MLB NRFI Odds, Picks, Predictions: Value on Zack Wheeler, Zach Thompson (July 28)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Zack Wheeler #45 of the Philadelphia Phillies.
- Intrastate rivals meet on Thursday night when the Philadelphia Phillies travel to PNC Park to face the Pittsburgh Pirates.
- Phillies ace Zack Wheeler earns the start against the Pirates' Zach Thompson, and both pitchers report favorable trends supporting an NRFI bet.
- MLB betting analyst Shayne Trail breaks down the matchup, including why he's betting on a scoreless first inning from Phillies vs. Pirates at 7:05 p.m. ET.
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.
No Runs First Inning (-125)
|Matchup||Z. Wheeler (Phillies) vs. Z. Thompson (Pirates)|
|First Pitch||7:05 p.m. ET|
On Thursday, we travel to PNC Park to find value in a NRFI between two intrastate rivals — the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Phillies will start their ace, Zack Wheeler. Entering today’s game, Wheeler brandishes one of the best NRFI records in the MLB at 16-2, with a very respectable 7-1 road NRFI split.
Wheeler’s 2022 NRFI performance should come as no surprise; he delivered a 27-5 NRFI record last season. His excellent NRFI performances in each of the last two seasons stem from his dominance against lead-off hitters. Wheeler has limited opposing lead-off hitters to a .170 batting average this season.
Wheeler reports limited appearances against the Pirates projected lineup, which leaves the edge of unfamiliarity to him. His best matchups today are against Michael Chavis (0-for-2 vs. Wheeler) and Josh VanMeter (0-for-3 vs. Wheeler).
The top of the Pirates order is entering a collective slump post-All-Star break:
- Bryan Reynolds: 0-for-8
- Michael Chavis: 2-for-12
- Yoshi Tsutsugo: 2-for-15
- Kevin Newman: 2-for-15
These hitting slumps have correlated with first-inning struggles for the Pirates during the last two weeks. In 42 first-inning plate appearances, they have only managed seven hits and two walks. That translates to a .175 team batting average, which ranks 26th in MLB.
The Pirates will counter with Zach Thompson, who reports a 10-5 NRFI record entering today’s matchup.
To find Thompson’s true NRFI value, you have to look at the game total. When the total 8 runs or less, he reports a 10-3 NRFI record during his short two-year career.
Taking it one step further: When the total is 7.5 runs or less, Thompson boasts a perfect 5-0 NRFI record.
Thompson is only in his second year as a starting pitcher, so he has had relatively few appearances against the projected Phillies lineup:
- Kyle Schwarber: 0-for-2
- Mitch Veriling: 0-for-2
- JT Realmuto: 1-for-3
- Nick Castellanos: 2-for-5
Some Phillies batters have also entered slumps during the last seven days:
- Nick Castellanos: 4-for-24
- Kyle Schwarber: 2-for-22
- Matt Vierling: 3-for-16
As a result, the Phillies have posted the worst first-inning numbers in baseball during the last two weeks. In 38 plate appearances, they have four hits and one walk. Philadelphia’s .108 team batting average ranks 30th in MLB.
The Phillies seem to have overcome their previous road YRFI struggles. This season, Philadelphia has posted a scoreless first inning in 83% of its games.
Look for Wheeler to shut down the Pirates hitters and for the Phillies’ road bats to continue to struggle in the first inning. Take the NRFI between the Phillies and Pirates.
As always, six outs to glory…
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