MLB picks Tuesday, 7/18 - YRFI & NRFI best bets today: Mets go scoreless again

New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) reacts after flying out to center field against the Atlanta Braves during the ninth inning at Truist Park.
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Ricky Dimon


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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports -- just about any and all you can think of! -- and coaching tennis in Atlanta, GA. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me. For Ricky Dimon media enquiries, please email
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The first full week of the Major League Baseball season’s proverbial second half is upon us. It continues on Tuesday, when the Dodgers visit the Orioles at 7:05 pm ET on TBS. With a normal 15-game slate on the menu, there is plenty to work with in an effort to come up with some successful YRFI/NRFI bets. The YRFI/NRFI market has become extremely popular in baseball betting. After all, you don’t have to sit around for 3 hours (or maybe a lot less now that games are not as long on average!) to see if your wager hits; the satisfaction (or in some cases disappointment) is immediate. It all comes down to the first inning. Here are my favorite YRFI/NRFI plays for Tuesday, and also be sure to check out all of our MLB picks for today’s matchups.

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Tampa Bay Rays vs Texas Rangers: NRFI (-106)

It is true that Tampa Bay and Texas are among the better first-inning offenses (5th and 8th, respectively), but there are reasons to like the NRFI on Tuesday and the value is good at close to even money. Nathan Eovaldi is starting for Texas and he is 10-3 with a 2.83 ERA. The veteran right-hander has pitched clean first innings in 2 of his past 3 appearances and he held the Rays scoreless through the first 3 innings of a June 10 matchup. Nobody near the top of the TB lineup has ever done anything against Eovaldi; Yandy Diaz is 2-for-15 lifetime, Wander Franco is 3-for-16 and Randy Arozarena is 2-for-15.

Taj Bradley is taking the mound for Tampa Bay. Although there isn’t a ton to like about his overall body of work in 2023, he has fired first-inning blanks in each of his last 2 starts and in 7 of his last 8. Bradley is a 22-year-old rookie, so the Rangers’ hitters have little to no familiarity with him. Give me the NRFI tonight.

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Chicago White Sox vs New York Mets: NRFI (-105)

When you see a matchup between the White Sox and Mets, you generally have to gravitate toward the NRFI. Chicago is 3rd-last in Major League Baseball with 0.39 first-inning runs per game; New York is dead last at 0.28. The Sox are particularly anemic on the road, averaging 0.29 in such situations compared to 0.50 at home. There is no reason to think anything will change on Tuesday evening at Citi Field.

Carlos Carrasco will get the game started when the Mets take the field and he has pitched to the NRFI in 5 of his last 7 starts. The left-hander is coming off his best start of the season, having tossed 8.0 innings of shutout baseball against Arizona on July 7. Chicago is countering with Lucas Giolito, who compiled a 2.32 ERA in June and boasts a 2.77 ERA through 2 July outings. He has also pitched scoreless opening frames in 5 of his last 7 efforts. Thanks to the all-star break, both pitchers are going on more than a week of rest and should be ready to come out firing. At -105, the NRFI has stellar value. 

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