MLB NRFI Night in America: Finding NRFI Values in YRFI-Friendly Cards

Troy HermoContributor IJuly 27, 2021

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Garrett Richards delivers to a Philadelphia Phillies batter during the first inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park, Friday, July 9, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Elise Amendola/Associated Press

Tonight and every Tuesday during the MLB season is NRFI Night in America.

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. (Unless you're betting a YRFI—yes run first inning.)

  • 2021 NRFI record: 114-76 (60.0 percent)
  • 2021 YRFI record: 38-34 (52.8 percent)
  • As posted on Twitter @TroyHermo.

The YRFI days of summer continue. I said you would have to be super selective to hit NRFIs but never knew how selective. From hitting 67 percent of my NRFIs a month ago to sitting at 60 percent—it's tough sledding for all cappers. Only the strong survive these runs.

You have to remember historically the YRFI is the favorite bet. The first inning has the most runs scored out of any inning.

That means the NRFI is a dog.

A dog that the books were juicing heavily the first few months of the season. With a couple of amazing matchups, I feel we can have a profitable Tuesday and finally get some momentum. Finding value in even the toughest of cards takes mapping each game and looking at the pitching and hitting trends and ballpark intangibles. I found a couple of hammers and plenty of leans for your MLB betting card.


The Hermo YRFI Hammer of the Week

Toronto Blue Jays (Robbie Ray) at Boston Red Sox (Garrett Richards) [-160]

Joshua Bessex/Associated Press

The Scoop

The Red Sox rank first in first-inning runs, scoring 0.8 runs per game.

Robbie Ray struggles against the Sox. He has a 6.32 ERA in four games against Boston and a 5.91 ERA in three games at Fenway Park.

Multiple Red Sox hitters have great stats against Ray: Rafael Devers has homered in his lone at-bat, Xander Bogaerts is 3-for-8 with a homer, and Alex Verdugo is 3-for-8.

Garrett Richards has an 11.57 first-inning ERA at Fenway this year, making him a YRFI lock any time he's at home. Richards has also averaged five batters faced in the first inning this year, which is one of the highest among starters in the majors.

Richards has a 5.37 ERA in 12 games against the Blue Jays. The meat of the Blue Jays lineup sees him well, including Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who is 6-for-9 with a home run, and Teoscar Hernandez, who is 6-for-11 with a home run. Look for these two to help us cash that ticket before the Sox even get an at-bat.


The Hermo NRFI Hammer of the Week

Houston Astros (Lance McCullers Jr.) at Seattle Mariners (Chris Flexen) [-115]

Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

The Scoop

Lance McCullers Jr. has a solid track record in Seattle with a 2.50 ERA in seven starts at T-Mobile Park. McCullers also has a 2.81 first-inning ERA and a 3.86 first-inning ERA on the road. The Mariners are the 26th-best team in first-inning runs, averaging only 0.4 per game. This is a good spot for McCullers to put up a zero for NRFI nation.

Flexen has been a huge NRFI surprise this year at home. He has a 1.64 ERA and 10-1 NRFI record compared to a 9.00 ERA and 4-3 NRFI record on the road. In fact, Flexen is dominant, posting an overall ERA of 1.89 in 11 starts at home. Facing the Astros earlier in the year, Flexen held them to one run in six innings, and the NRFI cashed.



YRFI: Washington Nationals (Erick Fedde) at Philadelphia Phillies (Matt Moore) [-140]

Chris Szagola/Associated Press

Bryce Harper is 6-for-15 with four homers versus Erick Fedde, Alcides Escobar (5-for-10, HR) and Ryan Zimmerman (4-for-9, 2 HR) see Matt Moore well, and Moore's last outing featured six earned runs in six innings.

YRFI: Chicago White Sox (Dylan Cease) at Kansas City Royals (Brad Keller) [-130]

Brad Keller has had problems early in games this year (9.00 first-inning ERA), and in three starts against the Sox he has a 1-2 NRFI record and 5.65 ERA. Dylan Cease always has problems early on the road with a 9.00 first-inning ERA compared to 0.90 in Chicago.


Hermo's Corner

The Only Person You Have to Blame Is Yourself

Every gambler loves having a scapegoat. It's why so many search for plays from other people rather than play their own. When they lose, they have a scapegoat to blame and shame until they are ready to bet again.

When the tout is winning, they are a god, and when they lose, they are the villain who doesn't know what they're doing. It shouldn't be like that. Touts and people who give picks should always be suggestions. If you have a feel for a game and another tout in the circle of cappers you follow like it, use that as validation for your own picks.

Nobody can predict the weather or when a team is going to show up ready to play. Nobody can offer a 100 percent lock on anything. We are all going off stats and information. Using history to best help pick the future.

Even when I spend hours on one game and look at all the different angles, a batter who is 1-for-22 lifetime versus a pitcher can hit two home runs to crush a bet. Then there are other times when what's on the field reflects the research, and you sweep the board.

Ride the good times with the bad. Just be comfortable with losing your bets and not blaming the people who are doing their best to do the impossible: predict the future. At least when I lose, you see all the work that went into it and it just wasn't our day. Would rather go down swinging then never swing at all. If the stats say it's right, and when you read the Hermo maps what I'm saying speaks to you—play it.

If you're on the fence, remember my favorite phrase that will get you out of endless gambling trouble: "If the pick is in doubt, leave it out."

The only person you have to blame for a loss is yourself. You first. Cappers second.

I believe in you. The real question is do you believe in yourself? Remember sports betting is a marathon, not a sprint. Only 1 percent do it for a living, and the rest are drowning like the rest of us. But if we make small, smart steps every day and follow the information, there's no reason we can't have a blast while making some side income as well.

Let's have a great week, NRFI nation. As always, research pays, and the stats don't lie.


All stats courtesy of TeamRankings and Daily Baseball Data.