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Best NRFI Bets Today, September 28

Written by: Bryan Zarpentine
Published September 28, 2023
13 min read
Best NRFI Bets Today September 28

Oakland Athletics vs Minnesota Twins - Luis Medina vs Sonny Gray

Under 0.5 Runs (-105 at DraftKings)

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Thursday’s matchup between the A’s and Twins is an ideal NRFI pick. The A’s are terrible offensively in any inning and rank 25th in first-inning runs this season. While the Twins are a little better at scoring early in games, they rank third in the majors this season in playing a scoreless first inning. They are hitting NRFI 57% of the time and could sit some of their regular starters during a day game after already clinching the AL Central title. That makes it even more likely for this game to have a scoreless first inning.

Sonny Gray starting for Minnesota is perhaps the biggest reason to bet on NRFI in this game. He's made a strong case for Cy Young honors with a 2.80 ERA, which ranks third in the majors. Gray has also posted a 1.96 ERA in September, so he’s finishing strong. More importantly, Gray boasts a 0.87 ERA in the first inning of games. He’s only allowed 18 hits in the first inning of his 31 starts, yielding four runs all year, one of which was unearned. Keep in mind that he’s allowed just one total run over his last 13 innings of work across his last two starts. Despite giving up a first-inning run against the Rays earlier this month, Gray looks locked in at the moment and should have no problem pitching a flawless first inning against Oakland’s lineup.

On the other side, Oakland’s Luis Medina is less of a sure thing to pitch a scoreless first inning. However, he has a respectable 4.50 ERA in the first inning of his 16 starts this year. Granted, Medina has had some uneven performances and has allowed first-inning runs in three straight starts. But the young righty has good stuff and has started to learn from his mistakes. Since he’ll be pitching a day game against a team that’s already clinched a playoff spot, it should be a little easier for him to escape the first inning without running into trouble. With Gray a virtual lock to pitch a scoreless first inning and Medina having a 50-50 shot, there is only a 25% of a first-inning run being scored in this game. The NRFI odds offer plenty of value considering there is roughly a 75% chance of winning such a bet.

St. Louis Cardinals vs Milwaukee Brewers - Dakota Hudson vs Corbin Burnes

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On the season, both the Cardinals and Brewers rank in the top half of baseball in runs scored in the first inning. In fact, St. Louis ranks second in games played with a first-inning run. However, the pitching matchup between Dakota Hudson and Corbin Burnes supersedes those stats. Ultimately, NRFI bets are all about pitching, and this game has a matchup that could keep the Brewers and Cardinals scoreless for a few innings.

This has not been an ideal season for Hudson. He began the season in the minors and then came up as a reliever. As a result, Hudson has only started 11 games for St. Louis in 2023. But in those 11 starts, he’s been untouchable in the first inning. Opposing batters are hitting .211 against him in the first inning with Hudson yet to concede in the opening inning. That’s an impressive streak and it’s hard to bet against it continuing on Thursday. After all, Milwaukee could give some regular starters a day off now that the NL Central has been clinched. Plus, the Brewers have struggled offensively in recent days, so Hudson should keep his streak of flawless first innings alive.

Meanwhile, Burnes is typically a safe bet to pitch a scoreless first inning. Surprisingly, the former Cy Young winner has a 4.35 ERA in the first inning of games this year. He tends to pitch much better in the second inning after getting a chance to settle into the game. But Burnes also had a 1.36 first-inning ERA a year ago, so he has a track record of dominating early in games. He’s also thrown at least five scoreless innings in two of his last three starts. Also, Burnes is yet to concede a first-inning run in September. With a 2.92 ERA over his four September starts, he’s been at his best lately and should have no problem keeping it going against St. Louis on Thursday.

Miami Marlins vs New York Mets - Jesus Luzardo vs David Peterson

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On paper, the Mets and Marlins are a safe NRFI bet. Miami leads the majors in hitting NRFI 62% of the time this season, so they are always a good NRFI bet. The kicker is that the Mets rank last in the majors in scoring first-inning runs. With the Marlins only a little better at 24th, this is exactly the type of game that will feature a scoreless first inning.

The only caveat is that David Peterson is starting for the Mets. New York has lost all four of his starts in September with the lefty rocking a 5.37 ERA on the season. Peterson also ran into some first-inning trouble against the Phillies over the weekend, raising his first-inning ERA to 4.50. However, that is the only time in his last seven starts that Peterson has allowed the opposing team to score in the first inning. He’s been much better early in games during the second half of the season, so there are reasons to be confident in Peterson keeping the light-hitting Marlins off the scoreboard in the first inning on Thursday.

If Peterson can hold up his end of the bargain, Jesus Luzardo should make sure this game remains scoreless in the bottom of the first inning as well. Not only are the Mets the worst team in baseball at scoring in the first inning but Luzardo is among the best pitchers in baseball at keeping opposing teams scoreless in the first frame. The lefty owns a 2.32 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP in the first inning this year. Despite having one or two subpar outings down the stretch, Luzardo has kept teams off the scoreboard in the first inning of five of his last six starts. Given New York’s track record in the first inning and the fact that Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor are a combined 4 for 22 (.182) in their careers against Luzardo, he should have no problem keeping the Mets scoreless in the first inning of Thursday’s game.

See different MLB betting sites for more betting opportunities!

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AUTHOR

Bryan Zarpentine

216 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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