NRFI Palooza Arrives with One of the Friendliest Cards of 2021 MLB Season

Troy HermoContributor ISeptember 28, 2021

Los Angeles Dodgers' Walker Buehler throws during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)
Aaron Doster/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: 137-90 (60.3 percent)
2021 YRFI record: 60-58 (50.8 percent)
As posted on Twitter, @TroyHermo

NRFI NATION! I've been on FIRE with first-inning props over the last two weeks, sporting an 11-4 NRFI and 5-3 YRFI record. When the fall breeze is flowing, and pitchers are locked into the race for the playoffs, NRFIs become hot again.

Which brings us to today.

Today may be the best NRFI card all year. I've told you of the magical day where all the NRFIs hit (or at least 75 percent of them). Today could be that day. I have nine games being an NRFI or lean NRFI and my monster Hermo Hammer of the year.

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.

Let's dive right into this loaded card.


5-Unit Massive Hermo Hammer of the Year

San Diego Padres (Yu Darvish) at Los Angeles Dodgers (Walker Buehler) [-115]

Gregory Bull/Associated Press

The Scoop

Walker "NRFI" Buehler has been an NRFI legend since the moment he came into the league. In 92 career starts, he has a 1.86 first-inning ERA. To put into perspective, greats like Nolan Ryan had a 4.18 first-inning ERA, and Randy Johnson had a 3.22 career first-inning ERA. We are truly witnessing first-inning greatness.

This year is no different—Walker has a 1.74 first-inning ERA and a 25-6 NRFI record. He only faces an average of 3.54 batters in those innings, so most of his losses are on fastball mistakes that went yard. The Padres' spirits are depleted going into this game after being eliminated from playoff contention. Buehler also has a career 1.66 ERA against the Padres, making my confidence in this NRFI of the year even greater.

Yu "Don't got to sweat this one" Darvish is having a great NRFI year:

-23-6 NRFI Record

-3.41 first-inning ERA

-3.96 batters faced average in the first inning. 

Not convinced?

His lifetime ERA against the Dodgers is 2.18, and his career ERA at Dodgers Stadium is 3.47. NRFI killers Mookie Betts and Max Muncy have a combined average of .153 (4-for-26).

Weather conditions are expected to be a perfect 65 with a light fall breeze. NRFI of the year. The Hermo Hammer to end all Hermo hammers. 


4-Unit Hermo Hammer: Miami Marlins (Trevor Rogers) at New York Mets (Marcus Stroman) 

Charles Krupa/Associated Press

The Scoop

Trevor Rodgers:
-21-3 NRFI record
-1.88 first-inning ERA in 24 starts
-12-1 NRFI record on the road with a 0.69 first-inning ERA. 

Marcus Stroman:
-28-4 NRFI record
-1.44 first-inning ERA
-13-2 NRFI record at home with a 1.26 first-inning ERA

The stats speak for themselves on this one. Two First-Team All-NRFI selections this year. Full confidence. 


2-Unit Hermo Hammer: Oakland Athletics (Chris Bassitt) at Seattle Mariners (Yusei Kikuchi) [-120]

The Scoop

Bassitt was enjoying one of the best NRFI seasons of his career before the horrific line drive injury on August 17. In his first start back last week, Bassitt once again cashed the NRFI to bring his 2021 NRFI record to 20-6. His first-inning ERA is one of the best in the league at 2.77, and his first-inning  ERA of 3.00 is far above average.

Yusei Kikuchi is a home-only NRFI ride type of pitcher. He has a 2.77 first-inning ERA in 13 starts at home compared to 5.06 on the road. He has a 20-9 NRFI record and is still one of my favorite pitchers to ride in the league NRFI-wise. In nine career starts against Oakland, Kikuchi has a 3.19 ERA. What's not to like?


2-Unit Hermo Hammer: Milwaukee Brewers (Brandon Woodruff) at St.Louis Cardinals (Adam Wainwright) [-135]

Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press

The Scoop:

Brandon Woodruff is either really on or really off, but when he's on, he can provide some of the least sweaty victories you'll see. He's sporting a 21-9 NRFI record this year with a career ERA of 3.09 against the Cardinals and a 3.86 ERA at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals are hot, but if anyone can cool them down (at least for one inning), it's Woodruff. Expect him to have his best stuff tonight.

Adam Wainwright is the Benjamin Button of NRFI pitchers. The 40-year-old is still producing more NRFI wins and a better NRFI ERA than most aces in the league with a 26-5 record and a 2.90 first-inning ERA. He gave up four runs in the first last time out against the Brewers, but at home where he has a 2.00 first-inning ERA, I think he will bounce back. In two starts at home against the Brew Crew at Busch Stadium, he sports a 2-0 NRFI record.


1-Unit Philadelphia Phillies (Zack Wheeler) at Atlanta Braves (Charlie Morton) [-125]

The Scoop

Zack Wheeler:
27-4 NRFI record in 2021
2.90 first-inning ERA in 2021
3.27 career ERA vs. the Braves

Charlie Morton aka "Uncle NRFI:"
24-7 NRFI record in 2021
2.05 first-inning ERA in 2021

Two seasoned guys that should get the job done and will be pivotal in making this day special with parlays. NL MVP front-runner Bryce Harper scares me, as he's 7-for-17 (.412) lifetime off Uncle Charlie NRFI. 

Other NRFI leans

New York Yankees (Jameson Taillon) at Toronto Blue Jays (Hyun Jin Ryu) [+110]

Jameson Taillon has been solid NRFI-wise with a 3.76 first-inning ERA this year. It's his first start since September 6, though, so I don't know what to expect from him. Hyun Jin Ryu can get the job done, but Aaron Judge hits over .300 against left-handers, and the Yankees are dialed in. That's why it's just a lean, but this will be in parlays on this monumental day.


Arizona Diamondbacks (Luke Weaver) at San Francisco Giants (Logan Webb) [-120]

This is purely off instinct, but Luke Weaver has a 2.25 first-inning ERA this year, giving up only one home run in 12 starts in the first inning. Webb is 17-7 NRFI on the year but is coming off two NRFI losses in a row. He's better at home than on the road, so hopefully, that will help this lean cash. 


Hermos Corner: It's a Long Way to the Top If You Want to Hit 60 Percent 

Like the AC/DC classic, "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)," the same can be said about hitting that illustrious 60 percent win mark at the end of the season.
That's the goal.

Most people who make a living off sports gambling are hitting in that 60-65 percent range. It should be the goal of every capper, but damn is it hard. It takes looking at yourself in the mirror and saying, "Something's not working—we have to change this."

Changing my strategy early on and adapting my stat sheet, "The Hermo Map." into what it is today is why I have reached 60 percent here as the season draws to a close. Don't be afraid to change—last year I put way too much emphasis on the first-inning ERA and even still to this day struggle playing guys with high NRFI ERA, even though they are hitting the NRFI in the 70 percent range of starts.

You need to get out of your way sometimes to start winning again. Remember—it's a marathon, not a sprint, and there was plenty of times I went 0-for-3 on days, but at the end of the season, I'm still profitable.

Believe in yourself. Believe in the plan you make for yourself. Execute the plan. Make money investing in the sports you love. This is our week, the most NRFI loaded card, and I am blessed to go into battle with all of you.

Until next week, research pays, and the stats don't lie. Let's cash some tickets.


Follow along with me on Twitter @TroyHermo for my NRFI/YRFI inspired stat sheet "The Hermo Map."