What Is NRFI?

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NRFI stands for no runs first inning. And what can be better than cashing a bet within the first 15 minutes of a Major League Baseball game? Considering that MLB games already last too long, you can see why this bet has become an attractive option for savvy bettors.

Play TheLines’ FREE NRFI Friday challenge for a chance to win cash

A bet that has been gaining popularity as sports betting spreads across the country is the NRFI line in the MLB. The NRFI bet combines two of the most addictive feelings in sports betting: a constant sweat with every pitch, and the potential for instant gratification. Read on for how to bet NRFI lines and strategies to do it successfully.

What is NRFI?

Here is more on what is NRFI along with some examples.

To win a no run first inning bet, neither team can score in their first at-bat. To find the NRFI line at most sportsbooks you will first have to click on the game in the MLB odds market and look for the ‘Innings’ tab.

Not all sportsbooks offer the NRFI line, PointsBet is one example. At DraftKings though, the NRFI line is the first bet under ‘Popular.’ The same goes for Caesars, which sometimes offers boosted odds on NRFI parlays.

The NRFI line will typically be shown as a total of over or under 0.5 runs. For example, Detroit was hosting Cleveland for an afternoon affair on July 6 and the Over 0.5 was set at +115, while the Under was juiced up to -150 at DraftKings. The juice can vary significantly from book to book, so make sure to shop around for the best line before placing your bet.

NRFI betting strategy

The first place most people will look before placing a no run first inning bet is the starting pitcher matchup. And while the starting pitchers are obviously important, there are a variety of factors that you can research to win more NRFI bets. Below are a few strategies to get started.

First inning runs per game by team

You can sort first-inning runs per game by team at many baseball statistics websites. You can also sort for home and road splits, as well as how each team has fared in the past three and five games.

Pitch type leaderboard

The databases over at BaseballSavant are a must for any serious MLB bettor, and one of the most insightful stats they have is the pitch arsenal leaderboard. There you can see that Paul Goldschmidt is leading the league in run value at +16 against sliders with a .649 slugging percentage and .475 wOBA. Therefore, if a pitcher who primarily throws sliders is going up against the Cardinals, you might not want to bet the NRFI line.

If you sort by pitchers, you’ll see that Dylan Cease’s slider is currently the most effective pitch in MLB. His slider generates a ridiculous 47.1% whiff rate and .180 wOBA, and if he’s facing a team that is poor against sliders that game might be a prime target for the NRFI. This is especially true because pitchers are more effective in the first inning as hitters adjust to their repertoire.

Here’s an example of how you could use this research for the July 6, 2022 slate. The Astros have their budding ace Cristian Javier on the mound as they host Brad Keller and the Royals.

Javier’s 4-seam fastball is the third most effective pitch in MLB with a -16 run value. Keller also features one of the best pitches in the league with his slider generating a -6 run value, which is why it’s his most-used pitch at 36%.

But one reason you might want to steer clear from the NRFI is that Houston has three hitters generating strong run values against sliders with Bregman +8, Yordan Alvarez +8, and Kyle Tucker +5. KC also has three players with positive run values against 4-seamers. So when you see that NRFI is juiced up to -135, this might be a time to try the YRFI, which you could find +105 at DraftKings.

The NRFI line is arguably the best way to bet baseball if you enjoy a sweat but don’t want to wait three hours for a payout. And if you want to test the waters with a free contest, check out our NRFI Friday challenge to climb the leaderboard and win cash prizes.