No run first inning is becoming increasingly popular MLB prop bet

Betting on no runs to be scored in the first inning — No Run First Inning, or NRFI for short — is a bet that’s rapidly gaining popularity.

You can bet the downside of a run being scored in the first inning — a YRFI — but the NRFI has become a favorite of many MLB bettors.

Why has this particular prop garnered so much attention?

Because it’s one of the funniest and most electrifying bets in esports. It’s a short and exciting bet that combines a mad sweat with instant gratification when it wins. With the NRFI, you don’t have to wait four hours for a baseball bet to be cleared. Instead, you only need six quick outs early in the game.

There are two sides to a first innings bet.

Let’s take an example from last season – Marlins (with Sandy Alcantara) versus the Rays (Shane McLanahan). Both pitchers pitched well and the total in the game was only 7. So no run scored was the favorite in the first inning.

Yes, there will be a run: +120

No, there will be no run: -150

Sandy Alcantara
Sandy Alcantara
USA TODAY sports

Most books offer this bet, albeit under a variety of similar names. Given that the first innings prop market will not be as robust or efficient as the full game market, it is imperative that you shop online to get the best NRFI value.

When we bet on NRFI we want to find games with two great starters and two bad lineups, right? Not necessarily.

Good pitchers give us bad NRFI odds and bad lineups give us bad NRFI odds, and betting on NRFIs in those situations just won’t be profitable. Instead, you must “center” it. The best NRFI bets feature an underrated pitcher with good NRFI stats and an explosive lineup that breaks down. This way we can get odds that add value in those specific situations.

When we break a sweat on an NRFI bet, we want to avoid trouble. These include walks, singles, extra base hits, wild pitches, and most importantly, the dreaded NRFI-killing solo home run.

With that in mind, there are a few things to look for in a pitcher when evaluating NRFI bets.

First, a pitcher who can dodge base runners is ideal. As such, we should target pitchers with a low WHIP, meaning they are good at dodging guys on base.

Second, a high strikeout rate. A pitcher that eliminates many players serves a dual purpose in NRFI betting. First, they are not prone to contact and therefore avoid problems with ground ball variance. Second, if the pitcher is allowing base runners, hitting guys is a great way to get out of a jam without allowing runs on victim hits.

Third – and this might be the most important statistic when evaluating NRFI pitchers – we need a low home run rate. The solo home run is the most devastating way to lose an NRFI bet, and that’s why we have to target pitchers who don’t hit the long ball often.

Also, I always look at a pitcher’s first-inning ERA before betting on an NRFI. Baseball Reference tracks individual innings stats for each pitcher and is a great reference point for NRFI betting.

The ideal NRFI offense is an explosive offense that falters. This year’s Yankees team is the perfect example.

We can find other breaking offenses by looking at the Team Splits leaderboards on FanGraphs and sorting by the last seven days.

Finally, always consider the injury report when evaluating an NRFI bet. When there’s a key injury at the top of the lineup, it offers one of the biggest NRFI advantages. No run first inning is becoming increasingly popular MLB prop bet


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