I had a high school economics teacher who used to challenge his classroom. He would say things like “The early bird gets the worm,” and “good effort never takes a day off,” and “winners never quit.”
We hated that guy. But he taught us about the Laffer Curve and Laissez-Faire Capitalism. I use that stuff in my real life all the time (eye roll).
But is there a time when you can quit and still be a winner? Is it possible?
With first five betting in baseball, it is.
One of the beautiful things about betting on sports today is that you can make money even if your team loses the game, as long as you quit soon enough. Quitters can be winners. Take that Mr. Billings!
With first five betting, a bettor can wager on what the score will be through the first five innings of an MLB game. Doesn’t matter who wins the game, as long as his prediction for the first five innings is accurate.
What Is First Five Betting In MLB?
In first five innings bets the wager is on which team will be leading after five innings, or what the total runs will be through five innings. For example:
- A recent Yankees vs. Phillies game had an Over of 4.5 (-134) and an Under of 4.5 (+108). This means that if you bet $100 on the two teams scoring five runs or less through five innings, and that happened, you would win $108. If you took the over (five runs or more scored though five innings by the Yanks and Phils) and they won that bet, you would win $66 on a $100 bet.
- For a recent game between the Tigers and White Sox, FanDuel offered a Through 5 Innings Bet of White Sox (-122), meaning that if the Sox were ahead after five, you could win $88 on a $100 bet. But if laid your money on the Tigers and they led after five innings, you would win $118 on a $100 bet (since Detroit was +118).
Why bet on a baseball game through five innings? There are a few reasons:
- It makes the game simpler since you don’t have to account for the bullpens and late-inning moves which may be unpredictable. A First Five bet relies more on the two starting pitchers.
- So far in 2021, run scoring is low, with starting pitchers dominating with a mix of high-seam fastballs and great movement. Betting on the first half of the game allows you to make a wager on the best pitchers facing the lineup when they are fresh.
- Betting on “in-game” situations like First Five betting keeps the game interesting even if the outcome is not of interest to you.
- The new extra-innings rules implemented by MLB in 2020, and still in place, allow teams to start a half inning with a runner in scoring position. In tie games it can result in several runs being added in extras, which skews the game totals and over/unders. Betting on the First Five removes the chance of added runs being scored through this run-boosting rule.
- If you have an affinity for a certain pitcher or feel you know a pitcher is on his game, betting on the game totals or over/under may not be a wise strategy, since most starting pitchers only go 5, or possibly 7 innings. The bullpens can change the totals and you can lose your bet. Choose a First Five strategy when you want to bet on the performance of a pitcher you have your eye on.
Best Pitchers For Under Bets Through First 5 Innings
These nine pitchers have performed the best against the over/under on the under side so far this season through five innings. Note: these are not the pitchers with the lowest runs allowed through the first five innings of a game, but rather the starting pitchers who earn the best against the under through 5 innings (by DraftKings sportsbook) so far in 2021.
- Kevin Gausman, Giants
- Trevor Rogers, Marlins
- Lance Lynn, White Sox
- Dallas Kuechel, White Sox
- Steven Matz, Blue Jays
- Tyler Mahle, Reds
- Jack Flaherty, Cardinals
- Casey Mize, Tigers
- Brandon Woodruff, Brewers
A few notes on these pitchers:
Kevin Gausman is with his fourth team in a nine-year career, and maybe it’s the west coast, maybe it’s some sticky stuff on his fingertips, but he’s dealing in 2021. He’s undefeated as of this writing, and his ERA is very Bob Gibson-ish at 1.27. Gausman rarely faces the lineup a third time (he’s only went into the eighth inning twice), but he’s allowed more than one run only once this season.
Quietly in Detroit, rookie right-hander Casey Mize is gaining some swagger. Other than back-to-back rough outings in April, the heralded Tiger pitcher has a 2.26 ERA this year for a team that has practically no chance of scoring runs every night. With a tight margin for error, Mize has been delivering and is a good bet for the under when he takes the hill, especially on the road where his ERA through five innings is just a tick above 2.00.
Southpaw Dallas Keuchel is somehow 33 years old now and he’s also approaching 100 career wins. Seems like yesterday he was a promising pitcher for the Astros. Now he’s one of several pitchers having a good season for the White Sox. Unlike some of the others on the list above, Keuchel knows how to pitch on nights when he doesn’t have his best stuff, though he’s now a 6-inning guy. I like him as a pitcher for a game you have to win.
I think if I had to pick a pitcher under the age of 24 and get his future, I would pick Trevor Rogers, who might win a Cy Young this year. The lefty from New Mexico has made 13 starts this season and only wllowed as many as three runs in one of them. His ERA through five innings is an NL-best 1.68.
Your Baseball Moment Of The Week
This routine from the famed comedy duo of Abbott & Costello is always a winner. My kids loved for me to go through this when they were little. Enjoy!