Baseball games don’t run on a clock, which means games can last two hours or four. They can be high-scoring affairs with multiple homers or pitching duels that end 1-0. The most important play could be a balk, or a pitcher could throw a no-hitter.
Options to bet on a Major League Baseball game are endless as well. When Texas legalizes sports betting, fans can bet on every element of baseball games.
One of the more popular ways to bet on a single game is through a first five innings bet. These are also called F5 bets. This is a bet that is solely based on the results of the first five innings of your selected game.
MLB first five innings odds
The odds on an F5 bet are slightly different than for traditional moneylines or run lines. This is because it’s only counting a limited piece of the contest. A tie after five innings will be an option offered by many sportsbooks.
Since F5 odds are based on the game’s start, there will be heightened odds on a large favorite. The starting pitcher matchup is also a huge factor for first 5 innings bets. Teams with an ace pitcher on the mound will open with a big advantage.
Let’s envision a matchup between the Astros and Rangers. If the Astros are starting All-Star pitcher Justin Verlander and the Rangers are starting a guy they just pulled out of Triple-A, then the advantage swings heavily toward the Astros odds in those first five innings.
These odds might look like this.
- Texas Rangers +220
- Houston Astros -175
The sportsbook has made the Astros huge F5 favorites because oddsmakers believe Verlander will be pitching and pitching well. Now, the odds can always shift slightly if a lot of money comes in on one side. Different sportsbooks may view the matchup differently and post different first 5 innings odds.
When the sports betting odds are positive, that tells you how much you will profit from a winning $100 bet. In our example, if you put $100 down on the Rangers odds to lead after five innings, you’ll get $225. If the number is negative, that tells you how much you’ll need to wager to get a profit of $100, so you would need to bet $175 on Verlander and the Astros in this case to make $100.
Looking around at the different lines at legalized TX sportsbooks is always a smart move before you click on the betslip.
What is a first five innings bet?
You can find a first five bet by clicking through individual game listings. Remember an F5 bet is based entirely on stats after five innings are completed.
When you click on an F5 bet option under your game of choice, you’ll be given the option of betting a moneyline on each team (meaning which team you think will be winning after five innings), plus a run line at the five-inning mark and a run total to that point.
Anything that happens from the sixth inning on in the game is irrelevant.
What’s the difference between first five and full-game bets?
In basic sports betting terms, a full-game bet is based on the final outcome of a contest; usually, that means nine innings.
An F5 bet locks you in on the first five innings of the game. You get paid when the first pitch of the sixth inning is thrown. By that time, all F5 bet outcomes are decided.
Beyond purely logistical differences, consider how the game of baseball itself impacts these bets. In most full-length games, the bullpen comes into play. Relief pitchers are usually not as good as starting pitchers, or they are only in the game for a brief period. This creates a lot of unpredictability toward the end of baseball games.
But with first five innings bets, likely, you’ll only be dealing with starting pitchers (unless one or both of them is shelled out of the game early). Another reason the F5 bet is tantamount to a pitching bet is that hitters usually don’t do as well facing a pitcher the first time they see him that day.
When do first five bets make the most sense?
Besides starting pitchers, another factor to consider when making an F5 bet is what team is hot and what team isn’t. Major League Baseball teams wade through long 162-game seasons and experience many peaks and valleys. Hitters get hot, pitchers get loose, and all of a sudden everything is going your way.
F5 bets make sense when you’re convinced there is a distinct advantage in starting pitching matchups, but remember, the odds would also skew heavily toward your side. Do your homework, check out first 5 innings stats to see what pitcher has been coming on, which one is fading, and try to spot a matchup you like.
MLB F5 betting examples
Let’s look at an example of a first five innings bet for a game between the Oakland A’s and Houston Astros.
- The A’s, a team with a losing record, are listed as the underdogs at +225.
- The Astros are heavy favorites at -280.
The run line, akin to baseball’s point spread, shows the Astros favored by 0.5 of a run, meaning basically you’re betting that after five innings the Astros will be winning the game.
The last part of the F5 bet is the total runs with the over/under set at 4.5. You can either wager that after five innings the two teams will have combined for five runs or more (the over) or fewer than that total (the under).
These are all pretty standard numbers for the over/under and run line, but always keep your eyes open for any unique numbers posted by regulated Texas sports betting sites.
Other ways to bet on MLB innings
Live betting gives you the opportunity to bet on a game after it starts. It is also offered by the inning. Caesars online sportsbook, for one, offers an over/under total for each inning as the game goes along, counting the number of runs scored, starting with zero all the way to three. The payoff is more for more runs scored.
There are also inning-by-inning money line bets available. With these, you can wager on who is going to be leading the game after each inning, with the odds reflecting the game’s result to that point. This means if the Rangers are leading 8-1 in the fourth inning, they’ll be heavy favorites to be still winning after the fifth. You can still bet on the Rangers in that case, but just know that the return will be small.
Sportsbooks in Texas will also offer bets on who is winning after the third inning and/or seventh inning. The idea is the same as the F5 bet, just a different demarcation point for the bet to pay off.
Each MLB game also comes with a chance to bet on a player’s performance, like the over/under on how many strikeouts a pitcher will rack up or how many singles a batter will hit.
Online sportsbook rules for F5 betting
Legal Texas sportsbooks will have clearly written rules for paying off first five innings bets. Here are the key first 5 innings bet rules you should know for betting on the first 5 innings moneyline, first 5 innings run line, or first 5 innings over under or run total.
- Sportsbooks settle bets using official league data. They go by the official scorer present in the home stadium to clarify any issues between hits/errors and runs scored.
- When an F5 bet doesn’t include the option for a tie, a game where the score is equal at the end of five innings is considered a “push.” All bets are refunded.
- If a game is rained out or postponed, a bet may be considered void unless the game is finished within a reasonable timeframe, usually 24 hours.
- All bets are considered live once the game starts.
All this said baseball games are prone to quirks. Sportsbooks reserve the right to handle unique situations how they deem appropriate. We advise that you always look over the house rules for specifics.
How MLB betting works
The Major League Baseball season stretches from April to October. Each day, Texas sportsbooks will post lines on that slate of games. As we have discussed, each game comes with a mountain of opportunities to bet on team and individual performances.
The three most common bets are the moneyline bet on a game. Here, the sportsbooks establish a favorite and underdog with corresponding odds, and you pick who is going to win. Then, the run line is the spread of runs by which the favorite is expected to win. This is created to balance the odds and promote betting on either side. Finally, the over/under total asks bettors to predict whether the two teams’ combined run total will exceed or fall short of a set run threshold. Usually, that number has a decimal, like 6.5, eliminating any chance of a push bet.
After those three main parts, baseball betting sites have many other odds on offer. As we’ve said, you can also bet on results after the first three, first five or first seven innings. There are also alternate line bets, where you can slide the run line one way or the other to enhance your odds. Lastly, don’t forget prop bets on player performance like MLB Most Valuable Player odds.
Key takeaways on F5 vs. full-game bets
First five innings wagering is unlike full-game wagering because the factors that you have to weigh are different. Most notably, you’ll pay extra attention to starting pitchers with F5 bets.
F5 bets are great for fans who follow their team closely. You’ll benefit from studying the rotations and lineups, plus you know what kind of form your team is in. Finally, since it’s a bet on a partial result, you can still win an F5 bet even if your team loses the game.