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MLB No Runs First Inning (NRFI) Odds & Picks: Sunday (5/5)

This afternoon we’re wrapping up another week in the MLB, and if you’re looking for some fast-paced action, you’ve come to the right place. Below I’ve listed my three favorite No Runs First Inning (NRFI) bets for today’s 15-match slate.

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Sunday’s best MLB first inning (NRFI) bets

(Also courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)

Detroit Tigers (+105) at New York Yankees (-125) | 7.0 (+102/-122)

The Yankees are coming off wins in the first two games of this series, meaning they will be looking for a win this afternoon when they take down Nestor Cortes Jr. send to the bump. Detroit counters with Tarik Skubal in this series finale, scheduled for 1:35 PM ET from Yankee Stadium in Bronx, NY.

Cortes looks good in 2024, going 1-3 with a 3.86 ERA (51st) and 1.10 WHIP (31st). The left-hander will face a Tigers team that has scored a first-inning run in 11 of their 33 games this season (33.3%). Detroit is still a bottom-tier offense, ranking just 22nd in team batting average (.226) and 23rd in OPS (.661). Cortes, who owns a 1.23 home ERA (22.0 IP) this year, should be able to shut down the Tigers early.

As for Skubal, let’s start with the fact that he is the frontrunner (+250) when it comes to winning the Cy Young award this season. The southpaw was fantastic in 2024, going 4-0 with a 1.72 ERA (7th) and 0.74 WHIP (2nd). He has three consecutive quality starts, allowing just three earned runs over the 19.1 inning sample size (1.40 ERA). New York has only scored seven first-inning goals in 35 games (20%), so I’m playing the NRFI.

Bet: NRFI (-150)


Boston Red Sox (+145) at Minnesota Twins (-175) | 7.5 (-118/-102)

The Twins are currently the most popular team in baseball, as they have won twelve straight. Minnesota will turn to Joe Ryan this afternoon to keep things moving, while Boston will opt for Cooper Criswell. The first pitch is scheduled for 2:10 PM ET from Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

With Ryan taking the ball, I love the NRFI in this game. The right-hander looked sharp to start the season, going 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA (35th) and 1.04 WHIP (23rd). He has a successful track record against the Red Sox, limiting them to a slash line of .207/.207/.379 over 29 plate appearances. Boston comes into action today having scored in just nine of their 34 first innings (26.5%) this season.

Criswell, on the other hand, is getting ready to make his fourth start of the season, and he has been a serviceable option for the Red Sox. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 1.65 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. Minnesota’s notable top hitters, including Ryan Jeffers (1-for-1), Willi Castro (0-for-2), Carlos Correa (0-for-2) and Max Kepler (0-for-2-for-1), are a combined 1-for-6 (.167) against Criswell with a single. Boston has allowed the fewest first-inning runs (4) in the league this season, and I’ll be watching for that trend to continue this afternoon. Give me the NRFI.

Bet: NRFI (-135)


Milwaukee Brewers (-125) at Chicago Cubs (+105) | 6.5 (-110/-110)

We have a rubber match in Wrigleyville this afternoon as the Cubs host the Brewers. Freddy Peralta gets the nod for the Crew, while the Cubs counter with Javier Assad. First pitch is scheduled for 2:20 PM ET from Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL.

Assad is preparing to make his seventh start of the season this afternoon, and the 26-year-old looked fantastic. After 32.0 innings of work, he is 2-0 with an ERA of 1.97 and a WHIP of 1.00. Milwaukee’s top three hitters of Willy Adames (1-for-1), William Contreras (0-for-1) and Rhys Hoskins (0-for-2) are a combined 1-for-4 (.250) against Assad and registered just one single one.

As for Peralta, this guy is a bona fide Cubs killer. He’s taken down this Chicago lineup in the past, limiting it to a slash line of .118/.212/.211 over 76 at-bats! The right-hander looked good to start the new year, going 3-0 with a 3.21 ERA (31st) and 0.86 WHIP (7th). Runs are always at a premium when these two teams meet, and I expect that to be the case in this dynamite pitching matchup. Let’s play the NRFI in the Windy City.

Bet: NRFI (-165)