Is there anything better than the start of the weekend? Now, we all can sit back, relax, and enjoy some baseball!
There are many ways to bet on a baseball game. One of the most exciting ways, now, are No Run First Inning Bets (NRFI). Really, it’s as simple as it sounds; you can bet on whether a run will be scored by either team in the first inning. Especially at a time when scoring is at an all-time low, it’s more likely than not that a run is not scored, leading to prices 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!
St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds
It has been rough going for the Reds so far. Not only do they possess a 2-11 record, but they currently have a 49 weighted-runs-created-plus (wRC+). For perspective, that is 51% worse than league average! Especially with last year’s rookie of the year Jonathan India out of the lineup, it’s easy to fade a lineup scoring 2.85 runs per game.
While the Cardinals have been performing adequately (110 wRC+, 11th) offensively, they’ll face a difficult challenge in Hunter Greene. So far, the 22-year-old has been quite impressive with a 31% strikeout rate and 4.8% walk rate. While that is likely unsustainable – a 66% fastball rate is extremely high – it’s reasonable to expect him to perform well in the first inning, when his velocity should be at peak form; he has a 44.4% strikeout rate the first time through the order, for perspective. While it is a small sample size, it does add up with what you’d expect. Given how poor the Reds lineup is and the narrative around Green being able to work effectively the first time through the order, I’ll side with no run being scored here.
Bet: STL at CIN NRFI (-130)
San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals
A pitching matchup of Sammy Long and Patrick Corbin doesn’t necessarily make me confident that there won’t be runs scored early on in Washington today. Yet, it’s hard to trust either of these offenses right now.
Both the Giants (92 wRC+, 20th) and Nationals (78 wRC+, 26th) have struggled offensively this season. Sticking with the Giants, their lineup takes a notable hit vs left-handed pitching; Mike Yastrzemski and Joe Pederson have to get subbed out, while facing lefties isn’t necessarily a positive for Brandon Belt either. This isn’t the most ideal pick based on who the pitchers are, but, for one inning, I’ll bank on them holding in down against two subpar lineups.
Bet: SF at WSH NRFI (-120)
New York Mets at Arizona Diamondbacks
I will admit this is a scary pick. The Mets currently have the second-highest wRC+ (128) in baseball, and are scoring 4.78 runs per game. That being said, I have confidence in Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zac Gallen.
Coming into the season, I had one request for Gallen; throw the ball up in the zone more often. His arsenal consists of four pitches with plus vertical movement, but he wasn’t able to miss bats (9.1% swinging-strike rate) last year, as he located down in the zone too often. In his first start, though, he was locating up in the zone (2.68 ft average pitch height) more often! This was expected to happen with new pitching coach Brett Strom coming over from Houston, and it is exciting to see it come to fruition.
As he continues to build back up after being delayed by a shoulder injury, Gallen may only go about five innings, but his velocity was where you’d want it to be in his start, indicating that his effectiveness should be fine. Meanwhile, I’m not worried about a Diamondbacks offense that has the third-lowest wRC+ (74) in all of baseball. That’s what makes this very appealing; if Gallen can through the first, it’s very likely this bet hits. I’ll take that chance.
Bet: NYM at ARI NRFI (-125)
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