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Best NRFI Bets Today, May 18

Written by: Bryan Zarpentine
Published May 18, 2023
13 min read
Best NRFI Bets Today May 18

Nationals vs Marlins (Trevor Williams RHP) vs Eury Perez (RHP)

Under 0.5 Runs (-120 at DraftKings)

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The Marlins continue to be the kings of the scoreless first inning. They have had a scoreless inning in 29 of their 43 games, a rate of 67%, which is far more than any other team. Meanwhile, the Nationals are also one of the few teams that’s over 50% on NRFI this season, which is why it makes sense to bet NRFI in this game.

The caveat is that the Marlins are sending 20-year-old Eury Perez to the mound in Thursday’s matinee. Perez is making just his second career start, allowing two runs over 4.2 innings while striking out seven. Both of the runs Perez gave up in that game came on solo home runs and neither came until the fourth inning. With the Washington hitters never seeing him before, Perez has a chance to hit the ground running in his second start and throw a scoreless first inning.

Meanwhile, the Miami lineup has scored a first-inning run in just one-third of the team’s games. Facing Trevor Williams doesn’t make that task any easier for the Marlins. While Williams has had a solid but unspectacular season, he’s been excellent early in games, allowing just two runs on five hits in the first inning of his eight starts this year. Against a lackluster Miami offense, that should continue on Thursday in a scoreless first inning.

Yankees vs Blue Jays - Nestor Cortes (LHP) vs Jose Berrios (RHP)

Over 0.5 Runs (-115 at DraftKings)

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For what it’s worth, the Blue Jays are the second-best team at playing a scoreless first inning. Toronto is hitting NRFI 58% of the time with only Miami being better. The Blue Jays have also played a scoreless inning seven times in their last 10 games. However, with the Blue Jays and Yankees both featuring potent lineups, especially at the top of the order, this could be a game in which the Blue Jays experience a run in the first inning.

Keep in mind that Jose Berrios is off to a rocky start, going 3-3 with a 4.70 ERA. He’s also been hit hard during his career by DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, and Anthony Rizzo, who are all hitters he could face in the first inning of Thursday’s game. Plus, Berrios has a 5.63 ERA in the first inning this season and a 4.92 ERA in the first inning last year, so he’s not always at his best early in games. With the Yankees scoring a first-inning run in 25 of their 45 games, the Bronx Bombers have a chance to get to Berrios early.

At the same time, Nestor Cortes isn’t off to a great start this season, posting a 5.53 ERA in his eight starts. Toronto’s Bo Bichette and Matt Chapman are a combined 8 for 21 with three homers and two doubles in their careers against Cortes, giving the Blue Jays a chance to hit the lefty in the first inning. While Cortes has been solid in the first inning of his career, the Blue Jays are surely a team that can give him trouble in the first inning, helping to push the value toward runs being scored in the first inning of this game.

Dodgers vs Cardinals - Julio Urias (LHP) vs Adam Wainwright (RHP)

Over 0.5 Runs (-110 at DraftKings)

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Heading into Thursday’s games, both the Dodgers and Cardinals rank among the top five teams in baseball at YRFI. The Dodgers have had a first-inning run in 61% of their games while the Cardinals lead the league at 68%. Specifically, both have excelled at being the team that scores runs in the first inning rather than giving them up.

After a poor April, the Cardinals have started to get their act together in May, especially offensively. Of course, facing Julio Urias will be a challenge, especially since most St. Louis hitters haven’t faced him before. However, Nolan Arenado is 6 for 13 with four extra-base hits in his career against Urias, so he could be in the middle of the Cards scoring a first-inning run. Keep in mind that Urias has a 9.00 ERA in the first inning this year and has given up at least one run in the first inning in three of his last five games, so he’s been vulnerable early in games lately.

On the flip side, veteran Adam Wainwright has allowed eight runs over 10 innings in his first two starts of the season. The 41-year-old might finally be starting to show his age, which is a concern against a potent Los Angeles lineup. To be fair, Wainwright hasn’t allowed a first-inning run in those two starts and had a solid 4.50 ERA in the first inning last season. But Wainwright has subpar numbers against many of the hitters in the Los Angeles lineup. Both Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman are hitting .300 or better against Wainwright in their careers, so with those two at the top of the lineup, the Dodgers might be able to take advantage of a struggling Wainwright early in Thursday’s game.

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AUTHOR

Bryan Zarpentine

140 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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