First five inning betting has really grown in popularity in recent years. Instead of betting the money line, total, or run line for all nine innings of a game, bettors can decide to bet the first five innings of a game. In that scenario, bets are graded the same as the full game, just with a shorter number of innings. Perhaps bettors got tired of bullpens blowing games or they realized that there were more advantageous opportunities with this form of betting, but this really is a betting option that has gotten a lot more traction.
  • Lines are set for favorites and underdogs
  • Overs and unders are available
  • The bet is graded based on the first five innings of play
  • The full game favorite is going to be the favorite for the first five innings bets as well.

Why First Five Bets are Popular

One of the advantages to this style of betting is that the starting pitchers are generally going to be the only pitchers to perform in the first five innings, unless they have a really bad day or get hurt. The managers decide which bullpen pitchers will be used and bettors have no way to handicap those players because they don't know who will pitch. Because we know the starting pitchers, we can home in more on what we expect out of them. That allows us the ability to have a better idea of what to plan is for during the game and also bet the game accordingly.

Differences in Odds When Betting MLB First Five Innings

Usually, there won't be big differences in the full game line and the first five line. A great starting pitcher on a bad team may get more respect in the first five innings, but that bad team is still likely to be an underdog against a better team. The favorite may be a bigger favorite with a top starting pitcher on the mound, but usually the lines are very close.
  • A -125 favorite may be more like a -135 favorite on the first five innings money line. A +140 underdog may be more like +135 or +130 depending on the pitcher. For the most part, the lines will be in the same range.
  • Totals are going to be about half of the full game total, but usually with half of a run added to the line. A total of 8 will have a first five innings total of 4 with extra juice or maybe 4.5. After all, five innings are more than half of a regulation nine-inning game.

Final thoughts on Betting MLB First Five Innings

There are few annoyances greater in this business than a bullpen blowing a lead, whether it is for the favorite or the dog. First five betting mostly takes this out of the equation. That being said, starting pitchers can certainly blow a lead to cost a first five bet in the middle innings. In another MLB article here at BangTheBook, you can read about starting pitchers and the Times Through the Order penalty, which is a big deal when it comes to first five betting. Keep this betting option in mind as an alternative to betting full game money lines and totals because it can be very profitable and can have more edges.