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NRFI Picks For MLB | May 17


Thomas Snodgrass

Updated: May 17, 2024

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Over the last two days, the NRFI record has fallen to 10-11, with yesterday’s six-game slate seeing three games record a scoreless first inning.

There is a full 15-game slate for Friday’s MLB action, so NRFI bettors will certainly have more chances to avoid any YRFIs, or more chances to wager on a YRFI, if they believe the recent trend will continue.

All three of Thursday’s YRFIs were a result of a first inning home run, with Pittsburgh Pirates’ Edward Olivares, New York Yankees’ Anthony Volpe, and Cincinnati Reds’ Will Benson all going yard.

There’s a trio of well-known sluggers.

For Volpe and Benson, their homers came from the leadoff spot, scratching a run on the board before a single out was recorded.

NRFIs can go down quickly, with just one swing of the bat, but considering the high rate of YRFIs lately, the first-inning pendulum should swing back towards the NRFI eventually.

That day could be Friday, with 13 of the 15 games being the first of a new series, the pitchers may have the upper hand early as the offenses figure out the best way to attack the opposing pitching staffs.

Or there could be a leadoff homer that dusts the NRFI.

BestOdds EDGE is the ultimate tool to help me decipher which NRFIs are worth placing a wager.

Let’s examine tonight’s MLB schedule, and with BestOdds EDGE, attempt to crack the NRFI code.

As always, all NRFI picks are paired with the best odds.

Seattle Mariners vs. Baltimore Orioles

The Seattle Mariners visit the Baltimore Orioles for Game 1 of a three-game series on Friday, and the pitching matchup between Mariners’ Bryce Miller and Orioles’ lefty John Means looks like a strong matchup on paper.

Means (1-0, 3.09 ERA) will take the ball in the top of the first inning, and will look to keep the top of Seattle’s lineup quiet.

That may not be too difficult a task considering how poorly the Mariners have hit in the first inning over their last 10 games.

Here’s a first inning offensive comparison from BestOdds EDGE.

Seattle has hit just .152 in their last ten trips to the plate in the first inning, and over the course of the 2024 season, they are hitting just .207 and have scored a run in the first in only nine of their 44 games.

Miller (3-3, 2.66 ERA) will naturally have a difficult task of keeping the Orioles off the board in the first, simply because the top of Baltimore’s lineup usually features some combination of Gunnar Henderson (.259, 12 HR, 27 RBI), Adley Rutschman (.314, 9 HR, 27 RBI), Anthony Santander (.220, 7 HR, 25 RBI), and Ryan Mountcastle (.272, 6 HR, 18 RBI).

The Orioles are great at manufacturing runs, but Miller has shown a tendency to keep offenses cool in the early going.

Here’s a first inning side-by-side between Miller and Means, courtesy of BestOdds EDGE.

Neither starter has allowed a single run in the first inning in 10 combined starts this season, and Seattle enters the day with 30 NRFIs in 44 games; only the Chicago White Sox have put up 30 NRFIs as well.

When looking at these two pitchers’ peripheral stats, this NRFI opportunity looks even more glaring.

Those are some microscopic numbers produced by opposing offenses in the first inning against the two starters.

Means and Miller should be popping the catcher’s mitt in the opening frame tonight at Camden Yards.

Pick: No Run First Inning (NRFI)

Best Odds: (-115) FanDuel

New York Mets vs. Miami Marlins

The Miami Marlins host their NL East rival New York Mets tonight, and Miami’s Jesus Luzardo will toe the slab at first pitch.

Luzardo (0-3, 5.97 ERA) has been a mixed bag this season, and his results through six starts have been discouraging.

Although, according to BestOdds EDGE, Luzardo has been dominant in the first inning.

In his last five first-inning appearances, Luzardo has allowed just one baserunner!

In 31.2 innings of work in 2024, Luzardo has allowed a .239 opponent average and a 1.33 WHIP, which are not the worst numbers; even his FIP (fielder independent pitching) of 4.28 suggest that his ERA should be much lower than 5.97, so he may be dealing with bad luck.

It’s been all good luck in the first though, as Luzardo’s opponent average in the opening frame is just .056, paired with a 0.50 WHIP.

Luzardo should remain lights out in the first inning against the Mets underperforming top of the batting order.

New York will send Christian Scott to the mound in the bottom of the first, and Scott (0-1, 2.84 ERA) has picked up back-to-back NRFIs to start his MLB career.

Those scoreless opening innings for Scott came against a few decent lineups as well (Atlanta Braves, Tampa Bay Rays), so I’m expecting to keep the Marlins’ quiet in the first.

Miami has hit just .225 as a team this season (26th in MLB), and in the first inning they are hitting a measly .209.

Pick: No Run First Inning (NRFI)

Best Odds: (-125) bet365

Detroit Tigers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

When the Arizona Diamondbacks take the field in the top of the first, they will be handing the ball over to starting pitcher Ryne Nelson.

In six starts this season, Nelson has recorded an ERA of 5.33, with a .343 opposing average and a 1.70 WHIP.

Those are some ugly numbers.

In all six of his first inning appearances, Nelson has posted a 0.00 ERA with a .150 opponent average and a 0.83 WHIP.

Those are some pretty numbers.

Clearly, Nelson has better stuff in the first inning then loses it as the game goes on.

Also, the Detroit Tigers have been awful offensively in the first inning of late, and they could hand over another clean first inning.

Detroit is hitting just .206 in the first inning this season, and according to BestOdds EDGE, the Tigers are hitting just .086 over their last 10 games in the opening frame.

In the bottom half of the inning, I’m expecting Detroit’s Tarik Skubal to keep Arizona’s bats quiet.

According to BestOdds EDGE, Skubal has let plenty of batters reach base in the first inning.

Skubal (5-0, 2.02 ERA) has actually allowed a run in three of his last five first innings, but I don’t see that trend growing.

The zero that Skubal produced in the first inning against the Houston Astros in his previous outing looks like a sign of progress moving forward.

Pick: No Run First Inning (NRFI)

Best Odds: (-120) Caesars


About the author

A fan of both the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers, which is rare! Thomas provides sports betting content with the intent to educate and enter...

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