What Does NRFI Mean? – NRFI Baseball Bet Explained

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A good number of sports betting fans consider baseball to be among the more slow-moving sports, and, not coincidentally, these people are not blessed with an abundance of patience.

Baseball’s “NRFI” bet certainly solves the problem, and we’re here to explain the NRFI meaning, introduce the wager, and show you how it works.

BetOnline NRFI option

What Does NRFI Mean in Betting?

“NRFI” – pronounced “Nerfy” in baseball betting conversations  – is an acronym for No Runs First Inning.

It’s a Major League Baseball (MLB) wagering market that simply asks whether there will be any runs scored in the first inning.

For the NRFI baseball bet to cash, both teams must fail to score during the first inning. The score must be 0-0 after the bottom of the first inning is completed.

One or more runs – by either team – in the first inning means the bet loses.

How Does NRFI Betting Work?

At most of the best online sportsbooks, the NRFI option can be found in “game props” or similar within the betting markets for a given MLB game.

The odds for and against runs being scored in the first inning generally swing according to the teams’ starting pitchers. The more talented the pitcher, the less likely a run will score in the first inning.

You can find games in which the “no runs” option is plus money all the way to -150 or more.

Example NRFI Bet

Let’s look at a NRFI bet offered at BetOnline Sportsbook.

BetOnline NRFI bet

The New York Mets and San Francisco Giants played Tuesday, April 23, 2024.

BetOnline had the NRFI option – called “Will There Be a Score in 1st Inning” – among the game props options, as usual.

The high price to take the “No” option was due to the talent of both starting pitchers. The Mets’ Luis Severino and the Giants’ Logan Webb had performed very well in their early appearances this season.

Both pitchers entered the game with an ERA (Earned Run Average — the number of runs they allow per nine innings pitched) of less than 3.00.

Therefore the “Yes” option was listed at +125.

Choosing the “Yes” option for whether there would be any runs scored in the first inning would return $12.50 on a $10 wager. When the original stake ($10) is included, a winning bet on the “Yes” option would return $22.50 for a profit of $12.50.

Choosing the “No” option would require a bet of $16.70 to return $10. When the original stake ($16.70) is included, a winning bet on the “No” option would return $26.70 for a profit of $10.

How to Place NRFI Bets

Most sportsbooks offer the NRFI bet within an MLB game’s “props” section or within the innings-specific options.

With the expanded innings options in some of the best MLB sportsbooks, be sure to select the first inning because many sportsbooks offer yes/no runs props on every inning in a given MLB game.

We will use BetOnline Sportsbook for our example bet, with easy-to-follow steps.

  1. Go to BetOnline and create an account if you don’t have one alreday.
  2. Choose “Baseball” from the menu options.
  3. Find a game and select it.
  4. Scroll to “Props” and select “Game props” from the options.
  5. Find “Will there be a score in 1st inning” option.
  6. Select your wager, either “Yes” or “No” from the two options presented.
  7. Determine the amount you plan to risk and place your bet.

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Pros & Cons of NRFI Betting

Pros pros

  • Tons of first-inning runs data freely available.
  • Bets are settled quickly.
  • A good bet for baseball fans who understand the sport.

Cons cons

  • Risk of bets being ruined by errors.
  • Injuries can impact your wagers.
  • Umpiring decisions can affect your bets.

We’ve expanded on the pros and cons below.

Pros:

Research can yield meaningful advantages. So popular are NRFI bets, you can find statistics directly addressing each MLB team’s success and failure regarding first-inning runs.

NRFI baseball bets, of course, are settled quickly. This is a benefit for those with some form of attention deficit, and/or for those who enjoy quick returns on their wagers. The standard length of a baseball game approaches 2 1/2 hours, but the NRFI bet is usually settled within 15-20 minutes.

Baseball fans have the advantage. Sports betting is more enjoyable when placing a wager on your favorite teams and sports. Armed with that innate knowledge, you can better prepare for a NRFI bet.

Cons:

An error can affect the outcome. For example, if the pitcher allows the batter to reach first, a subsequent error can scuttle your wager. One mistake on an easy ground ball can send that runner from first to third, through no fault of your pitcher — or your research. Now, there is a strong chance for that runner to score and wreck your NRFI bet.

Injuries can play a significant role. If either starting pitcher has a physical problem and can’t complete the first inning, all of your pitcher-specific handicapping angles go out the window.

Umpiring decisions can cost you. The umpires are in charge, and if one decides to eject a player – perhaps the starting pitcher – because of misbehavior (arguing balls and strikes calls, for instance), you’re in trouble.

The pitcher who takes the place of the starting pitcher is, in all likelihood, unprepared to reward your NRFI wager.

NFRI Betting Tips

There are standard betting tools and strategies to more accurately inform your decision on the NRFI wager.

1. Consider the Lineup

1. Consider the Lineup

Is a team fielding its strongest batting order, or are some hitters being rested? This information is easily found and must be considered. Especially important is the makeup of a team’s 1-2-3 hitters, since the lower part of the batting order is largely irrelevant for NRFI wagers.

2. Study the Starting Pitchers

2. Study the Starting Pitchers

This is the most vital piece of the NRFI puzzle. Determine how well each pitcher has been performing and proceed accordingly. MLB’s official website has the option of filtering first-inning success amid its pitching statistics.

Some pitchers have trouble early in games, leading to more runs allowed in his first inning of work. One key stat to monitor is the pitchers’ strikeout rates. The fewer chances a team has to reach base, the better for a scoreless first inning.

3. Note Team Streaks

3. Note Team Streaks

Determine whether either team is carrying offensive momentum into the game you’re considering a NRFI bet. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion, so if a team has scored eight or nine runs in the previous couple of games, that trend is more likely than not to continue.

4. Consider the Location of the Game

4. Consider the Location of the Game

NRFI baseball bets are more likely to hit if there is bad weather, rain and/or extreme cold, as the game begins. Check the forecast, and consider the stadium in which the game is played.

Also, “Ballpark Factors” is a go-to statistic that helps fans to understand whether a particular ballpark is more, or less, likely to see more offense.

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Jay Dieffenbach
Sports Betting Expert
Jay Dieffenbach
Sports Betting Expert

Jay is a Sports Betting Writer at Techopedia.com, and has been working in US sports for more than 20 years. He's worked for Daily Racing Form, the Arizona Republic, The Athletic and FanDuel among other sports and gambling positions.