YRFI Night: Big Red YRFI Machine and When the Juice Isn't Worth the Squeeze

Troy HermoContributor IAugust 17, 2021

Cincinnati Reds' Jonathan India hits a home run during the sixth inning of the team's baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Cincinnati on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)
Jeff Dean/Associated Press

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: 117-79 (59.7 percent)
  • 2021 YRFI record: 45-47 (48.9 percent)
  • As posted on Twitter, @TroyHermo


What a bad week for the YRFI and the Hermo map. Almost felt like the NRFI was back for a second. In many of those matchups, I lost miserably, and the YRSI (yes-run second inning) came through. That's why sports gambling is so tough. It can look so good on paper, you will miss it by a swing, and it cashes with ease the next inning.

That's why laying juice is so rough on big YRFI favorites. Speaking of juice, at the bottom of the column I go into "When the juice is on the loose" and explain when playing volatile prop bets at high juice just isn't worth it and the percentages you would have to hit to profit long-term. The math will surprise you. Playing props with below -150 juice is the way to go. Props at -220 or above—they are just not a long-term investment you want to make.

With today's card, I found one juicy YRFI for everyone that has the stats and the ballpark to back it up. Buckle up because we're jumping back on the Big Red YRFI Machine.

And don't forget, whether it's YRFI or NRFI lines, you already know this is the spot to check out for the best analysis.

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 YRFI and NRFI line can be found on DraftKings.


Hermo Lock of the Week: The Big Red YRFI Machine

2-Unit YRFI Hammer: Chicago Cubs (Kyle Hendricks) at Cincinnati Reds (Vladimir Gutierrez) [-125]

John Minchillo/Associated Press

Kyle Hendricks has had a rough time in the first inning this year. Despite sporting a 17-7 NRFI record for the season, he has a 7.50 first-inning ERA and averages 4.6 batters faced in the first inning. Meaning there is always danger when Hendricks is starting. To make the YRFI even juicer: Hendricks struggles at Great American Ballpark with a 6-5 NRFI record and 6.16 ERA in his career. Hitters who see Hendricks well in the Reds lineup:

  • Jonathan India: 3-for-6 (.500)
  • Nick Castellanos: 4-for-13 (.308)
  • Joey Votto: 13-for-34 (.382), 4 HR

No Jesse Winker? No problem.

And bettors may be surprised if the Cubs cash this bet before the Reds step to the plate.

But Rafael Ortega is 11-for-21 (.524) in the first inning this year for the depleted Cubs. Frank Schwindel has been hitting well, and Patrick Wisdom and Matt Duffy are threats to hit rookie Vladimir Gutierrez, who is 7-7 NRFI-wise this year with a 7.07 first-inning ERA. This is a YRFI that might sneak under everyone's radar with "Da Wink" on the injured list, but I think the Reds are still in a great position to cash in the homer-friendly confines of Great American Ballpark.



YRFI: Atlanta Braves (Huascar Ynoa) at Miami Marlins (Sandy Alcantara) [+105]

Nick Wass/Associated Press

"Mr. First Inning" Ozzie Albies is 7-for-18 (.389) off Alcantara, and if he gets on base it's usually trouble for keeping the Braves off the board in the first frame.

The Braves are the No. 3 YRFI team in MLB. 

Why is this only a lean? Alcantara has not allowed a first-inning run in six of his last seven starts.


YRFI: Milwaukee Brewers (Corbin Burnes) at St. Louis Cardinals (Adam Wainwright) [+115]

"Beware of the Birds" special. The Cardinals' Paul Goldschmidt is 6-for-13 (.462) versus Burnes, and the Cards have been hot, cashing YRFIs to the tune of 6-3 in their last nine games.

It won't be easy against the Cy Young candidate Burnes, who has allowed a first-inning run just three times in his last 11 outings.


Hermo's Corner

When the Juice Is Too Much to Swallow, Just Say No and Focus on Value

Juice. It's delicious in beverage form and an absolute pain in the butt in a sports betting form.

For newbies: Juice is what the sportsbook charges you for that bet. The bigger the favorite and more action a wager gets on it, the more the sportsbook is going to juice it. It looks like "-120" next to your bet. For a $10 bet, that means laying $12 to win $10, so the book is charging $2 in "juice."

The higher the juice, the higher the risk and payout for the book. When playing especially volatile prop bets, it's best to stay away from anything remotely close to -150 and above. Here's why: It takes a ridiculous percentage to be profitable at the end of the year.

Juice and Percentages Needed to Be Profitable:

  • 105: 51.2 percent
  • 108: 51.9 percent
  • 110 (most popular at books): 52.4 percent
  • 115: 53.5 percent
  • 120: 54.5 percent
  • 125: 55.6 percent
  • 135: 57.4 percent

Remember when books were juicing NRFIs at -175? You would have to hit close to 70 percent of your games to profit long-term on that. So, when thinking about placing any bet, but especially props such as YRFIs, NRFIs and player props, look for the juice-friendly options. If it's too high and you have any doubts, then stay away. Your wallet and bankroll will thank me.

Also to the books: Let's keep it fair. A 50-50 prop should never be above -135, and I will die on this hill with the rest of NRFI nation. That's why I appreciate DraftKings letting me boost YRFIs for the nation week in and week out. No Winks, no problems. That's our mantra this Tuesday.

I'm proud of all of you, and I appreciate the messages to let me know that my column and the maps posted on Twitter have made a difference, not only for your bottom line but the fun you're having with this awesome hobby of ours: sports investing.

Let's have a day.

We want runs, we want hits, we want a perfect YRFI day in America.