Maybe you don’t have the patience to watch an entire MLB game. Maybe you feel like you have an early edge based on handicapping the starting pitchers and the offenses. Maybe you just like to gamble on baseball. Whatever the case may be, first inning betting has really taken off recently in the Major League Baseball betting world. It’s really simple, which may be part of its appeal, but all you have to do as a bettor is decide if a run will be scored in the first inning or not.

Why Bet MLB First Innings?

Baseball is a really unique sport in that everything starts with a one-on-one matchup. In football, 11 guys are squaring off with 11 guys. In basketball, the two point guards may be facing off, but the ball moves quickly and teams start running plays and sets. In hockey, it is all about systems and structure. In baseball, it is all about pitcher vs. batter. Once the ball is hit, everybody else comes into play. Some starting pitchers have a hard time settling into games. Most starting pitchers have clear platoon splits, in which they perform better against hitters of a certain handedness.

What makes first inning bets popular?

This is a popular betting option for action junkies, who want a rapid resolution on a bet, but these have also become a very good option for astute bettors that feel like they have an edge. You can bet a lot of these in a given night because of how quickly they are graded and processed and there are also a lot of strong betting angles that come into play. One of the best things about baseball is that just about every stat can be found at one of the many baseball websites. There were 2,657 runs scored in the first inning in 2018! You might be surprised to find out that was the highest-scoring inning of them all. The first inning was also the inning with the most home runs with 706. Not surprisingly, Colorado allowed the most first inning runs with the thin air of Coors Field. The second team in the ‘R’ column was Baltimore, who had an awful starting rotation. Teams like the Nationals, Dodgers, and Cardinals, who all had good starting rotations, allowed the fewest first inning runs and the Rays allowed the fourth-fewest, which was aided in large part by their non-traditional “opener” strategy.

What to Look For When Handicapping First Innings

You can use a lot of factors to determine whether or not the chances of a team scoring a first inning run are high or low and then go from there.
  1. If a right-handed pitcher that has a lot of problems with left-handed batters is facing three of them at the top of the order, that would increase the chances of a first inning run being scored.
  2. If a right-handed pitcher is good at getting lefties out, maybe that first inning will be a little bit easier.
  3. Maybe wind is a factor.
  4. Maybe that pitcher is coming off of the disabled list.
  5. Teams that have high on-base percentage guys at the top of the order instead of fast guys with a low on-base percentage are going to have more success. Lineup construction is another big part of the handicap.

MLB First Inning Odds

Sometimes betting odds and lines can be confusing, but first inning scoring is as elementary as it gets. After all, the betting options are simply labeled “Yes” or “No”. Based on the starting pitchers and the lineups, the odds will be different from game to game on both Yes and No.
Say Corey Kluber is facing off against James Paxton. Those are two of the game’s best pitchers and the Indians and Mariners rarely face each other. Maybe the Yes will be +180 and the No will be -200 in a game like that. If Ian Kennedy and James Shields are the starting pitchers, the chances of a first inning run are much higher, so the Yes may be +120 and the No may be -140.

Final Thoughts on Betting MLB First Innings

This isn’t just some sort of gimmick. This is an honest to goodness way to bet edges by studying the pitching matchups and the first five hitters in a lineup. You can also get a lot of plus money prices on the Yes, even though the first inning was the highest-scoring inning. Use this to your advantage because it can be extremely profitable.