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Image for Bryan Zarpentine Bryan Zarpentine - Published June 15, 2023

Best NRFI Bets Today, June 15

Best NRFI Bets Today June 15

Philadelphia Phillies vs Arizona Diamondbacks - Aaron Nola vs Ryne Nelson

Over 0.5 Runs (-135 at DraftKings)

DraftKings

9/10

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The Phillies and Diamondbacks are both among the better teams at scoring runs in the first inning and neither has been particularly good at preventing runs in the first inning. They are a combined 58-78 NRFI this season, so there are better-than-average odds that there will be first-inning runs in this game. Given the pitching matchup and the offensive potential of both teams, this is one of the best YRFI bets available on Thursday.

Aaron Nola has not been himself this season, going through more ups and downs than usual. He’s also had some problems in the first inning with a 5.79 ERA, allowing nine first-inning runs in his 14 starts, including three first-inning home runs. To be fair, he hasn’t allowed a first-inning run in his last three starts. However, he’s likely to face the likes of Corbin Carroll, Lourdes Gurriel, and Christian Walker in the first inning on Thursday. All three are serious all-star candidates with Carroll being one of the hottest hitters in baseball right now, potentially giving Nola early trouble.

Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks are going to give the ball to Ryne Nelson, who has a 4.95 ERA. Nelson tossed 5.2 scoreless innings in his last start, although that came against the Tigers. Facing the Phillies will be different, especially with Trea Turner and Nick Castellanos both heating up over the past week at the top of the Philadelphia lineup. Plus, Kyle Schwarber is always a home run threat to lead off the game. Despite holding teams without a first-inning run in four of his last five starts, Nelson’s 4.85 first-inning ERA indicates that he’s potentially vulnerable early in games.

Los Angeles Angels vs Texas Rangers - Shohei Ohtani vs Nathan Eovaldi

Under 0.5 Runs (-125 at DraftKings)

DraftKings

9/10

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While the Angels are middle of the pack in NRFI this season, the Rangers are a tick above average when it comes to playing a scoreless first inning. More importantly, the pitching matchup of Shohei Ohtani and Nathan Eovaldi should be enough to keep this game scoreless early. Both are having excellent seasons on the mound, making a scoreless first inning the best option in this game.

Eovaldi has been excellent in most innings this season, but he’s been extra dominant in the first inning of games, posting a 0.69 ERA. He’s allowed just one earned run and one unearned run in the first inning of his 13 starts. While the Angels rank sixth in the majors in first-inning runs with Ohtani and Mike Trout getting early at-bats, those two are just a combined 9 for 37 (.243) in their career against Eovaldi, who should continue to dominate the first inning.

On the other side, Ohtani has actually struggled in his last couple of starts, allowing runs in the first inning of both games. But he should be able to rise to the occasion in a big game for the Angels against the division leaders. Even against a tough Texas lineup, Ohtani is more likely to throw a scoreless first inning than not. With Eovaldi taking care of business against the Angels, the value is with NRFI in this game.

Chicago White Sox vs Los Angeles Dodgers - Dylan Cease vs Michael Grove

Under 0.5 Runs (-105 at DraftKings)

DraftKings

9/10

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On paper, this is a tough game to call because the Dodgers average more first-inning runs than any team in baseball. However, the White Sox average the fourth-fewest first-inning runs in baseball and have the second-best NRFI record in the majors, playing a scoreless first inning 58% of the time. The Los Angeles lineup can be neutralized in this game, which is why a scoreless first inning is the most likely result.

While the Dodgers are always capable of doing damage early in games, Dylan Cease should be able to keep them under wraps. Cease has a 1.93 ERA in the first inning of his 14 starts this year, only allowing 10 hits. He was nearly as good in the first inning last year, so he has a history of starting strong. Also, Mookie Betts is 0 for 3 with two strikeouts in his career against Cease. If Cease can make sure Betts doesn’t get on base, he has an excellent chance of keeping the Dodgers off the scoreboard in the first inning.

In fairness, there is some concern for the Dodgers with Michael Grove getting the start on Thursday. He’s been one of the weak links in the Los Angeles rotation this year with an 8.28 ERA. However, Grove has actually thrown a scoreless first inning in four of his five starts. He’s been good early but hasn’t shown the ability to pitch deep into games without getting into trouble. While bad news for the Dodgers, that’s a good sign that he’ll be able to get through the first inning against the White Sox unscathed with Cease taking care of the rest in the bottom half of the inning.

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AUTHOR

Bryan Zarpentine

95 Articles

Bryan Zarpentine is a 2008 graduate of Syracuse University and has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 2010. During that time, he has contributed to countless sites while covering baseball, soccer, the NFL, college football, and college basketball.

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