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Our first NRFI bet of the weekend comes from the Good Land as the Nationals take on the Brewers. While we have a lopsided pitching matchup, we see a quiet first-inning coming tonight. One reason for that is the offenses we have here. The Nationals have been in the bottom ten of the league in runs scored for most of the season, while Milwaukee’s offense has been inconsistent. While the Brewers have been swinging the bat better of late, much of their damage has come after the first time through the lineup. Milwaukee has scored a first inning just once in their previous seven games, and we see that trend continuing tonight.
The biggest concern for this NRFI bet tonight is Nationals’ starting pitcher Trevor Williams (6-10, 5.44 ERA). The veteran has been consistently bad all season and has a 7.02 ERA since July 1. While we expect him to have another rough outing tonight, we don’t think that will begin in the first inning. One reason for that is his history against Brewers leadoff man Christian Yelich, who has a .118 batting average against Williams (17 at-bats). He has less experience against the Brewers' next two hitters, but we think that works to his advantage for tonight’s opening frame.
We are comfortable taking the risk with Williams because Milwaukee will have Corbin Burnes (9-8, 3.47 ERA) on the mound today. The former Cy Young winner has struggled with his control a bit this year, but he has started to lock in ahead of the playoffs. Burnes didn’t allow a hit across eight scoreless innings against the Yankees in his last start. It was a vintage Burnes performance, and it will give him momentum coming into tonight. Combine that with the fact that opponents have a .190 batting average the first time they fave Burnes, and you can see why we love this bet.
The Rangers got some bad news this week when it was revealed that Max Scherzer will miss the remainder of the season. However, that has not stopped their offense from re-emerging late in the year. After a cold streak that lasted for well over a month, they have been on an absolute tear over the last week. Texas has scored 47 runs across their previous six games, and we see them posting another considerable number tonight.
The red-hot Rangers lineup will have their hands full this evening with Tanner Bibee (10-4, 3.03 ERA) on the hill. While he has been fantastic over the last two months, he has been running into trouble in the first inning. Bibee has allowed a first-inning run to score in three of his previous five starts, including his last two. Those have not come against talented offenses, as those opening frame hiccups included the Angels, Twins, and Tigers. The Rangers are lightyears ahead of all three teams, which will spell trouble for Bibee early in this one.
Dane Dunning (10-6, 3.91 ERA) has played a critical role in the Rangers rotation in 2023. However, he has now been the same pitching since the beginning of July, posting a 5.31 ERA during that span. While that is plenty of reason to take the YRFI bet, it's not all. Like Bibee, Dunning has allowed a run to score in the opening frame in three of his previous five starts. While the Guardians' offense is underwhelming, they should be able to capitalize on Dunning’s struggles tonight.
Betting Kansas City to not score in the first inning is one of the safest bets in baseball. The Royals rank twenty-sixth in runs scored and home runs and twentieth in batting average. They just don’t have the bats to score runs consistently, and it has led them to lead the league in losses. The Royals have scored a run in the first inning just once since September 4, and we don’t see that improving tonight against a stellar young Astros pitcher.
Rookie JP France (11-5, 3.61 ERA) has become vital to the Astros rotation. The team was hit by a slew of injuries to their pitching staff, and France has been one of the young arms that have stepped up. While he had a rough August, most of his problems have come at home, where he is 5-3 with a 4.59 ERA. However, France is 6-2 with a 2.60 ERA when away from Houston. Kansas City isn’t a challenging environment to pitch in, especially when the team's season is already decided. Look for him to cruise, starting with a quiet first inning.
As bad as the Royals have been, Cole Ragans (6-4, 3.01 ERA) has been a bright spot for them in 2023. The 25-year-old was moved into the rotation on July 15 and responded by posting a 1.69 ERA since. He has looked fantastic, and his strikeout numbers have skyrocketed. We see him keeping that hot streak going, especially considering the Astros have scored ten runs over their last four games.
Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid and has turned that into a successful career. He cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams along with his Alma Mater Arizona State. He specializes in baseball betting, but has experience in football, basketball, and hockey as well. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children.More info on Michael Savio
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