MLB NRFI/YRFI Best Bets Today: Expert Picks & Predictions for Saturday’s Slate (7/8/23)

With the MLB All Star Game on the horizon next week, we have a full Saturday slate with 15 games on tap and lots of value in No Run First Inning (NRFI) and Yes Run First Inning (YRFI) props. Let’s take a look at some of the key matchups on 7/8/2023 and make some predictions.

Chicago Cubs vs. New York Yankees NRFI (-130)

Starting Pitchers: RHP Gerrit Cole (8-2, 2.79 ERA) vs. LHP Drew Smyly

This is one of my favorite picks in the entire array of Saturday games, although it could be worth waiting for a little bit of number movement, or shopping around for the best possible odds. Don’t let Smyly’s numbers fool you, this is a very good starting pitching matchup. The Cubs lefty has gotten hit a bit in his last two starts, but that shouldn’t erase what had been a really strong first half up to that point. I still love a lot of what I’m seeing from his Statcast metrics, which show above-average chase and walk rates, and really great numbers in terms of quality of contact allowed

Then there’s Cole, who requires pretty much no introduction. He’s in the midst of what could be his best season yet in New York, and has the fourth-best ERA in the American League. The two offenses are nothing to write home about either; neither has been particularly elite on the season, and the Yankees lineup has been absolutely brutal of late.

These squads also just limped to a rather painful to watch 3-0 clash on Friday against starting pitchers who are not of the caliber of the guys going on Saturday- and no, that game did not feature a run in the first inning. I’m expecting more of the same on Saturday afternoon in the Bronx after a short rest following the night game.
DraftKings Promo Code

Baltimore Orioles vs. Minnesota Twins NRFI (-115)

Starting Pitchers: RHP Tyler Wells (6-4, 3.19 ERA) vs. RHP Sonny Gray (4-2, 2.50 ERA)

Please do not ask me why the NRFI in this game is only -115, because I have absolutely no idea how Vegas came to that number. It’s outstanding value, with two staff aces set to throw, and only one particularly good lineup (that being Baltimore’s). The O’s, while solid overall, are an inexplicably awful first-inning offense. This should never be the case, since the first inning inherently features your best bats, but they’re hitting .198 in the first frame with an OPS of .623, both of which are easily their worst figure in any inning.

Now let’s talk about those aces, starting with the surprising Tyler Wells, who has been absolutely outstanding in year 3 with Baltimore. In almost 100 innings of work, his ERA is still in the low 3’s and he’s tossing an AL-best .902 WHIP. He’s going to work against Sonny Gray, who is once again in the thick of the Cy Young race with an outstanding 2.50 ERA, and the league’s best home runs allowed rate, with just 0.3 per 9 innings. This has all of the makings of an excellent pitcher’s duel, and at nearly-even odds, the NRFI is a no-brainer bet.
Caesars Promo Code

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Miami Marlins NRFI (-120)

Starting Pitchers: Braxton Garrett (4-2, 3.61 ERA), Ranger Suarez (2-3, 3.67 ERA)

This is another one where I’m absolutely fired up that you can get the number that’s being given. Yes, it’s immediately apparent that both starting pitchers are having nice seasons with ERAs in the mid 3’s, but this one is even more of a lock than it might appear. Other than the 8th inning, which he has reached exactly once this year, the first frame is Braxton Garrett’s best, with an ERA of 2.25 in 16 tries. It’s a similar story for Suárez, who throws a 1.80 ERA in the first inning before getting into some rougher waters in the second and third.

It also doesn’t hurt that the Phillies have pretty much a league-average offense in terms of runs scored, while the Marlins are in the bottom third. In fact, Miami actually has the second-worst first inning offense in the league, ahead of only the puzzlingly bad Mets. Philly is top ten in first inning scoring, but they also haven’t done it in any of their past four games. With two tough starters on the mound, and ones that generally have strong opening frames, I think the situation is positively primed for an NRFI bet.

Honorable Mentions

Now that we’ve taken a good look at my favorite picks, let’s highlight a few honorable mentions that could provide you with some good value

Seattle Mariners vs. Houston Astros NRFI (-145)

This bet basically comes down to more or less assuming that one half of the inning is taken care of, and believing that there’s at least a solid chance that the other pitcher can get through three outs. Houston’s Framber Valdez is tossing an AL-best 2.49 ERA, but is even better in the first inning with a number of 1.12. Seattle also has a pretty weak offense, and while Houston’s better, they’re far from the dominant Astros lineup we’ve become used to. Bryan Woo’s overall numbers are skewed by a dreadful pro debut, but he has bounced back wonderfully to throw a 2.36 ERA in his subsequent 5 starts. At -145, this might be more of a parlay leg, but I still feel very good about this prop.

Cincinnati Reds vs. Milwaukee Brewers YRFI (-130)

Once again, my over-loving spirit has come out and pulled a lone YRFI prop into the article. This matchup features a very strong lineup and a less-solid one, as well as some shaky starting pitchers. Luke Weaver is especially helpful to the cause here; he could lift the mediocre Brewers lineup, as he’s tossing a 6.72 ERA overall, and a ridiculous 14.79 figure in the first inning. Throw in two above-average first inning offenses, a couple of solid lineup-topping groups of bats, and I think we’re looking at a winner.

From starting my own blog in Middle School, to working on a friend’s in college, and finally joining the Lineups team this year, I’ve been writing about sports for over a decade and betting on them as long as I’ve been legally able. I graduated from the University of Michigan last year, where I took sports journalism classes alongside my business major. Having played and watched sports for almost my whole life, I aim to provide insight and entertainment, as well as profitable picks, in my writing about professional and collegiate leagues.

Hot Betting News Stories