The sky is blue, water is wet, and today is a great day to nail some No Run First Inning (NRFI) and Yes Run First Inning (YRFI) bets.
MLB was kind enough to sprinkle some games through the afternoon to give us some quality entertainment throughout the workday, and in total we've got 15 contests scheduled.
I've poured over the odds from WynnBET Sportsbook and I've found some tantalizing matchups to bring to the table. Here are my favorite NRFI/YRFI bets of the day:
Best NRFI and YRFI Bets Today
Phillies vs Rangers NRFI (-125)
The Phillies are a great team to take a NRFI bet on because they're simultaneously one of the worst first-inning lineups and stingiest first-inning defenses. They've scored in the first in only 18.18% of their road games but have allowed an early run in just 21.74% of their contests overall.
Zack Wheeler starts today with a sparkling 1.42 ERA in June. He's held his opponent scoreless in the first inning in nine of his last 10 starts and takes on a Rangers lineup that's 24th leaguewide in OPS in the opening frame.
Texas' starter, Jon Gray, is enjoying a great month as well. Gray has allowed one or fewer runs in three of his last four starts and sports a 2.52 ERA in that span. He hasn't given up a first-inning run in his last five starts and I think he'll keep the Philly bats at bay early on in this one too.
Tigers vs Red Sox NRFI (-115)
It's been a rough June for my guy Tarik Skubal, but I'm optimistic he gets back on track tonight. Last week against the Rangers was the first time Skubal surrendered a first-inning run in eight starts, and the Red Sox lineup is much worse at home than on the road. Boston scores in the first in only 25.71% of their games at Fenway, so we're getting great odds on a bounce-back performance from Skubal.
I say that because the evidence overwhelmingly suggests the Tigers will not score in the first against Michael Wacha, so this bet is pretty much up to Skubal. Wacha has been nails at home, compiling a 1.03 ERA while not allowing a first-inning run a single time.
Detroit is the worst road first-inning lineup in MLB, plating an early run an absolutely disastrous 7.14% of the time. Getting -115 odds on two strong pitchers against two middling-to-despicable offenses is a lovely proposition, indeed.
Mariners vs Athletics NRFI (-135)
Happy Paul Blackburn day! The 28-year-old hasn't allowed a first-inning run in five straight starts and has been perhaps the most consistent player on Oakland's roster. He leads all American League pitches in WAR (Wins Above Replacement) while routinely making batters flounder in humiliation:
The Mariners have scored in the first inning in less than 20% of their road games and should continue to struggle against Blackburn today.
Meanwhile, George Kirby is finding a groove and the Athletics' lineup is one of the worst in MLB. They have the second-worst OPS in the league and Kirby has a quality start in three of his last four outings. With how bad the A's are hitting and how well both pitchers look of late, I'm thrilled to back the NRFI even if I'm paying a bit of juice.
Follow all of Joe Summers' betting picks here.