NRFI Night in America: Returning with 1 Huge Hermo Hammer Lock

Troy HermoContributor IJune 8, 2021

Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher JT Brubaker delivers during the second inning in the first baseball game of a doubleheader against the Colorado Rockies in Pittsburgh, Saturday, May 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/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: 102-56 (64.6%)
  • 2021 YRFI record: 15-16 (48.4%)

As posted on Twitter @TroyHermo.

Fresh off my marriage to my dream woman and our beautiful honeymoon in Maui, I'm ready to get back to doing what I do best: finding consistent first-inning winners. If you've been following along on Twitter, you know I took no days off and went an unbelievable 19-12 (61.3 percent) since my last my column, mostly making picks based on accumulated NRFI knowledge from hours of past research. But I also mapped out my process on a spreadsheet that I now tweet daily. Check it out, as it has everything you need to make a betting decision on the first inning and sometimes even the game.

Now, let's dive into the action. I have but one monster hammer for the nation.

You all 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

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

2-Unit Play: Los Angeles Dodgers (Walker Buehler) at Pittsburgh Pirates (JT Brubaker) [-110]

The Scoop

Walker "NRFI" Buehler

  • Walker Buehler has an unbelievable 2.00 career first-inning ERA through 72 starts, putting him well on the way to being one of the all-time greats. He has slipped up in a couple of starts lately but still has a 2.45 first-inning ERA this year through 11 starts and has yet to allow a run in the opening stanza on the road.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers star is averaging only 3.4 batters faced in the first inning. The trouble, if he has any, comes on home runs. But the Pittsburgh Pirates are weaker than most when it comes to power hitting and rank dead last in home runs this year, so I see Buehler thriving in this spot.
  • Buehler has a 14-5 NRFI record over the past two years. He's 8-3 this year, including 4-0 on the road.

JT "B-ruby" Brubaker

  • JT Brubaker is not someone you love after an initial look at the stat sheet. He has a 4.74 career first-inning ERA in 19 starts with a 5.40 first-inning ERA this year. But you have to dig deeper, and then you'll see the difference between Home JT and Road JT. This year, Home JT has a 2.25 first-inning ERA and a 2.01 ERA overall. There's no place like home for JT. Let's hope there's no place like home for NRFI nation.
  • Brubaker has a 7-3 NRFI record this year and a lifetime 8-2 NRFI record at PNC Park. He was solid last year, and despite a bad 4.00 first-inning ERA, he held a 7-2 NRFI record. He is a diamond in the rough at home. A gem. A "B-ruby," if you will.
  • The Dodgers' first five hitters always scare me, but they are scoring runs at only a 22.0 percent clip in the first inning this year, putting them 25th in the league, per TeamRankings.com.



I don't feel confident enough in these for plays, but here are a couple of educated guesses on YRFIs.

John Bazemore/Associated Press

Atlanta Braves (Drew Smyly) at Philadelphia Phillies (Aaron Nola) [-137]

  • Drew Smyly has a 6.00 first-inning ERA this year and had a tough time with the Philadelphia Phillies in April, giving up five earned runs in just five innings, including three in the first.
  • If Andrew McCutchen is in the lineup, he is 3-for-7 (.429) with two home runs off Smyly.
  • Aaron Nola has a 6.75 first-inning ERA this year and is averaging 4.3 batters faced in the first.
  • Ozzie Albies is 11-for-28 (.393) over the past seven games and 17-for-34 (.500) with two home runs in the first inning this year.
  • Ronald Acuna Jr. is 7-for-25 (.280) with two home runs over the past seven games and 11-for-44 (.250) with three home runs in the first inning this year.

Milwaukee Brewers (Adrian Houser) at Cincinnati Reds (Sonny Gray) [-115]

  • The Cincinnati Reds have been great versus Adrian Houser:
    • Jesse Winker is 8-for-13 (.615) with five home runs against the Milwaukee Brewers righty.
    • Nick Castellanos is 5-for-14 (.357) with a home run.
    • Eugenio Suarez is 5-for-13 (.385) with two home runs.

Hermo's Corner of Gambling and Life Advice

Don't ever fade yourself, and find touts to trust.

I've been there. Spending hours doing research, looking for plays from notable sources, looking for that one stat that's going to push my hunch over the top, only to find the most talented tout is fading it and there are a bunch of Twitter touts fading it as well.

The No. 1 rule of gambling is if you see something you like, if you feel it deep in your soul and the stats and information back you up, play it. Don't second-guess the person in control of your life: you. The only person you have to blame for positive or negative units is you.

I can only give you advice on how I see the game. It's your own opinion that truly matters. But if you don't want to do the research, my best word of advice is to find three cappers or touts such as myself or my fellow B/R colleagues and follow them exclusively for three months. Make sure they produce information such as a sheet, and don't ever go with hunch touts. Sure, they may go 6-1 for a weekend, but after a couple of months, even the best hunch players hit just 50-53 percent of the time and are not profitable.

Be wary of unreasonable unit sizes or plays. No trustworthy investor will waste 50 units on a play and then go back down to three units the next day. Look for documented plays, and keep track of them. Once you feel someone isn't producing or their information isn't up to par, scratch them off your list.

In the long run, you will find three to five people or systems you can keep in rotation that you trust and help produce winners day in and day out. I have three that I compare and bounce information off of. Even the best cappers compare notes. More information will give you a better feel for the game and more confidence in your bets.

Also, don't get mad at other cappers for copying my bets. Since I've given out my system and map, lots of NRFI cappers are popping up. If we all do the research, we should all be on the same games. Remember, the more people in NRFI nation, the better the vibes, and the better the vibes, the better the times. When we all land on the same game, you know the information is there.

So dig deep through the sheets. As always, NRFI nation, information pays, and the stats don't lie. We're six outs from a huge NRFI Night in America. I'm pumped to be back.

—Troy Hermo
Captain of the SS NRFI