The MLB slate on Tuesday, August 15 features a full slate of 15 games to bet on the spread, total or MLB player props. Another increasingly popular MLB bet to consider is bets on No Run First Inning (NRFI) and Yes Run First Inning (YRFI). This article analyzes Tuesday’s NRFI and YRFI betting odds and recommends the best NRFI bets and the best YRFI bets to make on MLB games on 8/15/2023.
8/15/23 NRFI/YRFI Best Bets
Here are the best NRFI and YRFI bets to place on Tuesday, August 15, 2023.
Pirates vs. Mets NRFI (+102 at FanDuel)
Starting pitchers: LHP Bailey Falter (0-7, 5.21 ERA) vs. LHP David Peterson (3-7, 5.61 ERA)
There is some sneaky value on a NRFI in this matchup because of an ostensibly underwhelming pitching matchup. Neither David Peterson nor Bailey Falter inspires a tremendous amount of confidence, but digging into this matchup a bit further reveals why this NRFI is a good play at +102 odds (be sure to get the best odds at FanDuel, the only sportsbook as of this writing that has this NRFI at plus money.)
Both of these pitchers have recently joined (or re-joined) their respective team’s rotations. After a strong 2022, Falter struggled early on this season with the Phillies before being sent down to Triple-A (and eventually Single-A). Pittsburgh acquired him at the trade deadline and he immediately joined their rotation and had a short but solid start against Milwaukee (1 earned over 4 innings). His second outing was not as good (4 earned over 4 innings), but it can be somewhat excused considering he faced the powerhouse Braves.
It’s a similar story for Peterson, who also struggled early on this season after a strong 2022 and also eventually was sent down to the minors. He has pitched much better since being recalled on June 27, though it has been mostly in a relief role. He re-joined the rotation after the Mets shipped out Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander at the trade deadline and has a 2.70 ERA over his two recent starts.
Both pitchers have shown enough in their young careers and recent performances to believe they can have some success in this game, especially considering the weak lineups they’re facing. Those lineups are the main reason for this NRFI pick.
The Mets and Pirates have been two of the worst offenses in baseball in the first inning this season. The Mets are dead last in runs scored in the opening frame while the Pirates are just 25th. Both clubs have been somewhat better recently, but they are still just 18th (Mets) and 22nd (Pirates) since the All-Star Break.
Neither club has been much better beyond the first inning either. Over the last month they are 22nd (Pirates) and 25th (Mets) in runs scored overall, 24th or worse in wOBA and 21st or worse in wRC+. They also both have better numbers against righties than against lefties like Peterson and Falter.
Let’s trust the pitchers seizing new opportunities over the struggling lineups and bet a NRFI at +102 odds in this game.
White Sox vs Cubs NRFI (+100 at DraftKings)
Starting pitchers: RHP Touki Toussaint (1-5, 4.27 ERA) vs. RHP Kyle Hendricks (4-6, 3.96 ERA)
The Cubs may finally be cooling off. They had been the hottest offense in baseball for weeks and remain 2nd in runs scored and 6th in wRC+ since July 1. However, over the last week they are just 25th in runs and 17th in wRC+.
While they have cooled off lately, they have also scored 6 of their 21 runs over the last week in the opening frame (3 games in their last 5). That is a big reason why you can get this NRFI at +100 odds at DraftKings (the only sportsbook with plus odds as of this writing).
That recent first-inning surge could be a mirage, as the Cubs have been one of the worst offenses in the league in the opening frame this season. Prior to their red-hot July, they were just 26th in offense in the first inning, and their torrid stretch did not change that as they are still 27th in wRC+ on the year (and 19th in runs).
Their opponent on the mound today, Touki Touissaint has pitched a scoreless first inning in 6 consecutive starts and 6 out of 7 overall. The Cubs collectively have just 4 career at-bats against Toussaint and could take some time to get a read on his pitches, increasing the chances of a scoreless first inning today.
The White Sox are one of the few teams in MLB with less run production than the Cubs in the first inning this season. They are 26th in runs scored in the opening frame this season.
Now they face Kyle Hendricks, who has pitched a scoreless first inning in 10 of his 15 starts this season (11 out of 15 if you ignore unearned runs). Hendricks has gone six consecutive starts without allowing an earned run in the opening frame and has allowed just 4 runs (3 earned) in the first inning all season (1.80 ERA).
Do not let the Cubs’ performance over the small sample of the last week scare you away from what the season-long numbers make clear: the NRFI at +100 is a great value in this game.