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Best NRFI Bets This Weekend, September 9-10

Written by: Michael Savio
Published September 9, 2023
13 min read
Mariners vs Rays September Predictions

Getting off to a strong start is vital to any team in a Major League Baseball game. But a productive first inning is crucial for the teams in playoff races in the final few weeks of this season. Here, we make our NRFI and YRFI picks for this weekend’s games, featuring several teams chasing down playoff spots.

Seattle Mariners vs Tampa Bay Rays - Bryan Woo (R) vs Aaron Civale (R)

Over 0.5 Runs (-135 at DraftKings Sportsbook)

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The Mariners and Rays are set to meet again Saturday, and we are going to cash in. The game features two fantastic offenses: the Rays dominating all season and the Mariners getting hot at the right time. While the pitching matchup is solid, they will face tough challenges tonight, especially in the first inning. It is also worth noting that YRFI bets have hit in eight of the Mariner's last ten games. Sometimes, it's as easy as following the trend, but it's not the only reason we like the over here.

Bryan Woo (2-4, 4.50 ERA) will get the start for Seattle this afternoon. The rookie has become a solid starter at the back of the Mariners’ rotation, but he is still adjusting to the big league level. While he posted a 1.69 ERA in his three August starts, he faced three of the league’s worst teams in the A’s, White Sox, and Angels. Woo is coming off a brutal start against the Reds, allowing five runs over five innings. Tampa is an offense that tends to strike early, and they should have no problem doing so against the Rookie today.

The Rays have one of their best arms on the mound tonight, Aaron Civale (7-3, 2.76 ERA). His stats show his effectiveness, but he has been far easier to hit at home (3.48 ERA) and during day games (3.43 ERA). Conversely, Seattle’s offense has been far better on the road this year, where their average is ten points higher, and they have hit 105 of their 187 home runs. Civale has looked great this season, but the situation he will enter today suggests a rough first inning.

Arizona Diamondbacks vs Chicago Cubs - Merrill Kelly (R) vs Justin Steele (L)

Under 0.5 Runs (-150 at FanDuel Sportsbook)

While the odds aren’t great, this is the safest NRFI bet of the weekend. Both teams have fantastic pitchers on the mound, and the Cubs red-hot offense has cooled off in the desert. They scored just three runs over the first two games and will be facing a good D-backs starter tonight. While they were scoring a lot of runs coming into the series, Chicago has scored a first-inning run just once in their previous five games. We’re not sure if they’ll be as ineffective again tonight, but we expect them to take at least an inning to get going.

One big reason for that belief is that Arizona will have Merrill Kelly (11-6, 3.22 ERA) starting. The 34-year-old is having the best season of his career, and he has been fantastic in the second half of the season. While an ugly start on the road against the Dodgers has inflated his ERA, that was the first time he had allowed more than three runs in a game since June 24. He has allowed a first-inning just once since then, and we see him adding to that streak today.

While Merrill Kelly has been great, Cubs’ starter Justin Steele (16-3, 2.55 ERA) has been pitching at an elite level all season. He is coming off back-to-back scoreless starts (14 innings), and he has not allowed a first-inning run since July 16. Steele has a  2.25 ERA at home and a 2.26 ERA during day games, which gives us more than enough reason to take the over here.

Milwaukee Brewers vs New York Yankees - Wade Miley (L) vs Michael King (R)

Under 0.5 Runs (-115 at Caesars Sportsbook)

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Chances are that you don’t think “ace” when you hear Wade Miley and Michael Kings’ names. However, both are having fantastic seasons for their respective franchises, and they will have favorable matchups today. The Yankees lineup has been incredibly disappointing, and the Brewers only show up occasionally, which included last night. Both teams rank in the bottom four of the league in batting average, and we see them struggling to hit these pitchers tonight.

At 36 years old, Wade Miley (7-4, 3.33 ERA) is having another fantastic season. The veteran has been far better in the second half of his career, and the Brewers have benefited from that in 2023. While he doesn’t dazzle statistically, Miley’s ERA shows how good she has been at the back of the Milwaukee rotation. He has a .200 opponent batting average the first time through the lineup, and we think that combines with a bad Yankees offense to give us a quiet first inning.

While Michael King (4-5, 2.88 ERA, 6 SV) has not been a full-time starter for the Yankees, he has been great in 2023. The 28-year-old has allowed just one run over his last three games (11 ⅔ innings) and is coming off his best start of the season. King allowed just one run over five innings on the road against Houston last weekend, stifling one of the top offenses in the league. The Brewers' offense is inconsistent, and we see a quiet outing for them today against King.

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Michael Savio

467 Articles

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.

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