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The first MLB NRFI bet worth taking on Friday comes from the afternoon game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs. In that NL Central rivalry game, we like things to remain scoreless going into the second inning. That has a lot to do with the pitching matchup in this game, as both teams are sending high-level starting pitching to the mound in what should be a low-scoring game.
St. Louis is sending Jack Flaherty to the mound for this game, who enters with a 7-5 record and a 4.29 ERA. Chicago, meanwhile, will send Justin Steele to the hill with his 9-3 record and 2.96 ERA. Both of them have high ceilings and should be able to use their high-end talent to slow down the two lineups that will feature in this contest.
On top of the pitching situation going into this game, the Cubs also average the second-fewest first inning runs of any MLB team so far this season. Only the New York Mets have averaged fewer runs in the first inning this season. That trend will continue here with a scoreless first inning that will help us cash our first NRFI bet of the day.
The next first inning total we have our eye on for Friday is a first inning over, as the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics should be able to combine for at least a run in the opening frame. The first inning under for this game is heavily juiced to the NRFI side, thanks in large part to Framber Valdez being on the mound for the Astros. But there are a few reasons to go contrarian and bet on the YRFI.
First, the A’s will have to hold the Astros scoreless if they are going to help the NRFI cash in this contest. That will be hard for them to accomplish with JP Sears on the mound, who enters this game with a 1-6 record and 3.99 ERA. Expect the Astros to put pressure on Sears to score in the first inning and help themselves to win this game that they need in the AL West race.
As a whole this season, the Athletics have been one of the worst teams in baseball in holding opponents scoreless in the first inning. They rank 22nd in the league in opponent NRFI percentage this season, which will bode well for Houston here. Expect the Astros to take the lead in the top of the first inning with their dangerous offense.
Last up on our MLB NRFI/YRFI card for Friday, we go to Boston, where the New York Mets visit the Boston Red Sox. In this game, the conditions call for an NRFI wager, as we should see these teams go into the second inning with no runs on the board. The combination of the hitting and pitching for the Mets should ensure that we get home in this first-inning wager.
First, the Mets are sending an All-Star pitcher to the mound in Kodai Senga, who replaced Marcus Stroman on the National League roster. But Senegal has been incredibly effective so far this season. He should be able to hold the Red Sox in check in the bottom half of the opening frame.
But the biggest reason to bet on the NRFI in this game is the frequency with which the Mets have stayed scoreless in their opening inning. They have been held scoreless in the first inning over 80% of the time, more frequently than any team but the Miami Marlins. They have also held their opponents scoreless in the first inning more regularly than any team in the league. All of that points to an NRFI hit to send us into the weekend. To explore more betting opportunities, see other MLB betting sites.
Jay Sanin is a sports bettor and writer from New York. He has been handicapping since the moment he was old enough to gamble legally, with his specialties being niche sports like the WNBA and XFL. He’s been told he has a voice for radio. He also has a face for radio.More info on Jay Sanin
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