MLB’s NRFI Bet Becoming Top Market For Pennsylvania Sportsbooks

Written By Corey Sharp on August 23, 2023
NRFI betting has exploded in popularity at PA online sportsbooks.

While MLB teams prepare for the stretch run, bettors using Pennsylvania online sportsbooks are gearing up for the first innings of games.

The No Run First Inning (NRFI) bet has become a top market to bet in baseball. Phillies NRFI betting is growing in popularity, too.

The NRFI market becoming a desired bet indicates that sports betting behavior is changing.

NRFI betting gaining popularity at PA online sportsbooks

After the NBA Finals ended in June, MLB is the only major sport bettors can wager on until preseason football in August. While baseball betting may not capture the same attention as the NFL or even NBA, bettors are finding ways to get creative.

While moneyline, run line and total bets are still the most popular, the NRFI has moved into the top five most-bet markets on BetMGM Sportsbook PA, a place it was not in last year.

Drew O’Dell, Sportsbook Data Specialist in Public Relation, told PlayPennsylvania:

“Similar to the rise in popularity of the first touchdown scorer in the NFL and first basket scorer in the NBA, bettors enjoy the quick hitting bets early on in the match.”

The NRFI bet is also a top-five market on DraftKings Sportsbook PA, according to Senior Communications Director, Stephen Miraglia.

Though the new pitch clock rules have sped up MLB games a considerable amount, sitting through a nine-inning game may not be a high priority for the average sports fan in the summer. However, getting through the first inning scoreless has casual fans at the edge of their seats.

Phillies among top teams bet on for NRFI market

While it depends on starting pitching matchups, O’Dell told PlayPennsylvania “the Phillies are consistently a top five most-bet team” in the NRFI market on BetMGM.

According to Miraglia, the Phillies are ninth in total handle and sixth in number of NRFI bets on DraftKings so far in 2023.

According to BetMGM, Miami is the most-bet NRFI team in the league, and for good reason. The Marlins own a league-best 80-40 NRFI record. That translates to the NRFI bet hitting 67% of the time. O’Dell also mentioned Detroit as a second team BetMGM takes the most NRFI bets on. The Tigers’ record here is 64-54, a 54% win rate.

Betting on a Phillies NRFI for every game would lose money for bettors. The Phillies are 16th in the league with a record of 57-62, a win rate of only 48%.

Out of the 2,552 games prior to the All-Star break, the NRFI record is 1,172-1,380. That’s a 45.9% winning percentage. Only 10 teams in the league have NRFI records above .500.

While it’s clear more times than not a run is scored in the first inning (YRFI), bettors still hammer the NRFI line no matter what. Miraglia provided splits for DraftKings in 2023:

  • 85% of handle and 78% of bets are placed on NRFI bets
  • 15% of handle and 22% of bets are placed on YRFI bets

Phillies pitching records against No Run First Inning betting

The Phillies are among the bottom third of the league when it comes to NRFI success. It’s their offense that does most of the damage, because they average 0.52 runs in the first inning, which is 14th in the league. The Phillies also allow 0.52 runs in the first inning, which is 14th, too.

Let’s go through the Phillies starting pitchers and see who’s been a good bet, or bad, for a NRFI this season (record indicates a shutout inning for Phillies pitchers only):

  • Aaron Nola: 17-7
  • Zack Wheeler: 19-4
  • Ranger Suarez: 12-5
  • Tijuan Walker: 15-9
  • Christopher Sanchez: 10-1
  • Matt Strahm: 6-3
  • Bailey Falter: 3-4

Most Phillies pitchers have been money in the first inning this season. While Phillies bettors can count on the pitching, their bats often ruin the elusive NRFI bet.

Photo by Matt Slocum / AP
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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp is the Lead Writer at PlayPennsylvania bringing you comprehensive coverage of sports betting and gambling in Pennsylvania. Corey is a 4-for-4 Philly sports fan and previously worked as a writer and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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