The MLB slate on Wednesday, July 26 features 15 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 July 26, 2023.
7/26 NRFI/YRFI Best Bets
Here are the best NRFI and YRFI bets to place on 07/26/2023.
Braves vs. Red Sox NRFI (+100 at BetMGM)
Starting pitchers: RHP Spencer Strider (11-3, 3.78 ERA) vs. RHP Brayan Bello (7-6, 3.60 ERA)
We are getting great value on the NRFI in this matchup because these lineups are two of the best in baseball, and in the case of the Braves, the very best in baseball in the first inning.
Atlanta has scored 22 more runs in the first inning than the next most prolific first-inning offense: the Dodgers. That is the same margin as the gap between the Dodgers and the 11th best team: the Angels.
The Braves have posted a whopping 168 wRC+ in the first inning this season, and an even more absurd mark of 206 over the last month. That is why this NRFI pick is priced at +100 odds despite there being two elite pitchers on the mound.
Boston is trotting out its emerging ace in right-hander Brayan Bello, who has shown the stuff needed to keep this dangerous Braves lineup at bay – at least early in the game. Bello had a slow start to the season and was terrible in his last outing against Oakland, allowing 6 earned in just 4 innings. Prior to that, however, he had a stretch of 13 starts (78-2/3 innings) with a 2.52 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.
Bello has pitched scoreless first innings in 12 of his 16 starts this season including 9 of his last 11. Perhaps most important of all, this will be Bello’s first start since welcoming his first-born child into the world. His recent paternity also afforded him an extra day of rest prior to tonight’s start.
This Braves lineup is as dangerous as it gets, with an elite top-of-the-order coming up in the first, but Bello still has a very good chance to keep them off the scoreboard in the opening frame. If he can do that in the top of the first, then the NRFI will be looking very good when Spencer Strider takes the mound in the bottom of the inning.
Strider has the fifth-best xFIP in baseball in the first inning (minimum 10 starts). He has pitched scoreless first innings in 16 of his 20 starts this season including 9 of his last 10. He also is easily the most dangerous strikeout artist in baseball with a career-high and league-leading 14.58 K/9 entering tonight’s start.
Boston’s lineup can be dangerous in the first inning. They are 3rd in wRC+ in the first inning over the last 30 days, and 14th overall this season. Still, it’s hard to expect them to do much against Strider. So long as Bello can channel his new-dad power to get through the top of the 1st, the +100 odds on this NRFI pick will be looking like an excellent value.
Orioles vs. Phillies NRFI (-105 at BetMGM)
Starting pitchers: RHP Kyle Bradish (6-5, 3.05 ERA) vs. LHP Ranger Suárez (2-5, 4.07 ERA)
This may not be quite the caliber of pitching matchup as our first NRFI pick of the day, but it’s still a very good one with close to even money odds. The other big difference with this pick, however, is that these lineups are not the same caliber in the first inning.
The Orioles sit just 27th with a 79 wRC+ in the first inning this season, and the Phillies are not much better at 96 (20th). Baltimore has been a bit better recently with a mark of 102 over the last month (16th), but the Phillies have been worse at 88 (21st).
Philadelphia faces a tough task against Orioles starter Kyle Bradish, who not only has one of the best ERAs in the league (among qualified starters) but also has been one of the best pitchers in the opening frame. Bradish has thrown scoreless first innings in 17 of his 18 starts this season and boasts a sparkling 0.98 WHIP and .148 BAA in the first frame.
The Phillies have also struggled against right-handed pitching over the last month. They are slashing .233/.284/.392 against righties over that span and are 26th in OPS and 27th in wRC+.
The key to this pick, then, should be Phillies starter Ranger Suárez against the top of the Orioles’ order. Suárez has struggled in July with a 6.14 ERA and 1.86 WHIP after posting marks of 1.08 and 0.96, respectively, over five June starts. He has pitched scoreless first innings in 9 of his 13 starts this season including 8 of his first 10, but has allowed early runs in 2 of his last 3 outings.
His recent struggles notwithstanding, Suárez has shown enough in his career to have confidence he can turn things around at any time. Baltimore’s season-long struggles in the first inning have more sway to me than Suárez’s July numbers, so I like the chances for Suárez to keep the Orioles off the board in the first. Combined with expectations for Bradish, that makes the -105 odds on a NRFI very appealing.