MLB Betting: First Five Innings, Last Four Innings, Prop Bets
by Dave Schwab - 6/6/2012
The NHL and the NBA seasons are just about over, so between now and the start of football in early September most of the betting public will shift their focus on wagering on Major League Baseball. While ever major sportsbook offers daily money lines, run lines, and total lines for the games, there are a number of interesting ways to bet on baseball other than sticking to the basics of a straight up play.
The following is a look at some of the more unique betting options you can find on WagerWeb, which is one of the most popular sportsbooks in the gaming industry.
First Five Innings
Just as the title suggests, you can wager on the results of the first five innings of a baseball game as opposed to the whole game. This is a great option if you concentrate most of your handicapping efforts on each team’s starting pitcher for a particular matchup. Since games tend to stay true to form through the early innings they also become somewhat more predictable.
Each team’s expectation is that its starter should last at least five innings, so you can get an excellent picture of a possible outcome by focusing more heavily on each pitcher’s current form and well as his past performance over the course of a season as well as against that particular team. This type of wager normally takes the bullpen out of play, which can further complicate handicapping a game.
The theory stands that the longer a game goes on the more it favors the better team, so a first five inning bet on an underdog can sometimes offer tremendous value since the difference in the money line between the first five innings and the full game is usually not that wide.
Last Four Innings
With this option, you bet on the outcome of the last four innings of a game just as you would the second half of a football or basketball game. There is much less predictability in this type of wager as each team’s bullpen usually comes into play as well as any other possible player substitutions or change in weather and field conditions that can end up having a major impact on the outcome. Any extra innings as a result of a tie after nine innings of play are included in this type of wager. As long as a game goes at least 8.5 innings the results will be considered final.
The main benefit to placing a bet on the last half of a baseball game is, first, the excitement factor. The same unpredictability that this wager carries can sometimes also bring a huge amount of value to its line. Late-inning comebacks and multiple-run rallies are more common that you might think in the majors, so oftentimes you can capitalize on a bad line. A simpler benefit is that the results of four innings of play are easier to handicap than five, even if it is later in the game.
MLB Prop Bets
Sportsbooks such as WagerWeb usually offer a number of daily prop bets for most of the games. This is an easy way to generate some action on a particular game when you do not have the time to do a thorough analysis of the entire matchup.
One of the most basic prop bets is ‘which team scores first’. This is where you can use past scoring trends for each team to make an educated guess at which one has the best chance to get on the board first. Another popular prop bet is how long a particular starting pitcher will last. There is a substantial amount of data available on every starting pitcher in the league that will once again allow you to make an educated guess on the ‘over/under’ of innings that he may last in that particular matchup.
While baseball may not carry the action and drama of the more popular betting sports such as football and basketball, it is well worth your time to explore the various wagers that sportbooks offer for MLB as there is enough out there to spice-up just about any game.
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