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First Inning Bets

Gamblers by nature are an impatient bunch, constantly grumbling about the length of games. A new baseball betting opportunity does away with long waits and baseball bettors will know if they have won or lost their wager usually within 15 minutes. This is the first inning bet and it is one that is becoming increasingly popular with baseball bettors.
The first inning baseball bet is essentially an over/under bet with a constant total of .5 runs. Bettors simply bet if they believe a run will be scored in the first inning of a game or not. Because pitching match-ups have so much to do with the outcome of the wager, the moneyline is used, and naturally, bettors are forced to lay higher odds that a run will be scored when lower-quality pitchers are used, just as they are forced to lay higher odds when two aces square off against each other.

Typically, sportsbooks ask the bettor to wager into a 30-cent on first inning wagers, so a typical game will look like:

Will there be a run scored in the first inning?
Yes -120
No -110

Looking at the first 12 days of June, we see that out of the 164 games played runs were scored in the first inning 90 times, or 55-percent of the time. Using 55-percent as a base figure translates to an average moneyline price of -122, meaning if you lay an average of -122 you would need to win 55-percent of your games to break even.

One of the first things bettors will realize about first inning wagers is there isn’t a correlation between the game total and the first inning over/under etched in stone. Looking at the schedule for Friday, June 13, 2008, we’ll see the game totals range from 8 to 9.5, but there are similar first inning odds for games with different totals.

The game total for the New York Yankees at Houston is 9.5 over (-115) (bettors risk $115 to win $100 if they bet the over), while the game total for the game between Minnesota at Milwaukee is 9.5 under (-120). But for the first inning, bettors are asked to risk $115 to win a $100 that a run will be scored in the first inning of the Houston game, but are asked to risk $120 to win $100 that a run will be scored in the Milwaukee contest. Other games are a bit more pronounced, as the odds of a run being scored in the first inning at Seattle, where the game total is 8.5, are the same as the odds of a run being scored in the first inning at Arizona, where the total is 9.

Betting into a 30-cent line doesn’t make coming out ahead in first inning wagers any easier, but bettors do have several things working in their favor. The first is that bettors have the ability to pick and choose those wagers that offer good value. They can make bets only when they have the best of the odds.

The second, and most important, is that the first inning line is slanted towards being extremely pitcher oriented, with not quite enough weight given to the offensive capabilities of the teams involved. It should come as any surprise that a team like Texas saw runs scored in eight of its 11 games so far in June. That is by no means a recommendation to run out and bet a run will be scored in the first inning of every Texas game, but it does show that there are likely to be certain patterns and tendencies for both individual pitchers and teams.

Bettors willing to spend the time to study both the starting pitchers and how often they allow first inning runs, as well as the teams themselves, are likely to come across several solid wagering opportunities each week. It’s just a matter of how much time bettors are willing to put into it.

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