Baseball cherishes numbers more than just about any other sport, with data for 162 games for every team just about every year. Because the sport is so numbers-dependent, there are many options for sports bettors. One of the increasingly popular ways to wager on baseball is with no run first inning bets.
These wagers have grown prevalent enough that some sports betting websites have shortened the term to NRFI. Using the full name, though, the bet is just what it sounds like — you are betting on two teams scoring zero runs in the first inning. In this guide, we will take you through the basics of no run first inning betting, provide some tips on the strategy and evaluate the bet as an option.
You can also take what you learn on this page and use it on Fliff, the social sportsbook app that allows Californians to bet on sports with fake digital currency that can be redeemed for cash prizes.
No run first inning bets explained
Prior to game time, sportsbooks will offer a wager on whether either team will score in the first frame of an MLB game.
Below is a look at what you could find scrolling through a sportsbook’s additional bets section for an upcoming game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants:
First inning total runs
- Over 0.5 (+105)
- Under 0.5 (-140)
As you can see by the odds, the California sports betting site estimates a higher likelihood of zero runs in the first inning. If you bet on under 0.5 runs, a $140 wager would net a $100 profit if you were correct.
Bettors can also get baseball odds to make an NRFI bet on an individual team scoring in the first inning. Here is what that could look like in your sportsbook app, though the wording can vary depending on the book.
Dodgers to score — first inning
- Yes (+275)
- No (-400)
Giants to score — first inning
- Yes (+220)
- No (-310)
As you can see, the sportsbook odds suggest more variance and thus a riskier bet if you’re wagering on whether a single team will score. This is why including both teams in this type of wager tends to be the more popular option.
Sportsbooks have also expanded on first inning bets in other ways. For instance, some sportsbooks will also offer an option to bet on whether there will be two runs or more in the first inning.
What is the appeal of NRFI betting?
First of all, betting on whether there will be runs in the first inning is quick and simple. When you place the bet, you do not have to wait three-plus hours for a baseball game to take place to figure out whether you’ve won. An inning in baseball generally takes roughly 20 minutes, and that’s all you need to follow to determine the result of your bet.
Another reason for this wager’s appeal is that you know what the situation will be at the start of the game. With all the information available to sports bettors these days, you can put in a decent amount of research to give yourself the best chance at winning.
When the lineups come out prior to game time, you will know the starting pitchers as well as the batting order for both teams. From there, you can dive into the matchups to see whether you want to bet and on which side.
What about YRFI?
YRFI stands for yes runs first inning, and some bettors will place wagers on this side. You will almost always receive a larger return if you correctly bet on a run to happen in the first inning because the odds are generally against that.
The trick is to figure out whether the potential profit is worth the risk because you are far more likely to lose a bet on a run to score than a bet on no runs to score. Smart bettors looking for a long-term profit generally stick with betting options they can win consistently, which is why MLB no run first inning bets are usually the best way to go.
Live betting on the first inning
At most sportsbooks, you can also bet on the first inning via a sportsbook app even after the game has started. Depending on the wager, live betting like this could even remain an option throughout the first inning. The odds will shift based on what is taking place in the game, and it could be worth a wager if you think you’ve spotted an advantage.
Line shopping for no run first inning bets
Sportsbook apps will generally have similar lines to one another on just about everything, including no run first inning prop bets. But they are not always going to be the same, and that is where sports bettors can look for an edge. If you decided you want to place an NRFI bet for the Dodgers and Giants game, check all the sportsbooks where you have an account to give yourself the best potential payout.
If the NRFI odds for the bet you want to place are -140 on DraftKings Sportsbook CA and -135 on FanDuel Sportsbook CA, you would place your bet on FanDuel because that would give you more money if your bet wins. While this may seem like a small difference, it can make a difference in the long term.
Can you bet on other individual innings?
Yes, some sportsbooks will have this type of wager available for every inning. The issue is that you will have less of an idea regarding the situation in terms of which players are hitting and who will be on the mound for innings after the first one. This means you won’t be able to do as much research, and you essentially could end up just guessing.
NRFI betting tips
- Study batter vs. pitcher matchups. As we said, baseball statistics are everywhere, and you can find plenty of websites that will show how a pitcher has done against specific hitters. This can give you an idea of whether you want to bet and on which side.
- Know the splits. Other stats to look for include how well batters have performed against whatever arm the pitcher throws with. Also, some players have better track records at certain stadiums, so there could be a lot to factor in when researching for your bet.
- Track first inning success. Make sure you research how well the pitcher has done in the first inning of games, as well as the top of the batting order. Sometimes it will take a pitcher an inning or two to get into a groove, especially a young starter with pregame jitters. If a pitcher generally struggles out of the gate, that is something to be aware of.
Are no run first inning bets worth placing?
They can be, yes. In addition to being a fun alternative, there are a number of statistics to help you make an informed decision, and that is exactly what smart bettors want. The more information, the better, and first inning bets can remove a lot of variables that you might have to worry about with other wagers.
Ultimately, though, whether you place such bets is up to you. Feel free to give no run first inning baseball bets a trial run to determine whether they’re right for you.