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BETTING

How to Bet First Five Innings Lines in MLB

Los Angeles Dodgers vs Colorado Rockies at Coors Field
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You have to give sportsbooks and linemakers credit. Though it is not with 100 percent certainty we can say this, it seems they were paying attention with so many bettors frustrated by bullpens blowing games for baseball bettors and Under bettors punished in the same manner.

The concept of wagering on the first five innings was an immediate hit with hardball gamblers and has since become even more fun and rewarding with increased options.

The Point of 5-Inning Baseball Bets

The basic mechanism of betting the first five innings is using the strengths (or weaknesses) of the starting pitchers, which is fundamental to quality handicapping. If you have a starting pitcher edge which can often lead to at least a one or two-run lead after five or six innings, you would like to believe that will hold over all nine innings.

But thanks to pitch counts and the analytics “experts” scared to death of having at least 65% of most starting pitchers going through the opposing lineup card a third time, they default to the bullpen with most early relievers having ERAs in the 4s or higher.

Whether on social media or just among friends, seeing a two or three-run lead dry up to lose games or Under wagers because of the bullpen was maddening. The 1st 5 options brought back the starting pitcher’s skills and at least partially took the bullpen aspect out of the contest.

The Upside of F5 Innings Wagering Sides

The simplest reason to make this wager is you are putting the game in the hands of the starting pitchers and the hitters. More than a decade ago, you could take the Top 2 hurlers of most squads above .500 and reasonably handicap the first six or seven innings with reasonable certainty. The outcomes didn’t always match the methodology, but you knew after the starter was out, there were specific setup men for innings seven and eight and a closer for the ninth.

That all changed with teams having 12/13 pitchers on the staff and you having to check how many relievers pitch daily to see who is fresh from game to game.

The first five innings in theory place the bettor back in control to determine an outcome. Because it is baseball, things go awry, yet by focusing on the best players in the game, (all 10 starters for each team) you eliminate the peripherals.

To be clear, it will cost you more to back teams with the better starting pitchers over five innings than nine, however, your comfort level should be higher and there are workarounds we will discuss shortly.

The Same Potential Benefits Apply to Totals

If your focus is primarily totals, the majority of sharper bettors are playing Unders. If this is you, the F5 gives you more control of the outcome.

Using a common total of 8.5, let’s say after five innings the score is 2-1. You look good and feel good, but both managers either start the next inning with a bullpen guy on insert one after an out or two. If you are a veteran capper, your heart rate immediately begins to climb knowing what might lie ahead. And if by chance the score after nine innings is 4-4 because of the pens, your frustration level is on overload.

But as we just explained, take that score of 2-1 and you trusted the starting pitchers to do their jobs with a total of 4.5, that’s a winner for you.

MLB Bettors Have New Tools to Consider for F5 Bets

You now understand most of the good news, but with F5 betting there is more. Because of the interest in the product, numerous sportsbooks have expanded their offerings at the MLB odds boards.

Earlier we mentioned F5 bets can be pricier with the better hurler and team. There is a remedy for that with books offering elements like a -0.5 run line for the first five innings.

This is how it would look.

  • Dodgers -200 ML over San Francisco – (9 Innings)
  • 1st 5 Innings – L.A. Dodgers -205 ML over San Francisco
  • 1st 5 Innings – L.A. Dodgers -130 (-0.5 RL) over San Francisco

In order to secure a victory with the Dodgers, you would have to win by one run anyway. This allows you to reduce the juice, which would cost you less in case of a setback. The only real negative is you lose the ability to have a Push, which often is not a bad outcome.

We hope you understand the reasons to bet F5 innings and they can work in your favor as they have for many.

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