Best NRFI and YRFI Teams in MLB at the All-Star Break (Reds, Cubs Lead the Way)

Willson Contreras and the Cubs score in the first inning at the highest rate in MLB
Willson Contreras and the Cubs score in the first inning at the highest rate in MLB / Chase Agnello-Dean/GettyImages

Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it, or so my partner tells me when I continually "forget" to mow the lawn and then bugs come hang around the yard.

But what if I can both learn from history and have it repeat itself? All while making enough cash off No Run First Inning (NRFI) and Yes Run First Inning (YRFI) bets that I can hire a dang landscaping company and be done with the mower?

That's what I'm hoping for as we take stock of the best NRFI/YRFI MLB teams at the All-Star Break. What can bettors learn from the first half of the year to bring with us moving forward?

Best NRFI Teams in MLB at the All-Star Break

Cincinnati Reds (52-39)

The Reds have proven to be a valuable NRFI bet, cashing 52 times out of 91 games, but they're especially valuable on the road with a 27-18 record. Cincinnati has the second-lowest OPS in MLB away from home but allow a first-inning run in only 20% of those games.

As their lineup continues to struggle and young pitchers like Hunter Greene show improvement, I'd expect the Reds to stay a strong NRFI bet.

San Francisco Giants (52-39)

Similar to how Cincy is a particularly stellar NRFI team on the road, the Giants are almost an automatic bet at home. The NRFI is 30-18 in contests at AT&T Park this year, as their elite starting rotation paired with a middling lineup and pitcher-friendly weather conditions make runs hard to come by.

Logan Webb and Carlos Rodon both have first inning ERA's under 3.50, while Alex Cobb is due for positive regression with a 2.79 expected ERA compared to a 4.09 actual ERA. Target their excellent starters in home matchups the rest of the way.

Miami Marlins (52-39)

The Marlins have the fourth-worst OPS in the majors but the seventh-best rotation ERA, led by Sandy Alcantara and his 1.89 first inning ERA.

Pablo Lopez is a great starter in his own right, and Trevor Rogers held his opponent scoreless in five of his last six outings. With the lineup not showing much reason for optimism, I'll continue to back the NRFI in Marlins matchups.

Baltimore Orioles (52-40)

The Orioles are the worst first inning lineup in baseball, scoring an early run in only 16.30% of their games. If they become sellers at the deadline and trade their better hitters like Trey Mancini, they'll become an even stronger NRFI bet.

Philadelphia Phillies (52-40)

With a 30-17 NRFI record on the road, the Phillies are hands-down the best NRFI team away from home. Scoring in the opening frame in only 17.02% of their road games, an offense missing Bryce Harper has really struggled to generate run-scoring opportunities.

Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler both rank in the top-10 in first inning ERA, and overall Philly allows a first inning run in just 22.83% of their games.

Best YRFI Teams in MLB at the All-Star Break

Chicago Cubs (53-39)

The Cubs score in the first at the highest rate of any team in MLB (38.04%) but they're even better at home (44%). They have a dreadful rotation and one of the worst defenses in baseball, giving them the profile of a squad bettors should keep in mind.

Toronto Blue Jays (52-41)

Toronto isn't far behind Chicago, scoring in the first inning in 35.48% of their games. The lineup has underperformed relative to expectation, but I'd expect George Springer, Bo Bichette, and superstar Vladimir Guerrero Jr to score early and often moving forward.

Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman are elite starters, but the rest of the rotation is weak, giving the YRFI value when other arms are on the mound.

Chicago White Sox (51-41)

I identified the White Sox as a team to fade in the second half of the year and some of those arguments help make them a strong YRFI bet.

Chicago's defense is the worst in the AL and their rotation has disappointed all season. With washed arms like Lance Lynn leading the way, I'd consider betting the YRFI in White Sox games whenever anyone besides Dylan Cease is pitching.

Washington Nationals (52-42)

For some reason, the Nationals just can't hit at home. But on the road? They're stellar, racking up a 27-16 YRFI record this far.

It helps when you've got the best hitter on the planet on your team, but the YRFI is also a strong bet in Nationals' road games because of their disastrous rotation. Washington's team ERA on the road is 5.74, leaps and bounds worse than the second-closest (Cincinnati at 5.31).

With perhaps the worst defense in MLB behind this trash can of a rotation, I'll be betting the YRFI in most of Washington's road tilts moving forward.

St. Louis Cardinals (52-42)

St. Louis is another team to target for YRFI bets on the road, compiling a 26-19 record to this point. NL MVP-favorite Paul Goldschmidt leads a strong lineup, and he showed last night in the All-Star Game he means business in the first.

The Cardinals are no slouch at home either though, scoring in the opening frame in over 40% of those games. I'd expect St. Louis to be buyers at the trade deadline, giving them even more value in the coming months.

Follow all of Joe Summers' betting picks here.