MLB NRFI/YRFI Best Bets Today: Expert Picks & Predictions for Wednesday’s Slate (7/5/23)

The MLB slate on Wednesday, July 5 offers 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 7/5/2023.

July 5th NRFI/YRFI Best Bets

Here are the best NRFI and YRFI bets to place on 7/5/23.

Orioles vs. Yankees NRFI (+100 at BetMGM)

Starting pitchers: RHP Dean Kremer (8-4, 5.04 ERA) vs. RHP Randy Vásquez (1-1, 1.74 ERA)

The Orioles are 29th in the league in runs and 29th in wRC+ in the first inning this season, while the Yankees are 21st and 19th, respectively. Since June 1, the Yankees have dropped to 28th in wRC+ in the first frame, largely due to Aaron Judge going on the IL on June 4.

Despite those numbers, you can get a NRFI for plus money in today’s matchup. Do you need to know more to feel good about that? OK, here is some more.

Orioles starter Dean Kremer has not been great this season, sporting a 5.04 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and 5.13 FIP. However, he has one important thing going for him against the Yankees: he is right-handed.

While their bats have started to heat up over the last week, New York has understandably struggled offensively without Judge in the lineup. Their struggles have been most pronounced against right-handers, where they have a 77 wRC+ since June 4 (29th).

Yankees starter Randy Vásquez is making just his third career start since debuting on May 26, but he did post some solid numbers in his two starts a few weeks ago (1.74 ERA, 0.97 WHIP). With such a limited body of work, you can understand why oddsmakers have set the line for a NRFI at even money.

Neither starting pitching inspires a tremendous amount of confidence, but neither lineup’s first-inning performance does either. In that scenario, going after the +100 odds makes sense.
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A’s vs. Tigers NRFI (-120 at BetMGM)

Starting pitchers: LHP Ken Waldichuk (1-5, 6.78 ERA) vs. LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (4-4, 2.13 ERA)

If the O’s and Yankees are two of the weakest first-inning offenses, then the A’s and the Tigers are just two of the weakest offenses, period. Oakland is dead last in runs and 28th in wRC+ while Detroit is 28th and 27th in those categories, respectively.

It comes as no surprise then that they are also two of the weaker first-inning offenses. Oakland is 28th in runs in the first inning and 25th in wRC+ while Detroit is 25th and 27th, respectively. Given those numbers, the -120 odds on a NRFI are a good value, and the starting pitching in today’s game does not change that.

Tigers starter Eduardo Rodriguez is having the best season of his career with a 2.13 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 3.18 FIP over 11 starts (67-2/3 innings). He has allowed 0 runs in the first inning and is 31st among qualified starters with a 3.42 xFIP in the first inning. It would be very surprising if he does not keep that up against Oakland.

Ken Waldichuk is a different story. He lost his spot in the rotation after posting a 6.85 ERA and 1.85 WHIP through his first 9 starts of the season. Since then he has operated out of the bullpen and made a few starts as an opener, and he looked better in that role in June.

Despite his struggles, Waldichuk has been good in the first inning this season. He has allowed runs in the first frame in just 2 of his 11 starts while posting a 1.00 WHIP. Against this Tigers lineup, betting on him to pitch a scoreless first is a solid bet at -120 odds.
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Cubs vs. Brewers NRFI (-120 at BetMGM)

Starting pitchers: LHP Justin Steele (9-2, 2.43 ERA) vs. RHP Adrian Houser (3-2, 3.88 ERA)

Justin Steele has been fantastic for the Cubs this season. Since returning from a stint on the IL on June 17, the 2023 NL All-Star has posted a 1.56 ERA and 0.92 WHIP over three starts (17-1/3 innings). He has pitched a scoreless first inning in 12 of his 15 starts this season and sits 14th in first-inning xFIP at 2.87.

Milwaukee’s middling offense has been just that in the first inning this season. They are 16th in runs and 18th in wRC+ in the first frame. Steele should have no problem shutting them down in the first inning today.

The bigger question with this NRFI pick is Milwaukee starter Adrian Houser. He has allowed runs in the first inning in 3 of his 8 starts this season including 2 of his last 4. But he gets a pretty good matchup today against a Cubs lineup that is 25th in runs scored and 28th in wRC+ in the first inning this year.

Houser is solid enough to have confidence that he can shut down the Cubs early in this game. With Steele on the other side of this matchup, that creates a solid bet at -120 odds.

Noah hails from Philadelphia and is a diehard Philly sports fan. He graduated from Penn where he was a sports writer and editor for the student newspaper and also spent a summer covering the Baltimore Orioles for He has been playing fantasy sports since before live stats were a thing, and he has enjoyed learning the nuances of DFS in recent years. As a current resident of Florida, he is hoping the wave of sports betting legalization will eventually reach his home state.

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