Every MLB team is in action on Wednesday, which means there are plenty of games to bet on the spread, over/unders, MLB player props, and the increasingly popular MLB bet on a No Run First Inning (NRFI) or 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 9/13/23.
9/13 NRFI/YRFI Best Bets
Here are the best NRFI and YRFI bets to place on Wednesday, September 13, 2023.
Diamondbacks at Mets NRFI (-120 at BetMGM)
Starting pitchers: RHP Zac Gallen (15-7, 3.31 ERA) vs. LHP Joey Lucchesi (2-0, 3.54 ERA)
Let’s start today’s picks with a game featuring a contender for the NL Cy Young award in Arizona’s Zac Gallen. That is the easy part of this NRFI pick. Gallen is coming off his best start of the season – a 3-hit shutout of the Cubs, who have been hot offensively but got completely shut down by Gallen.
Gallen has been excellent in all facets of his game this season, and starting off strong in the first inning is no exception. He has pitched a scoreless first inning in 24 of his 30 starts this season, including 10 of his last 12. He has allowed just 9 runs overall in the opening frame (2.70 ERA).
The Mets have been the worst offense in the first inning all season. They are dead last in runs scored and wRC+ in the opening frame this season, and they have not shown any signs of changing that. Since the All-Star break they remain in the bottom 10 in both categories. It would be a major surprise if Gallen stumbles against them early in this game.
The key to this pick, therefore, is Mets starter Joey Lucchesi against the Diamondbacks’ offense. Arizona was one of the more dangerous lineups in the first inning early in the season, but have been one of the weakest over the second half of the season. Since the All-Star break they are just 26th in both runs and wRC+ in the first inning, whereas they were 7th and 5th, respectively, in those categories over the first half.
Lucchesi is making just his 7th start of the season after spending most of the year in triple-A. He made his first 5 starts back in April and May and didn’t do enough to maintain his spot in the rotation. But in his most recent opportunity on August 18 against the Cardinals, he pitched much better, throwing 5-2/3 innings of shutout baseball.
He had to battle through the first inning in that game after allowing a single and two walks to load the bases, but then he got a key strikeout to end the inning unscathed. He also struggled in the opening frame earlier in the season, allowing runs in three consecutive starts before being sent back to Triple-A.
It’s admittedly a slight risk to trust Lucchesi in this spot, but we like the matchup with the Diamondbacks. Not only have they cooled off in the first inning lately, but they have also struggled against lefties all season. They are slashing just .249/.314/.395 against lefties this season and are in the bottom 10 in virtually every offensive category.
Rangers at Blue Jays NRFI
Starting pitchers: LHP Jordan Montgomery (8-11, 3.62 ERA) vs. LHP Yusei Kikuchi (9-5, 3.57 ERA)
For being two of the better offenses in baseball overall this season, the Rangers and Blue Jays have not been particularly good in the first inning. With two strong starters on the mound, that makes the NRFI in this game another good bet.
Texas is a respectable 10th in the league in runs scored in the first inning, but they have done most of their damage at home as they are just 29th in that category on the road. Toronto, meanwhile, is 27th overall and 26th at home.
Both teams have also trailed off over the second half, as the Rangers are 17th and the Blue Jays are dead last since the All-Star break. Toronto has failed to get a runner across the plate in the first inning in their last 9 consecutive games, while Texas has remained scoreless through 1 inning in 4 straight games.
If those numbers don’t already make you feel good about the NRFI in this game, then the pitching numbers should do the trick.
Blue Jays starter Yusei Kikuchi has been lights out over the second half of the season (55-1/3 innings over 10 starts) with a 2.44 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 10.41 K/9 and 4.0 K/BB ratio. He has pitched a scoreless first inning in 22 of his 28 starts this season including 13 of his last 14 (ignoring 1 game with an unearned run). Kikuchi is the stronger of the two pitchers in this matchup, and he faces the tougher lineup, which boosts confidence in the NRFI.
Rangers starter Jordan Montgomery has pitched a scoreless first inning in 21 of his 28 starts this season (and 2 more if you count unearned runs). Ignoring those unearned those runs, he has escaped the first inning unscathed in 12 of his last 14 starts.
Montgomery is coming off two consecutive bad outings with 6 and 5 earned runs allowed over 9-1/3 total innings, which may be some cause for concern. However, he gets the better matchup against the very slow-starting Blue Jays lineup.
Both of these pitchers should offer enough confidence against these lineups to feel good about the -120 odds on the NRFI in this matchup.