The second half of the MLB season kicks off Friday with 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 07/14/2023.
7/14 NRFI/YRFI Best Bets
Here are the best NRFI and YRFI bets to place on Friday, July 14, 2023.
Tigers vs. Mariners NRFI (-135 at BetMGM)
Starting pitchers: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (4-5, 2.64 ERA) vs. RHP Luis Castillo (6-6, 2.85 ERA)
I don’t love getting -135 odds on a NRFI bet, but considering the two pitches and the lineups in this matchup, I expected these odds to be closer to -160 (and they are at some other sportsbooks).
Let’s start with the pitching, which features each team’s respective ace and two starters with some of the best metrics in the league this season. Both Eduardo Rodriguez (6th) and Luis Castillo (11th) are among the league leaders in ERA (minimum 70 IP). Those numbers are no fluke, as they also rank 11th and 23rd, respectively, in xFIP.
Unsurprisingly, both pitchers have also been excellent in the first inning. Rodriguez pitched a scoreless first inning in his first 11 starts of the season before allowing 3 runs against Oakland in his final start before the All-Star break. Castillo has pitched a scoreless first inning in 14 of his 18 starts including 7 of his last 9.
Looking at the offenses, both of these lineups rank in the bottom 8 in run production in the first inning. Detroit has struggled at the plate all season, with just an 87 wRC+ on the year (28th). It would be surprising if either of these offenses does much against these two pitchers, especially in the first inning, which is why the total in this game is just 7 runs, and the under is almost even money at -105.
Given all of that, the -135 odds on a NRFI bet start looking a lot more appealing.
Marlins vs. Orioles NRFI (-120 at BetMGM)
Starting pitchers: RHP Sandy Alcantara (3-7, 4.72 ERA) vs. RHP Dean Kremer (9-4, 4.78 ERA)
This matchup might not have quite the same caliber of starting pitching as the last one, but these two lineups have been very quiet in the opening frame this season.
The Marlins and Orioles rank 25th and 28th, respectively, in runs produced in the first inning this season. They are also 22nd and 29th, respectively, in wRC+ in the first inning. Those numbers make the -120 odds on a NRFI in this game look like a good bet.
The matchup to worry about with this pick is the Marlins against O’s starter Dean Kremer, who has allowed runs in the first inning 9 times in his 18 starts this season, including 5 of his last 7. He has allowed 13 first-inning runs overall in those starts, leading to a 6.50 ERA in the first inning. That’s… not great.
The good news is that Kremer is a righty, and Miami hits lefties much better than they hit righties. They have slashed .253/.314/.390 with a 93 wRC+ (20th) against righties compared to .312/.362/.450 and a 123 wRC+ (4th) against lefties.
If Kremer can keep Miami off the board, then the NRFI bet starts looking very good with Sandy Alcantara on the mound in the bottom of the first. The reigning NL Cy Young winner has not been the same pitcher in 2023, but he has still been excellent in the first inning. He has pitched scoreless first innings in 15 of his 18 starts and has allowed just 4 runs overall in the first frame.
I am trusting the hitting splits and these lineups’ track records in the first inning this season and taking the -120 odds on a NRFI tonight.
Red Sox vs. Cubs NRFI (-105 at BetMGM)
Starting pitchers: RHP Brayan Bello (6-5, 3.04 ERA) vs. RHP Kyle Hendricks (3-3, 3.04 ERA)
The Cubs have been one of the worst first-inning offenses in the league this season. Only the Mets have scored fewer runs in the first inning, and only the Mets and Orioles have a lower wRC+ in the first frame.
Boston has been about league average in the first inning (15th in runs, 18th in wRC+ at 101), but they have a dramatic home/road split when it comes to first-inning offense. They are 3rd in runs and 5th in wRC+ at home, but just 26th in runs and dead last with a measly 35 wRC+ on the road.
Considering those numbers and the two very solid starting pitchers on the mound, the -105 odds on a NRFI are very appealing.
Brayan Bello and Kyle Hendricks have identical 3.04 ERAs and both have been good in the first inning. Bello has pitched a scoreless first inning in 11 of his 14 starts this season including 6 of his last 7. After a shaky start to his season, Bello has posted a 2.35 ERA and 1.09 WHIP over his last 12 starts.
Hendricks also had a bad first start this season after beginning the year on the IL, but has been excellent since then. He has a 2.76 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP over his last 8 starts. Hendricks has pitched a scoreless first inning in 6 of his 9 starts, allowing 3 runs overall in the first frame.
Considering the Red Sox’s struggles on the road, Hendricks has a very good chance to improve on those numbers and pitch a scoreless first inning tonight, which makes the -105 odds on a NRFI bet a very solid value.