Tonight and every Tuesday during the MLB season is NRFI Night in America, and we are on fire.
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.
- 2021 NRFI record: 77-35 (68.8%)
- Last Week NRFI record: 11-3 (78.6%)
- 2021 YRFI record: 12-10 (54.5%)
- Last Week YRFI record: 4-4 (50.0%)
NRFI nation, our night is finally here! Welcome to NRFI Night in America.
Nothing gets me more stoked than a venti Starbucks iced coffee, a nice sunny day in Las Vegas and a card packed full of NRFIs. It’s like the NRFI gods knew Tuesday was our day and set us up with four great NRFI opportunities.
These days I wake up, point at the sky and thank my savior Jacob deGrom for another day of NRFIs. Speaking of deNRFI, we wish him a super speedy recovery from his 10-day injured list stint. Our wallets and my hammer will be ready for his return.
Coming off an 11-3 week, the momentum is starting to build. Every week I am more educated on new stats and figures and by people who provide information to my ever-growing list of ways to handicap first innings.
One of the main factors we have harnessed is the weather. The weather sometimes has the ability to change a game and the fate of NRFI nation with a simple gust of wind blowing out. Wind can also be helpful, such as when the wind is blowing in at Wrigley Field.
These small pieces of information can tip you off when you’re deciding if a game is hammerable. Nothing is more vibey than having two pitchers you love with great first-inning ERAs, great historical opponents’ batting data and a gust coming in to ensure no fluke fly ball will go over the fence.
Here’s how it works for those who are unfamiliar with this column. Every Tuesday, I’ll sift through the first-inning stats and hitter analysis to give the best plays available on the card. Odds for every NRFI line can be found on DraftKings.
NRFI Night in America: The Hermo Hammer Plays of the Week
2-Unit Hammer Play: Baltimore Orioles (John Means) at New York Mets (Marcus Stroman) -152
The return of John Means “NRFI Business.”
After coming a wild pitch away from a perfect game versus the Seattle Mariners, Means is now a focal point in NRFI nation’s arsenal of go-to pitchers.
- Means has a 1.29 first-inning ERA this year, going 6-1 in keeping his frame scoreless.
- The New York Mets’ first five batters in the lineup are hitting (.157) in the first inning this year:
- Jeff McNeil, 1-for-12
- Francisco Lindor, 3-for-24
- Michael Conforto, 2-for-16
- Dominic Smith, 4-for-13
- Pete Alonso, 3-for-18
- The Mets are 26th in scoring in the first inning, averaging 0.4 runs per game.
- Marcus Stroman has a 1.50 first-inning ERA in six starts. After allowing a solo home run in the first inning in his last outing, expect him to bounce back. Stroman holds a career 3.52 ERA in the first inning.
- The wind is expected to be blowing in at 12 mph from left. No gimmes are getting out tonight on NRFI Night.
2-Unit Hammer Play: Chicago Cubs (Adbert Alzolay) at Cleveland (Shane Bieber) -162
- Adbert Alzolay gave up three runs to the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning in his 2021 debut and has been great since. He has a 4-1 NRFI record this year and has looked impressive at times.
- Hitters are batting only .167 against Alzolay in the first inning.
- NRFI nation’s Duke of K’s Shane Bieber, or Cy Biebs (averaging 1.7 strikeouts in the first), has been an NRFI machine in his career with a 3.17 first-inning ERA. Last year, he posted a 0.75 ERA, and this year in seven starts he has a solid 2.57 ERA—only giving up a two-run homer in the first to future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera on Opening Day. He’s 6-1 on the year.
- The wind is blowing in from left at 10 mph. Vibey.
- This is one of those games in which an immovable force (the Chicago Cubs’ first-inning offense, averaging 0.7 runs) will meet an unstoppable object (Bieber), and I know Biebs is gonna come correct for the nation.
1-Unit Play: Los Angeles Angels (Shohei Ohtani) at Houston Astros (Lance McCullers Jr.) -108
- “Welcome to the NRFI Sho” is 3-1 in NRFIs this year and has shown signs of dominance and brilliance. I’m putting my faith back in the phenom.
- Ohtani has a 3-0 NRFI record against the Houston Astros.
- Two main NRFI killers in the Astros lineup have not hit Ohtani well: Jose Altuve is 0-for-6, and Alex Bregman is 1-for-5.
- Lance McCullers Jr. has an 11-2 NRFI record versus the Los Angeles Angels. He handles NRFI nation enemy No. 1 Mike Trout, who is 4-for-22 lifetime against the righty.
1-Unit Play: Seattle Mariners (Yusei Kikuchi) at Los Angeles Dodgers (Walker Buehler) -134
- The return of Walker NRFI Buehler at Dodger Stadium, where he holds an outstanding 29-5 NRFI record.
- Yusei Kikuchi has been solid this year and was on the verge of a no-hitter two starts ago.
- The Los Angeles Dodgers have been held scoreless in the first inning in six straight games.
Hermo’s Corner of Gambling Advice
If you at any time ever feel so down or mad after a loss, then you are investing too much into one game—you need to revaluate your units. Defeats should never deflate you; they should motivate you.
That’s the difference between the real winners and losers in this business. The losers dwell on their losses, and the winners know losses are going to come but that what we do with those losses make us who we are.
Bouncing back is part of life, and you should be able to bounce back after Trout destroys you or a first baseman makes an error to kill your bet.
This should be fun, but if it starts affecting you too much, it’s time to pause and reevaluate. I myself have gotten lost, mainly in college as a kid with bad unit management and out-of-control parlays. I had no discipline and would play half the card, always thirsting for action with late-night tennis.
While I did hit a 474-1, 10-leg tennis parlay, I lost it all by being reckless. You have to lose sometimes before you stare at yourself in the mirror and say the most important words:
I want to win.
I deserve to win.
I’m going to win.
Say those things to yourself every morning and give yourself that inner confidence needed to place your bets. Always look for an angle. And my biggest piece of advice: Only play what you want to play.
Just because somebody is on a hot run on social media doesn’t mean they won’t screw up, and if you find a stat or figure you think deserves to be bet against, then do it. It’s important to trust your instincts. It’s what will keep you the most profitable in the long run.
Remember: Bankroll management is everything. Keep parlays to a minimum. Follow the units, and you will be successful this year.