MLB NRFI Night in America: A Huge Hermo Hammer and Tips to Stay on Track

Troy HermoContributor IMay 4, 2021

New York Mets' Jacob deGrom delivers a pitch during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals Friday, April 23, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Tonight and every Tuesday during the MLB season is NRFI Night in America, and we are on fire.

What's an NRFI? It's a baseball betting proposition that stands for "no-run first inning," in which you bet there will be zero runs scored in the first frame.

  • 2021 NRFI record: 66-32 (67.3%)
  • Last Week: 14-7 (66.0%)
  • 2021 YRFI record: 8-6 (57%)

As posted on Twitter @TroyHermo.


Oh boy, NRFI nation. Last week was one of the bigger roller-coaster weeks of my life. We swept the board a couple of times, had a ton of success with the YRFI (which is the anti-NRFI and stands for yes-run first inning), and it seemed like we didn't lose one of my "Meatball YRFI Specials" on Twitter all week.

It's good that we are incorporating the YRFI into our sports investing portfolio, as it keeps the books honest. The YRFI (believe it or not) is the favorite, but the NRFI is always juiced by the casinos, which is a shame. As MLB.com's Mike Petriello showed, the first inning has historically featured more runs than any other inning.

So why the juice? Because when you're smart like we are, you can do the research and hammer the NRFIs day in and day out with solid educated guesses. But throwing in a YRFI at plus money from time to time can throw them off and keep the juice honest. If the stats and weather all point to runs, and a team throws out a pitcher who's not in form, the YRFI can be a beautiful thing.

But enough YRFI talk. That's just bad energy on everyone's favorite day. Time for everyone's favorite bet. America's bet. The NRFI.

You should know the drill by now. Every Tuesday, I'll sift through the first-inning stats and hitter analysis to give the best plays available on the card. You can also follow my daily plays in the B/R Betting community section. Odds for every NRFI line can be found on DraftKings.   


NRFI Night in America: The Hermo Hammer Play of the Week

2-Unit Hammer: New York Mets (Jacob deGrom) at St. Louis Cardinals (Johan Oviedo) -148

The Return of the NRFI king.

The first-inning messiah.

The chosen one who on this May the 4th will bring peace and balance to the NRFI force.

He is unbeaten this year, shutting out all batters in his half of the first inning during five starts.

Yes, we're talking about the one, the only Jacob deGrom—or as I and NRFI nation call him, deNRFI.

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

This is one of those games where I look at the matchup and can't help but get excited about the opportunity to play it. We get the legend deNRFI and Johan Oviedo, who is one of the top prospects for the Cards. In six career starts, he has a 4-2 record of keeping a scoreless first inning. The Mets' projected first five hitters are hitting .193 in the first inning this year, making it an easy decision to hammer this one with my play of the week.

If that's not enough evidence, here are the scoops for why this one is a hammer lock:

  • DeGrom has a 2.06 career first-inning ERA.
  • A couple key hitters for the Cards have really struggled versus deGrom. Paul Goldschmidt is 1-for-8 and Nolan Arenado 2-for-20 versus the Mets ace in their careers.
  • The wind is supposed to be blowing 13 mph from left to right field (per dailybaseballdata.com).
  • DeGrom is 27-3 in his last 30 starts at keeping his side of the first shut out, which is why we call him deNRFI.
  • St. Louis is averaging 0.64 runs (sixth in MLB) in the first inning this year but only 0.34 runs at home (27th in MLB).

We've got everything working for us. Home success for the other pitcher, the wind blowing in from left (keeping borderline homers in) and friendly batting stats from scary NRFI nation enemies Goldy and Arenado. I'm going to focus all my energy on this game. Let's hope Oviedo starts fast, and we know deNRFI will take us to the promised land. 


Leans Also On the Card for Tuesday

Mary Schwalm/Associated Press

Chicago White Sox (Dylan Cease) vs. Cincinnati Reds (Jeff Hoffman): NRFI +110

Dylan Cease and Jeff Hoffman have a combined 9-1 record this year in keeping their half of the first inning scoreless.


Atlanta Braves (Huascar Ynoa) at Washington Nationals (Joe Ross): YRFI -132

The Braves are the No. 1 scoring offense in the first inning this year, averaging 0.96 runs in the frame.

Ross' career results against some of the Braves' best hitters suggest that trend is unlikely to change:

  • Freddie Freeman, 5-10, 2 HR
  • Ozzie Albies, 3-4
  • Marcell Ozuna, 3-9, 3B, 2B


Texas Rangers (Kyle Gibson) at Minnesota Twins (J.A. Happ): YRFI -118

The wind is forecast to be blowing out to right field at 11 mph, and we get not one but two pitchers who have been shaky in first innings throughout their careers in Kyle Gibson and J.A. Happ. Gibson in particular has had trouble earning NRFI nation's confidence with a 5.22 career first-inning ERA, and Minnesota's Josh Donaldson is 6-for-13 with two home runs in his career against Gibson.


Pittsburgh Pirates (Mitch Keller) at San Diego Padres (Ryan Weathers): YRFI -118

Take a look at the Padres' first five hitters' stats versus Mitch Keller:

  1. Trent Grisham, 2-3
  2. "YRFnando" Tatis Jr., N/A, however, here's a Hermo fun fact: Of Tatis' 25 career first-inning hits, 11 have been home runs.
  3. Manny Machado, 1-1, HR
  4. Eric Hosmer, 2-2
  5. Jake Cronenworth, 1-1, 2B

That brings the total to 6-7 with three extra-base hits. It's YRFI time.


Hermo's Corner of Gambling Advice

Remember that this MLB season is a marathon, not a sprint. I get it—you're fiending for a play all the time, and I see that in my inbox. But my best advice to you is this: If you don't love the game 100 percent, you don't have a stat that you like, and you are forcing a play solely on your addiction for the action, then you need to stop and stay away from that play.

Remember: The only way you get caught in a bad place is if you let yourself go there. You are in charge of your future. We all lose ourselves from time to time, getting caught chasing, but you must stay the course. Stay disciplined. Stay focused with your eye on the prize.

All professional gamblers I've seen or talked to play quality over quantity, and they never hedge. The better the games you choose and the more you become a sniper, the more luck you are going to have. When you lose, take a deep breath and don't chase that feeling; chase the greatness that's around the corner, the better opportunity that's coming up in a few days. Don't live in the now. Live in the future, knowing that even when we lose here at NRFI nation, we know that the sun comes up tomorrow, the Starbucks will serve our coffee and there will be another ripe NRFI ready for us to hammer.

So don't sweat. Don't fret. Trust the process because we're just one month in.

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity."



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