The MLB slate on Friday, August 4 features 14 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 08/04/2023.
8/4 NRFI/YRFI Best Bets
Here are the best NRFI and YRFI bets to place on Friday, August 4, 2023.
Marlins vs. Rangers NRFI (-110 at DraftKings)
Starting pitchers: LHP Jesús Luzardo (8-5, 3.38 ERA) vs. LHP Jordan Montgomery (6-9, 3.42 ERA)
After changing teams at the trade deadline for the second year in a row, Jordan Montgomery will make his Rangers debut tonight against the Marlins. Montgomery’s 3.42 ERA this season is the lowest of his career, and it was as low as 3.14 just two weeks ago before a couple of subpar outings against the red-hot Cubs.
Montgomery has been solid in the first inning this season. He has allowed earned runs in the opening frame just 5 times in his 21 starts (there were also 2 more times he allowed unearned runs). Ignoring those 2 unearned run innings, he has pitched a scoreless first inning in 7 consecutive starts, including one against the Marlins on July 18.
The Marlins have been one of the worst offenses in the majors in the first inning this season. They are 28th in runs and 23rd in wRC+ in the opening frame, though they have been much better over the last month (8th in runs) and just added some reinforcements in Josh Bell and Jake Burger at the trade deadline. That might pose some risk for Montgomery in the first inning tonight, but he still stands a good chance to log his first 3 outs unscathed.
Marlins starter Jesús Luzardo has been one of the best pitchers in all of baseball in the first inning this season. He has allowed just 3 runs (1 earned) in the opening frame all season (22 starts) and owns the best ERA and 3rd best FIP in the majors.
Of course, he has his work cut out for him against a Rangers lineup that leads the league in runs scored and is 2nd in wRC+. The top of Texas’ lineup can be dangerous. They are 7th in runs and 9th in wRC+ in the first inning this season. In a matchup between a dominant pitcher and a dynamite lineup, the edge should go to the pitcher.
Rockies vs. Cardinals NRFI (+122 at FanDuel)
Starting pitchers: RHP Chris Flexen (0-5, 8.08 ERA) vs. RHP Adam Wainright (3-5, 7.18 ERA)
It’s hard to pass up +122 odds on a NRFI in just about any matchup, even one with an eminently unimpressive pitching matchup. In any given game, there is always a decent chance that no runs will be scored in the first inning, and for that reason alone we are going to jump on the +122 odds in this game.
Chris Flexen has made only 1 start for the Rockies this season after spending most of the year with Seattle. He operated mostly as a reliever for the Mariners, making just four starts in 17 appearances. For what it’s worth, despite having a 10.39 ERA in those 4 starts, he never allowed a run in the first inning.
One of those starts came against the Cardinals, which is just further evidence that there is a good enough chance he pitches a scoreless first inning to take the juicy odds available for this game.
The 41-year-old Adam Wainright has fallen off a cliff in his final season. But he’s still Adam Wainwright, and he can still pitch a scoreless first inning against an awful Rockies lineup.
Despite playing in one of the most hitter-friendly parks in the big leagues, Colorado is just 22nd in runs scored this season and 21st in runs scored in the first inning. They also just traded away two of their best bats in C.J. Cron and Randal Grichuk.
If you can hold your nose when looking at the pitchers in this game, you can appreciate the value of the +122 odds on a NRFI.
Astros vs. Yankees YRFI (-120 at BetMGM)
Starting pitchers: RHP Hunter Brown (7-7, 4.12 ERA) vs. RHP Luis Severino (2-5, 7.49 ERA)
We’ve made two NRFI picks today, so let’s close this out with a YRFI pick in a matchup between two of the most dangerous lineups in baseball.
The main reason for this YRFI pick is the matchup between Yankees starter Luis Severino and the Astros’ powerful offense. Severino has struggled this season after missing the first ~2 months of the year with a right lat strain. He has been hit especially hard over his last 5 starts, when he has been tagged for an 11.22 ERA and 2.40 WHIP.
Severino has been especially bad in the first inning, where has allowed 17 runs in 12 starts for a 12.75 ERA. That is the worst first-inning ERA in the majors this season (minimum 10 starts) and unsurprisingly his advanced metrics aren’t any better. He has the 2nd highest FIP and 3rd highest xFIP in the opening frame.
Granted, 13 of those 17 runs came in just two starts. Overall, Severino has thrown a scoreless first inning in 7 of his 12 starts and 5 of his last 7.
Still, the overall performance is alarming, and he will have his hands full against the Astros. Houston is 3rd in the league in runs scored in the first inning this season and 5th in wRC+ in the first. That matchup alone should be enough to like the YRFI in this game.
Another good reason is that Aaron Judge is back in the Yankees’ lineup. New York has not been particularly dangerous in the first inning this season – 14th in runs and 17th in wRC+ – but they have been better over the last month – 10th in runs and 5th in wRC+ since July 1.
With Judge rejoining Giancarlo Stanton at the top of the order, the Yankees are a threat to score early at any time. Together with Severino’s struggles and the Astros’ consistent performance, the -120 odds on a YRFI look like a strong value today.