NRFI Odds: Examining How Marlins Lead MLB

min read
Miami Marlins' Jesus Luzardo delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Friday, June 23, 2023, in Miami.
(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Rachael Millanta @rachaelmillanta Aug 10, 2023, 3:57 PM
  • The Miami Marlins have the best NRFI rate in MLB, as of August 9.
  • 66% of Marlins games go scoreless through the first inning.
  • Jesús Luzardo leads MLB in first-inning ERA this season.
  • The Marlins rank 25th in first-inning batting average.

NRFI odds have taken the betting world by storm in recent years, with the prop now one of the most popular baseball bets for bettors on the online sportsbook. Only lasting through the first inning, NRFI (no run first inning) bets are fast, and all eyes are on the game’s starting pitchers to keep their opponent off the board.

This season, the Miami Marlins have led the pack in the NRFI records, with 66% of their games going scoreless through the first inning. On the other end of the spectrum, only 39% of the Cincinnati Reds’ games have had a scoreless first inning, making the team a favorite to bet on in YRFI odds (yes, run first inning).

So, how are the Marlins leading NRFI?

NRFI Odds: Marlins Starting Pitchers

Through 23 first innings this season, starting pitcher Jesús Luzardo holds a 0.78 ERA and 0.65 WHIP, while allowing just two earned runs, four runs total, and 12 hits. He leads MLB in first-inning ERA, ranks fifth in first-inning batting average against (.150), and seventh in first-inning strikeouts (30), so it’s no wonder Miami has been the team to beat in NRFI this season — and it’s not particularly close.

As of August 9, the Marlins hold the highest NRFI rate in MLB, with 66% of their games going scoreless through the first inning. At 76-39 NRFI, it’s a lead the Marlins have held for months, with their nearest contenders — the Toronto Blue Jays — trailing at 58%.

Luzardo isn’t the only Marlins pitcher starting games off well, either. Through 17 first innings this season, Edward Cabrera has an ERA of 2.65 and 1.35 WHIP, while allowing five earned runs and 14 hits. Sandy Alcantara holds a 3.13 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 23 first innings, with just eight earned runs and 24 hits.

Still, is strong pitching really the reason for the team’s incredible NRFI rate? 

The Marlins are second in MLB in first inning ERA (3.13) and 13th in overall starter ERA (4.18), but while those numbers are certainly nothing to scoff at, they aren’t impressive enough to solely account for 66% of their first innings going scoreless, either.

NRFI Odds: Marlins Offense

Holding a high NRFI rate means a team is keeping their opponent from getting on the board early, but it also means they are failing to put up any runs in the first inning. 

So, what’s going on with the top of the Marlins batting order?

Luis Arraez has batted .302 with an OPS of .670 in 101 first innings this season, and while those numbers certainly aren’t bad, they’re a substantial drop from his overall .369 batting average and .874 OPS this year. Bryan De La Cruz, who’s batting .264 with an OPS of .745 this season, has only managed a batting average of .209 and OPS of .620 in 69 first innings. 

The only batter in a top-three spot who has been posting consistent stats is Jorge Soler, and his .239 first-inning batting average is hardly anything to write home about.

In fact, the Marlins have a combined batting average of just .246 through 115 first innings in 2023, ranking them 25th in MLB. Overall, the team ranks 18th with a combined batting average of .262, and while that’s still not brilliant, it’s a substantial increase from their disappointing first-inning stats.

NRFI Odds: Marlins Record

The Marlins aren’t putting up runs in the first inning, nor are they allowing any to be scored against them — so, is it a problem?

At this stage, not particularly. 

As of August 9, Miami is third in the NL East with a record of 60-56. The Reds have an almost-identical regular-season record of 60-57, and they’re on the other end of the spectrum to lead MLB in YRFI.

The reality is that baseball games are rarely won and lost in a single inning, and so long as the Marlins are holding off their opponents at the same time, their shaky offensive performance in the first inning isn’t a giant issue. 

As they continue to work their way into serious contention over the next season or two, perhaps the Marlins’ inconsistencies at the plate will need addressing. For now, their NRFI rate is more an interesting trend than it is a major or urgent lineup issue.

Still, if you’re an NRFI bettor, there’s nothing like a trend to follow.

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About the Author

Rachael Millanta

Read More @rachaelmillanta

Rachael Millanta is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM focusing on Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. Her work has been published in SB Nation, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Slackjaw Humor. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Rachael now resides in Chicago, Illinois.

Rachael Millanta is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM focusing on Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. Her work has been published in SB Nation, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Slackjaw Humor. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Rachael now resides in Chicago, Illinois.