lead the league in just about any other season. They are currently on pace for 136 runs scored in the first inning this season, which would be 5th all-time if they keep up their current pace of 0.85 runs/inning.
Despite those historic numbers, these teams have hit a YRFI in just 55% of their games this season (147-of-266), which helps to explain why the odds are just -105 in today’s game. The other reason is Braves starter Max Fried, who has allowed a run in the first inning just once in his 10 starts this season.
In all likelihood, Fried will take care of the Dodgers in the opening frame today, but it’s certainly no guarantee. What seems even more likely is that the Braves will be able to score early on Dodgers starter Julio Urías, who has not been the same pitcher this season that he has been for most of this career.
Urías has a whopping 9.45 ERA in the first inning this season having allowed 21 runs in his 20 starts. Those runs have come across 10 starts, so it’s not like most of them came from a few bad outings. He allowed first-inning runs in his last two starts and 5 of his 10 starts since returning from the IL on July 1.
So Urías is allowing a YRFI in half his starts, and none of those starts were against this dynamite Braves lineup. That seems like a pretty strong indicator that the Braves will be able to score in the opening frame tonight.
These teams have played to a YRFI in 3 of their 4 games this season, including last night’s contest. The likelihood of that happening again tonight feels much higher than the -105 odds suggest, so we like value on a YRFI bet in this matchup tonight.