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Our first MLB NRFI wager that we are targeting for Friday night is the matchup between the Minnesota Twins and the Kansas City Royals. In this AL Central matchup, the Twins are sending one of their top arms to the mound to start things off. That, combined with the location of this game should help things get to the second inning without any runs being scored by either side.
Minnesota is sending Sonny Gray to the mound for this game, who has been in the conversation for the AL Cy Young award for the bulk of this 2023 MLB season. Gray is just 4-4 on the season, but his ERA is a slim 3.15, as he has put his team in positions to win even if the bullpen and bats of the Twins have not helped him. Here, he will continue to keep opponents off of the scoreboard by tossing a scoreless first inning.
The fact that the superior Twins offense has to produce on the road in this game is another reason to take the NRFI on this game. Minnesota has been held scoreless in the first inning just over 71% of the time in 2023. They will once again be kept at bay on the road here, making this a bet worth taking on the Friday night MLB slate.
The marquee matchup between the Tampa Bay Rays and Houston Astros may feature two second-place teams. But even with both of these teams sitting behind their division leaders, this game and this series will be incredibly important to the races in the AL East, AL West, and AL Wild Card spots. Here, we like the NRFI to cash as these teams feel each other out early on in this massive series.
Two great starting pitchers will take the mound to open this series up, as Shane McClanahan and Cristian Javier face off here. McClanahan is an incredible 11-1 this season, with an ERA of just 2.89, while Javier is 7-2 with a 4.32 ERA. Both men are clearly capable of hanging zeroes on the scoreboard, and they are going to do just that in the first inning of this game.
The mediocrity of the Rays on the road is also a huge factor behind placing this NRFI wager, as they are just not as dangerous on the road as they are at home. The Rays are a game above .500 on the road so far this year, compared to an incredible 37-19 at Tropicana Field for the season. Look for the Rays’ road woes to continue as the Astros should be able to shut them down in the early stages of this one.
Our final NRFI wager on the MLB schedule for Friday night comes in the all-Pennsylvania matchup between the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates. This is another game where the pitching matchup is just stellar, as Zack Wheeler and Mitch Keller will do battle to start this contest. That means another great chance to see a scoreless first inning, as we like the NRFI to cash at -115 in this contest.
So far this season, Wheeler is 7-5 with a 3.88 ERA, as he is allowing under a hit per inning while striking out over a batter per inning. Keller, meanwhile, is 9-6 with a 4.01 ERA and he has been in the NL Cy Young conversation for a good chunk of this season in his own right. Both pitchers should continue to pitch well in this game early on, getting us to the second inning with a pair of zeroes on the scoreboard.
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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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