MLB NRFI Betting Pick for Thursday: Shohei Ohtani, Framber Valdez Should Keep Game Scoreless Early (April 7)

MLB NRFI Betting Pick for Thursday: Shohei Ohtani, Framber Valdez Should Keep Game Scoreless Early (April 7) article feature image

Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Shohei Ohtani

Shayne Trail breaks down his favorite NRFI/YRFI bet of the day below, but you can follow all of his bets in the Action Network app.

Astros vs. Angels No Runs First Inning

MatchupAstros vs. Angels
First Pitch9:38 p.m. ET
Books AvailableDraftKings

The NRFI and YRFI are back! The best bet in baseball. There isn't a better time to take a first-inning bet than Opening Day. Today we look to take an Opening Day NRFI between the Los Angeles Angels and the Houston Astros.

Astros starter Framber Valdez was a very proficient NRFI pitcher last season. In 22 first innings pitched, Valdez held his opponents to a very solid .169 batting average, while only allowing one home run and in total posting a 23-7 NRFI record. This is including his almost perfect 13-1 NRFI record on the road.

The batter-pitcher matchups is in Valdez's favor as well. The top-four potential hitters Valdez may face are:

  • Shohei Ohtani, who is 2-15 (.133)
  • Matt Duffy, who is 0-0 (.000)
  • Mike Trout, who is 0-7 (.000) 
  • Anthony Rendon, who is 5-10 (.500)
  • Jo Adell, who is 3-10 (.300)

Anthony Rendon is the only matchup who may be dangerous here.

A split going our way is Valdez's 2.88 ERA away vs. his 3.45 ERA at home. Building on that in Valdez's one start at Angel Stadium in 2021, where he was immaculate, posting six hits and six strikeouts in seven innings.

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Ohtani's overall NRFI record wasn’t glamorous last season at just 17-6, and he had a 6.35 ERA in 22 first innings. But taking a deeper look going off his home-away splits, Ohtani's ERA is significantly different at home vs. on the road.

Ohtani's home ERA comes in at 1.95 vs. his away ERA at 5.02. resulting in a 10-3 NRFI record at home.

On top of this, Ohtani was 2-0 to the NRFI vs. the Houston Astros last season as well.

Ohtani's top-five potential hitters he may face are:

  • Jose Altuve, who is 4-12 (.333)
  • Yordan Alvarez, who is 2-5 (.400)
  • Kyle Tucker, who is  2-5 (.400)
  • Michael Brantley, who is 1-5 (.200)
  • Yuli Gurriel, who is 1-6 (.167)

A smaller sample size favors Ohtani, but not one single batter is dangerous potentially here.

The Angels as a team last year averaged 0.54 runs per the first inning, ranking 19th in the MLB. In contrast to this, the Astros pitching staff as a whole held the fourth-best opponent first-inning runs per game on the road at 0.46. The Angels ranked just  18th in the MLB last year in the first-inning score percentage at 29.01.

We will ride the first game jitters and take the NRFI in the Astros/Angles game at (-125) via DraftKings.

As always, six outs to glory…

Get all of Shayne Trail's NRFI/YRFI bets instantly in The Action Network app.

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