MLB Handicapping Tips – First Five Innings, Baseball Betting
Baseball is a unique sport. It’s a team game, but individual players take turns influencing the games at various junctures completely on their own. A dominant starting pitcher can hang eight scoreless innings on the board only to see his closer blow the game in the ninth. Imagine that in football.
“Man, Drew Brees dominated for three quarters but the backup quarterback came in to ‘close’ the game in the fourth quarter and threw a pick-six!”
Thankfully, sportsbooks have come up with a new way of letting bettors isolate the part of a game they feel more confident about: first five inning lines.
HOW FIRST FIVE INNING LINES WORK
Betting a first five inning line is pretty simple. You just pick which team you believe will be winning the game after five innings.
SAME MONEY LINES, DIFFERENT RESULT
The beauty of first five innings lines is that they’re almost always identical to normal full-game money lines. That provides bettors with a major opportunity to profit.
If you do your homework and find MLB records through the first five innings, you’ll gain – and exploit – some valuable information.
The key is to find a team whose first five innings record doesn’t match up with its overall record. Last season, the Yankees were well above .500 and, not surprisingly, were favored in full-game money lines more often than not. However, they usually did their damage late in games by using their power and bullpen to stage big comebacks. They actually had a losing record in the first five innings of games.
Flash back to the earlier point: money lines for first-five innings are usually the same as full-game money lines. They reflect a team’s overall record and reputation, not its first-five innings performance. In other words, the Yankees were regularly favored to win the first five innings of games last year despite having a poor first five innings record. You can make a major profit betting on a first five innings line against a good team that secretly struggles in the first five innings, as you’ll get underdog value on the opposing team.
Obviously, you can also find value in a team with a poor overall record that secretly starts off games well. They’ll be underdogs at books but may “win” the first five innings before choking.
ISOLATING STARTING PITCHERS
My favorite thing about first five innings lines is that they let you focus on the part of the game you can most easily predict: starting pitcher performances.
We have oodles of info on starting pitchers. We have their recent efforts, their splits in every park, home/away, day/night, grass/turf, and their history against every hitter. There are no sure things in sports betting but it’s easier to predict starting pitcher performance than it is many other outcomes in sports.
It can therefore be extremely frustrating to see a bullpen blow a game. Jon Lester is 8-1 in 14 career starts against the Yankees, you bet on the Red Sox, and BOOM – Jonathan Papelbon blows the save and Boston loses the game.
With a first five innings line, you can isolate the part of the game you trust more. Picking the first-five innings – which Lester will almost certainly pitch – takes the Papelbon factor right out of the game.
ABUSING HOME AND AWAY RECORDS
The home/away principle in first five innings baseball betting is similar to the way you can turn a favorite on its head. Just as the Yankees struggled last season early in games despite their solid overall record, plenty of major-league teams have excellent overall home records but secretly scuffle early on in games at their own parks.
Money lines and first five inning lines almost always favor home teams. If you can find a team with a poor first five innings record at home but a good overall home record, you can again get solid underdog value on the road team by picking them to win the first five innings.
There you have it, folks. MLB first five innings line are overlooked by many bettors but are a simple and easy way to seriously up your odds of winning money on baseball every night. Good luck!