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How to Bet MLB First Five Innings

July 1, 2021
Betting baseball first 5

There are multitudes of betting opportunities when wagering on Major League Baseball. There are the standard moneyline, total, and run line bets, but there are others that can offer unique value. One of those is the first five innings bet. Success on this wager is similar to success on any other bet. You first need to understand how the bet works and then develop a strategy that produces more wins than losses. 

The F5 Bet

The first five innings (F5) bet is exactly what it sounds like. Bettors are wagering on the outcome of a game but only through the first five innings. What happens after the fifth inning plays no role in this bet.

Just like full game bets, the F5 bet offers moneyline, total, and even run line opportunities. The odds are a little less favorable than a full game. That is because there are fewer unknowns to consider when establishing and evaluating the odds. Generally, a F5 bet is safer than betting an entire game because pitching changes and relative strengths of bullpens come into play.

F5 Example

A typical F5 bet may appear as follows:

First Five Innings

Mets -185 O 4.5 (-110) -0.5 (+130)

Braves +155 U 4.5 (-110) +0.5 (-160)

A $185 bet on the Mets to “win” the first five innings, would pay out $100. Likewise, a $100 bet on the Braves would pay out $155. Simple enough. Just like that of a full-game moneyline wager. The same is true of a totals bet. You would be betting on the total going Over or Under 4.5.

Notice the run line. Typically, a F5 run line bet will see the run line set at 0.5. A higher percentage of games will be closer or even tied after five innings compared to complete games. That is why the run line is lower in a F5 bet.

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F5 Strategies

Betting the first five innings often comes down to a single factor – pitching. The best starting pitchers in MLB are typically pitching at least five innings. In the example above, the Mets deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball in 2021. He has allowed just six earned runs in 13 starts. The Mets ace has pitched 78 innings for an average of six per game.

Going up against Anderson of the Braves, you can see that deGrom is indeed the superior pitcher. The issue you might have with betting the Mets on the moneyline is the price, -185, but also the fact that the Mets are 29th in runs per game. While deGrom is likely to keep Atlanta scoreless, the Mets might struggle to score in the first five innings.

In addition to pitching, you need to look at lineups that are top heavy. Teams that have better hitters in the top three to five spots in the batting order typically do well in the first five innings. That is because the top three to five hitters will get an extra at-bat by the end of the fifth inning. Hitters at the bottom or the order will not.

Betting the first 5 inning baseball strategyTake as an example the 2021 San Francisco Giants. The Giants are ninth in runs scored (4.87) and they are also third in home runs per game. The Giants best hitters – Mike Yastrzemski, Buster Posey, Wilmer Flores, and Brandon Crawford – all hit at the top of the order. 

Couple the Giants impressive top half of the order with one of the best pitching rotations in baseball and you can see why San Francisco leads the majors in F5 moneyline wins. The Giants are 43-24-12 overall this season. 

All five Giants starting pitchers have a winning record. Collectively, Giants pitchers have a 3.21 ERA which is second-best in the majors. San Francisco trails only NL West rivals the Dodgers and the Padres who are tied for the MLB lead at 3.19. The combination of pitching and a strong top half of the batting order has given San Francisco an edge in F5 moneyline bets.

Two other teams that are hot are the Chicago White Sox and the Houston Astros. Again, pitching is the biggest factor in F5 betting and both Chicago (6th, 3.49) and Houston (9th, 3.68) rank in the top ten in overall ERA. Both teams are also very productive on offense, especially at the top of the order. The White Sox are seventh in runs per game (4.91) and the Astros lead the majors at 5.60 runs per game. 

While you won’t find as much value in F5 bets as compared to full game bets, there are opportunities to cash in day after day. Develop a strategy, stick to it, adjust when necessary, and reap the benefits of the F5 wager.

 

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