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NRFI Picks For MLB | May 15


Thomas Snodgrass

Updated: May 15, 2024

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It was a NRFI extravaganza on Tuesday!

Of the 15 games that were played (sans the postponed Blue Jays-Orioles game), the NRFI record was 11-4, making the combined NRFI record on Monday and Tuesday 20-8.

We may have to dodge some YRFI bullets as we come to the end of a few three-game series on Wednesday. 

The MLB action for Wednesday will feature every club across 15 games, so there will be plenty of NRFI options to choose from.

There has been a few games I’m going to avoid simply because their starting pitcher has been tagged early.

One of those games is the Reds-Diamondbacks matchup, as BestOdds EDGE shows just how rough things have been in the first inning for Cincinnati’s lefty, Andrew Abbott.

Yowza, that’s bad.

Abbott has allowed an unsightly .359 opponent average in the first inning, and has surrendered plenty of baserunners, currently holding a 1.88 WHIP in the opening frame.

The best odds for a YRFI in the Cincy-Arizona contest is -111 at FanDuel.

BestOdds EDGE can assist bettors in NRFI bets and the data and insights found on EDGE can assist bettors in finding YRFI bets, too.

Let’s scour through the MLB schedule for Wednesday and find some quiet first innings.

As always, all NRFI selections are accompanied by the best odds!

Kansas City Royals vs. Seattle Mariners

Seattle Mariners’ pitcher Brandon Woo takes the ball in the top of the first, and in his last outing (his first of the season), Woo held the Oakland Athletics scoreless in the first, making him 1-0 on NRFIs in 2024.

In his pitcher-friendly home park in Seattle, I’m expecting Woo to keep the Royals silent early again on Wednesday.

After just one appearance, Woo doesn’t have much of a track record this season, but in 2023, the first inning was a bit of a struggle, allowing a .250 opponent average and a 1.33 WHIP.

Considering that Kansas City is hitting .216 as a club in the first inning over their last 10 games, Woo may be able to dance out of any trouble.

Also, Seattle has Woo on a pitch count as they build his arm back up, so I’d expect him to try and keep things tidy in his limited workload today.

In the bottom half of the first, Royals’ Alec Marsh will step to the mound, and Marsh has done well in the first in his six starts, allowing a run just once, and working on three-straight scoreless openings.

Marsh has allowed some traffic in the first, as evidenced by his .292 opponent average and 1.33 WHIP, but BestOdds EDGE shows me that the Mariners have found very little offensive success in the first inning and Seattle could make work easier for Marsh.

Here’s a look at the Mariners and Royals’ offensive showing in the first inning over the last 10 games, courtesy of BestOdds EDGE.

Seattle has scored a run in the first in just nine of 43 games this season, which is 20.9% of games.

Marsh and Woo have not had the strongest first inning track records, but they’re both facing offenses that are falling back offensively in the earliest portion of the game.

Pick: No Run First Inning (NRFI)

Best Odds: (-115) Caesars

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox

Red Sox right hander Tanner Houck will oppose the Tampa Bay Rays’ lineup in the top of the first, and as BestOdds EDGE shows, the first inning has been kind to Houck.

Houck’s sub-1.00 WHIP and .133 opponent average has resulted in a NRFI record of 7-1 for Boston’s starting pitcher, including five straight.

Over the last 10 games, the Rays’ lineup is hitting a solid .261 in the first inning and their .358 on base percentage is fourth-best in the MLB in that time.

A few of Tampa Bay’s hitters, such as Yandy Diaz and Josh Lowe have fared well against Houck in the past, with Diaz going 2-for-5 (.400) and Lowe going 3-for-3 (1.000) against the Red Sox pitcher.

The Rays picked up a run in the first yesterday, on a solo homer from Lowe, so Houck may need to pitch around that hot bat.

Houck will need to remain in top form in the first to keep the Rays off the board.

In the bottom of the first, Taj Bradley will receive the ball, and in his lone start of the season, Bradley silenced the New York Yankees’ bats in the opening inning on Friday.

Bradley allowed a walk to Aaron Judge, but picked up two strikeouts, one on the leadoff hitter Anthony Volpe and the other on Alex Verdugo.

In 2023, Bradley produced 16 scoreless first innings in 21 starts and held opposing hitters to a .225 batting average in the opening frame.

Also, Rafael Devers, arguably Boston’s most impactful bat in the middle of their lineup, has gone 0-for-5 in his career against Bradley.

Pick: No Run First Inning (NRFI)

Best Odds: (-120) bet365

New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins

Today’s pitching matchup between Yankees’ Marcus Stroman and Twins’ Pablo Lopez looks interesting on paper, but in the first inning, these two pitchers have been struggling to limit the damage.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison from BestOdds EDGE, depicting Lopez and Stroman’s first-inning numbers in their last two starts.

With both pitchers sporting a .300 or higher opposing batting average in the first inning and high WHIPs indicating a bunch of traffic on the bases, some may expect this to be an early offensive jump for both clubs.

But, on Wednesday, I’m expecting these two righties to bounce back.

Lopez is coming off a perfect first inning against the Seattle Mariners in his previous start, and he has now allowed just two earned runs in his last 12.1 innings pitched.

As a top-of-the-rotation arm for Minnesota, the Twins need Lopez to be at the top of his game, especially against a loaded lineup like the Yankees.

The one big bat in New York’s lineup that has clipped Lopez often is Juan Soto.

In 27 career at-bats against Lopez, Soto is hitting .370 with three home runs and six RBI. As long as Lopez finds a way to get past Soto, he should be able to end the first inning unscathed.

Minnesota’s manager, Rocco Baldelli, is constantly tinkering with the lineup, with different leadoff hitters stepping up in the first.

With a righty like Stroman taking the mound, I would expect some left handed bats such as Edouard Julien and Trevor Larnach to make an early appearance.

Larnach has homered off Stroman in his one career at-bat against Stroman, and Julien has yet to face the Yankees’ starter, but with such limited samples, it can be hard to gauge the potential success against Stroman early on.

In eight first inning appearances, Stroman has walked five batters, resulting in a 1.38 WHIP in the first, but his .207 opposing batting average suggests that if he can cut down the free passes, then he should be able to cut down any run manufacturing, too.

We’ve got two strong pitchers taking the mound in Minnesota, and I’m backing the idea of a pitchers’ duel occurring at Target Field.

Pick: No Run First Inning (NRFI)

Best Odds: (-115) bet365


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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