Happy Friday, folks! After a short week, it’s time for the weekend once again, and there’s no better way to celebrate than with some baseball. Fortunately, including Yankees-Red Sox, there are plenty of exciting matchups to keep you entertained.
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 still lower than in previous seasons, 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!
Tampa Bay Rays at Cincinnati Reds
Looking for something to do around 7:00 PM eastern time? If so, I highly recommend tuning in to this game. Trust me; you won’t want to miss it.
Right now, there is a pretty convincing case that Shane McClanahan is, at least on a per-pitch basis, the best pitcher in all of baseball. I mean, take a look at his extraordinary level of production this season:
- Skill Interactive ERA (SIERA): 2.16 (1st)
- Strikeout Rate: 35.9% (1st)
- K-BB%: 31.4% (1st)
- Swinging-Strike Rate: 16.8% 1st
- Called-Strike + Whiff Rate (CSW%): 1st
Yeah, he’s pretty good at this baseball thing. McClanahan not only generates more whiffs than any pitcher in baseball, but he limits walks (4.8% BB) exceptionally while also inducing a ground ball on over 50% of the batted balls against him. Add it all together, and you have arguably the most difficult pitcher to face in the big leagues. He’s yet to allow more than three earned runs in a start this season, and that almost certainly won’t change against a Reds offense with the fourth-worst weighted-runs-created-plus (wRC+) in all of baseball.
To boot, the Reds will also send out a very talented pitcher on the mound. It was initially a bumpy road for Luis Castillo after initially being delayed due to injury. Since regaining his previous velocity on May 20th in Toronto, however, he’s sporting a 3.50 SIERA and an 18% K-BB, which are the types of numbers that will have almost every playoff contender salivating come the trade deadline. Like McClanahan, albeit to a lesser extent, he combined a strong K-BB ratio with a track record inducing ground balls on over half the batted balls against him, which is always a profile worth betting on.
It’s always difficult to expect a low-scoring game in Cincinnati. That being said, McClanahan is the definition of an ace, while Castillo should do just fine against an offense ranked 16th in wRC+ for the season. At the end of the day, with the whiffs these pitchers can generate, particularly McClanahan, and the ground balls they induce, how much does the ballpark matter? In fact, that is the exact type of concern to exploit here.
Bet: Rays at Reds NRFI (-148 on FanDuel)
Miami Marlins at New York Mets
On paper, a matchup between a first-place and fourth-place team in the same division wouldn’t seem particularly close, especially with an 11-game gap between these two teams. However, that isn’t the case here. Not only are the Marlins surging, but they’re in a good position for run prevention here, making this a low-scoring game that comes down to the wire.
He may not be Sandy Alcantara, but Pablo Lopez has been pretty impressive in his own right. The 26-year-old boasts a 3.59 SIERA and 17.5% K-BB, both around career norms. Plus, with a career-high 13.4% swinging-strike rate, you can make a strong case he’s been a bit unlucky in terms of his current 24.6% strikeout rate. Like Luis Castillo, the ability to combine whiffs with a lot of ground balls (47%) is a strong combination, especially since Lopez has historically been very strong at limiting free passes. The Mets quietly rank in the bottom ten in wRC+ over the past 30 days, and their woes could continue here.
It’s always a bit risky to have faith in a pitcher coming back after a more extended lay-off than anticipated, though, to be fair, Mets starter Chris Bassitt only missed one start while on the COVID-19 list. Either way, with Jacob deGrom, still injured and Max Scherzer previously out for an extended period of time, it’s hard to overstate the value Bassitt has provided for the Mets this season. In 15 starts, he’s performed quite well with a career-best 3.50 SIERA, which correlates strongly with a notable increase in his slider usage; the pitch, with a 31.9% whiff rate and .245 weighted on-base average (wOBA) allowed, has been phenomenal for him. Let me know if you have heard this before; he combines a strong K-BB ratio (18.7%) with more than enough ground balls (47.3%), leading to a very stable profile. The Marlins’ offense is still reeling without Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Jorge Solar at the top of their lineup, and Bassitt will look to take advantage.
This is a tremendous pitching matchup, while both offenses have not performed up to their capabilities as of late. The result? Few runs being scored, including a very quick and scoreless first inning. If you want to watch this game, you better not tune in too late; with these two pitchers on the mound, this one will surely go by quickly.
Bet: Marlins at Mets NRFI (-138 on FanDuel)
Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers
Generally, it would be easy to expect the first-place Brewers to strengthen their playoff position against a Pirates team with the second-worst run differential in all of baseball. That said, Pittsburgh has been a feisty team this season, so Milwaukee won’t want to look past this series.
To prevent that, the Brewers will call on youngster Aaron Ashby to get back into the form he had displayed previously. Yes, the 24-year-old did allow four earned runs in 3.2 innings against Pittsburgh last weekend, but that also came with a 31.3% K-BB and a 2.26 SIERA; poor luck certainly played a major role there. Plus, it was his first game back from the injured list, and it’s hard to look past what the lefty has been able to accomplish this season. Overall, he not only has a 3.24 SIERA but does in the same method that we clearly should have an affinity more; missing bats (13.2% swinging-strike rate) and inducing a lot of ground balls (62.7%). We saw no dip in velocity from Ashby coming back from injury, and he should be ready to thrive against the third-worst offense in terms of wRC+ this season.
We’ve definitely seen the Brewers, who are tied for 14th in wRC+, perform better offensively as of late. That being said, Pirates starter JT Brubaker should be able to succeed this season. The 28-year-old got off to a difficult start to the season after the shortened spring training, but since his first two starts, he’s been productive with a 3.95 SIERA. After a difficult season last season, Brubaker dramatically cut down on the usage of his four-seam fastball in favor of sinkers while changing the movement profile on nearly every one of his five pitches- changes that have only become magnified as the season goes on. In other words, with no discernible weakness in his skillset, there isn’t much reason not to have faith in Brubaker, particularly on a lower price for the NRFI than there should be. As is the case with most Brewers games, expect a game with plenty of pitching and defense, leading to the type of first inning we’re looking for.
Bet: Pirates at Brewers NRFI (-122 on FanDuel)
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The post Top MLB No Runs First Inning (NRFI) Bets & Matchups for Friday, July 8th (2022) appeared first on BettingPros.