Top MLB No Runs First Inning (NRFI) Bets & Matchups for Friday, July 1st (2022)

Jul 1, 2022 - 4:55 PM

How is it already July? Man, this baseball season is absolutely flying. Hey, they say time flies when you’re having fun, and that certainly has been the case this year; the 2022 baseball season has been an absolute joy to watch. Here’s to more entertaining months ahead.

There are many ways to bet on a baseball game. One of the most exciting ways is No Run First Inning Bets (NRFI). Really, it’s as simple as it sounds; you can bet on whether either team will score a run in the first inning. Especially when scoring is lower than normal, it’s more likely that a run is not scored, leading to prices generally being juiced towards the “under” taking place. Even with that, the most logical bets are usually to side with the under, as you’ll see here!


Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates

What makes a quality baseball game? For me, the pitching matchup plays a significant role; in this case, that box is checked, and then some.

At this point, does Brewers ace Corbin Burnes need any sort of introduction? The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner has continued to be absurdly dominant with a 26.7% K-BB and 2.69 skill interactive ERA (SIERA) and may very well be the best pitcher in baseball and the most complete pitcher as well. Let’s just put it this way: he combines swinging strikes with called strikes (33.5% called-strike + whiff/CSW) as well as any pitcher in baseball, limits walks (5.7%) extremely well, and has a projected HR/9 from THE BAT projections under 1. Against the third-worst offense based on weighted-runs-created-plus (wRC+), this feels as close to a lock as you can have in baseball.

That places all of the pressure on the top of the first inning. That being said, there is reason to have faith in the Pirates’ young starter Roansy Contreras. Per Eno Sarris’ predictive stuff+ (112.3) and pitching+ (101.1) model, Contreras rates as an above-average starter, and the results (30% CSW) mainly check out. How many pitchers throw a 96.3 MPH with nearly two extra inches of vertical movement compared to average, particularly from a low release height, while mixing in a wipeout slider (41.1% whiff)? Not many; while he may not pitch long into this outing, his per-pitch effectiveness ought to be strong.

The Brewers rank just 18th in wRC+ over the past 30 days, while PNC Park suppresses home runs at the fifth-highest rate. Any game featuring Burnes, particularly against the Pirates, will lead to a steeper NRFI price, but, in this case, it is well worth it. Take advantage of what should be the lowest-scoring game of the day.

Bet: Brewers at Pirates NRFI (-138 on FanDuel)

Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers

Well, this certainly isn’t a preview of this year’s ALCS! These two teams enter Friday with a combined record of just 56-92, thus positioning themselves for top picks in next year’s draft. While these types of matchups don’t usually lead to the most entertaining games, it does lead to lower-scoring affairs, which is perfect here.

These two teams rank 27th (Royals) and 30th (Tigers) in runs per game. How about wRC+? 22nd and 30th. No matter how you slice it, these are two of the least-productive offenses in the league; fading them is generally a profitable strategy. Insert any pitching matchup here, and it’s likely that not a lot of runs will be scored.

However, this isn’t the most exciting pitching matchup, but it will get the job done. Royals starter Brad Keller may not strike many batters out (15.3% K). Still, he is limiting walks (7.8% BB) for the most part, while he is inducing a ground ball on over half of the batted balls against him, which is important when playing behind the 9th best defense in Outs Above Average (OAA) this season. As a pitcher who features his slider and four-seamer predominantly, facing a Tigers offense that ranks in the bottom-three in runs above average in both, and has been historically ineffective overall, is a plus.

Meanwhile, all indications are that Michael Pineda will be activated from the injured list to make this start. While it is always risky to bank on a pitcher coming off of injury, he was effective (4.36 SIERA) just a year ago and limited walks (4.6% BB) very well. Comerica Park limits home runs more than any other ballpark, according to Baseball Savant, and with most of the damage against him coming via the long ball, that is significant.

Really, this could have been stopped after demonstrating the issues of both offenses. That being said, Keller and Pineda offer enough intrigue to feel even more comfortable about this pick. In what should be a tight, low-scoring affair, expect that to show right away in the first inning.

Bet: Royals at Tigers NRFI 

Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals

After playing it a bit safe to start, let’s get risky here.

It’s been a rough season for Marlins’ young lefty Trevor Rogers, who was an All-Star as a rookie just a season ago and has struggled to the tune of a 4.65 SIERA. That being said, he’s coming off of back-to-back games with a SIERA under 3.30 and a K-BB of 19 or higher, despite facing the talented Mets offense in both games. Per Eno Sarris, his stuff+ (105.9) rating is actually higher than it last year (102), meaning that it’s mainly a control problem, which is starting to correct itself. In other words, a breakout appears imminent, and there’s no better time for that to continue against a Nationals offense that not only is scoring the seventh-fewest runs in baseball but also is the worst team against changeups- Rogers’ signature pitch.

Speaking on intriguing young starters, we’re already seeing Josiah Gray overcome early struggles to be amid a breakout. The 24-year-old has a 3.35 SIERA in his past four starts with a 20.8% K-BB and, for the year, has performed well overall with 4.09 SIERA and a 25.9% strikeout rate. The Marlins rank in the bottom-ten in on-base percentage, essentially making this a “home run or bust’ situation for him, though they’ll have to do so without Jazz Chisholm at the top of their lineup, which is a substantial blow.

This may not be the most likely NRFI situation. That being said, given the intrigue of both of these pitchers and potential concerns with both offenses, it is well worth it at the price. Hopefully, this turns into a massive pitching duel, simply for the sake of these young pitchers, and that all starts in the first inning. Let’s speak it into existence!

Bet: Marlins at Nationals NRFI (-104 on FanDuel)


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