Pros and cons of the 5-inning bet
Baseball bettors are usually content with betting on the moneyline, runline or alternate runline. But a less widely known wager type that can be a fill a handicappers pocket is the 5-inning bet, also known as the first-half bet.
Simply, this bet is placed on a line based on the result of the first five innings of a baseball game. It’s a tricky bet to master, but once a handicapper understands how they work, it could be profitable.
With that, here are some pros and cons wagering 5-inning bets.
First, the action on the 5-inning bet lines is usually less, which means adjustments to the opening line will be less, and in turn allows smart bettors time to find lines that can be exploited. Many times there is less attention on these lines from the oddsmakers, so mistakes are far more frequent.
Second, handicappers can take advantage of only having to pay attention to starting pitchers, which is the single biggest factor in baseball handicapping. Because MLB starters usually don’t stay on the mound for more than six or seven innings, a handicapper has the advantage of not having to factor in a team’s bullpen ability to win a ballgame.
There is no way of knowing who is going to be pitching and how they will perform once a manager goes to the pen, so the 5-inning bet takes the bullpen out the equation, allowing baseball handicappers to capitalize on a mismatch in starting pitching matchups.
Next, because strategic lineup changes usually happen after the fifth inning, like a pinch runner or batter, betting on the first half of the game allows bettors to know the best part of the lineups.
Still, handicappers betting on baseballs first half the game, need to be cautious.
For starters, there is less margin for error when placing a 5-inning bet, especially if a team’s starting pitcher implodes. This does happen from time to time even in the majors, and a if a handicapper guesses wrong in the first five innings, there is far less of a chance that a lucky break will save them from early trouble.
A 5-inning bet will also usually diminish the edge for favorites, because the underdog has a much better chance of competing with a better team over a shorter time span. This can lead to attractive underdog payoffs, so bettors need to be careful when considering a wager on the favorite.
Finally, there is no significance of the fifth inning. If the team a handicapper wagered on is trailing heading into the fifth, they aren’t likely try very hard to take a lead, knowing that they have very little chance of overcoming an early slip-up.
Instead they are just going to try to avoid a blowout, and the game is pretty much over after that, along with a baseball handicappers chance of cashing in.