Welcome to today’s edition of USA Best Bets MLB Picks. The Major League Baseball week continues with a full 15-game slate on Friday, featuring some exciting matchups, including a series between two of the best teams in baseball, the Rays and Rangers, as well as Yankees vs Red Sox. This provides plenty of options to make enticing YRFI/NRFI plays.
The YRFI/NRFI market has gained popularity in baseball betting due to its immediate outcome. You no longer have to wait for the entire game; it all comes down to the first inning. Here are my best YRFI/NRFI bets for Friday, but make sure to check out all of our MLB picks for comprehensive insights.
NRFI Bet: Arizona Diamondbacks vs Detroit Tigers (-128)
In this game, the Tigers will start with Michael Lorenzen on the mound. Lorenzen boasts a 3.21 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 41 strikeouts, and only 12 walks in 53.1 innings of work. He has allowed just 1 earned run in his last 13.2 innings pitched and has kept the first inning clean in 3 of his last 4 appearances.
The Diamondbacks will counter with Merrill Kelly, which bodes well for NRFI bettors. Kelly holds a 7-3 record, 2.80 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 77 strikeouts, and 28 walks in 70.2 innings. He has gone five straight starts without surrendering a first-inning run. Additionally, this interleague matchup brings unfamiliarity between batters and pitchers. Evan Longoria (1-for-4) is the only Diamondback with a hit off Lorenzen, and Javier Baez (3-for-13) is the only Tiger with more than one hit off Kelly.
YRFI Bet: Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees (+102)
The New York Yankees will start Gerrit Cole, a familiar face to the Boston Red Sox. However, Boston’s lineup has had success against Cole in the past. Rafael Devers is 8-for-32 lifetime against Cole with an impressive 6 home runs, Alex Verdugo has taken him deep twice, and Justin Turner is 3-for-6 against him. Cole has also given up 5 earned runs in two of his last three starts.
Garrett Whitlock will take the mound for the Red Sox. He has a 5.61 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 25.2 innings this season. Giancarlo Stanton has homered once against him in 7 at-bats, and Isiah Kiner-Felafa has hit a home run in 5 at-bats. With at least one of these teams expected to score in the opening frame, backing the YRFI at plus money seems like a worthwhile bet.