Whether you want to bet on (or against) the Toronto Blue Jays, or any other team in MLB, online sportsbooks will have a ton of MLB odds for you.
In addition to the many full-game bets you can make, you can focus on the first five innings. On this page, we’ll explain the key differences between betting on a nine-inning MLB contest and the first five innings of a game.
First five innings vs. full game bets. What’s the difference?
In other sports such as basketball and football, you can bet on the entire game or bet on a certain portion of the game. Markets are broken down into full game, quarters and halves.
Baseball isn’t a timed game, so it can’t be broken down the same way, but there are still similar options. Those who bet on MLB can bet on the full game, of course, but another popular area of online sportsbooks is the first five innings market (F5).
If you understand the difference between first-half and full-game betting on the NBA or betting on the NFL, you’ll easily grasp what separates first 5 innings lines and full-game lines in MLB.
Full-game MLB betting lines are odds for the entire game, covering all nine innings, including any extra innings. Full game bets settle when the game is complete.
On the other hand, F5 betting is pretty self-explanatory. These bets cover only the first five innings of the game, and bets settle at the end of the fifth frame. Anything that happens later in the game is of no consequence to a five-inning bet.
Here’s what that means as far as the strategic aspects of the game.
3 factors to consider when betting first five innings
Here are the key differences between first-five-inning and full game betting explored in full.
1. F5 bets take bullpens out of play
Starting pitchers play a huge role when it comes to F5 betting lines. They’re usually in the game for the duration of the bet. Most bullpens come into play for the last few innings of the game. By the time relief pitchers come in, many first five innings bets are settled.
If a team has a strong starter going but their bullpen struggles, that can be a good spot to make an F5 bet over a full game bet. The same goes the opposite way with weaker starters and a strong bullpen behind them.
2. Run line changes based on F5 or full game
Full-game run lines are typically 1.5 runs, whether it’s -1.5 for the favourite or +1.5 for the underdog. But when you bet on the first five innings, the run line changes to -0.5 for the favourite and +0.5 for the underdog.
Favourites need to lead by only one run to win an F5 bet. Underdogs trailing by a run at the end of five innings would be a losing bet. By contrast, a one-run loss with a full-game bet is a win for the underdog.
3. Full game moneylines always have a winner, but F5 games do not
Full-game bets cover all nine innings or until the game ends. Unless otherwise stipulated, all full game lines include extra innings. This means there will always be a winner and loser on the full-game moneyline.
On the other side, there’s a chance that the game is tied after five innings. This would be a push, and the original stake would be returned to the bettor.
Some sportsbooks have added a three-way moneyline option that includes a tie as an option for the first five innings. In these cases, odds pay slightly better because a tie score would result in a loss for any bettor who chose either team.
Full-game MLB betting explained
When you open any of the Canadian sportsbook apps and scroll to the Major League Baseball games, full game odds are always the ones that appear. The full-game moneyline, run line and total runs are the most conventional and popular types of bets to place in any sport, baseball included.
Full-game MLB moneylines
Moneylines are the most common bet type. They’re simply on which team will win a given game. Regardless of the score, the bettor just needs their side to win in order to earn a profit.
Favourites have a negative moneyline, and underdogs have a positive line. To figure out how much you stand to win or lose, use the number 100 as a guide.
Betting the favourite means risking the moneyline amount for every $100 in profit. In our example, the Yankees (-134) are the favourite, and to win $100, you must risk $134. Think of underdog moneylines as the amount you stand to win if risking $100. The odds on the Blue Jays (+115) make them the underdog here, and a risk of $100 can earn $115 in profit.
Full-game MLB run lines
Run lines are the baseball betting version of point spread odds. The key difference is that point spreads vary from game to game to account for the difference in quality between the two teams.
With run lines, the spread is always -1.5 for favourites and +1.5 for underdogs. In baseball, runs are at a premium, unlike points in football and basketball, so the run lines in MLB games don’t vary like the spreads we see in other sports.
Betting favourites on the run line requires the team to win by two or more runs but offers a generous payout compared to the moneyline. A bet on the Yankees -1.5 (+117) means risking $100 to win $117 in profit. With underdogs, bettors are rooting for the selected team to win the game or lose by just a single run.
Taking the underdog in this spot lessens the potential payout but provides an extra run as a margin for error. The Blue Jays +1.5 (-139) require the bettor to risk $139 for every $100 in profit.
Full-game MLB totals
Totals fly under radar compared to moneylines and run lines, but they are another simple and potentially lucrative way to bet on baseball. Betting on the total, also known as the over/under, requires predicting whether the combined score of the two teams will go over or under the predetermined number set by oddsmakers.
Using our example, the total is set at O/U 10.5 runs. Taking the Over 10.5 (-113) requires 11 or more combined runs and a $113 risk to win $100 in profit. Betting on the Under 10.5 (-107) means the bettor needs 10 or fewer combined runs and to risk $107 for every $100.
With full-game totals, the over/under includes any potential extra innings that are played unless otherwise stipulated.
F5 betting explained
On top of the many full-game markets offered, many online sportsbooks offer options revolving around strictly the first five innings of the game. These rules mirror those of full-game betting; the only difference is that the lines are adjusted to account for about half of the game instead of all nine innings (or more).
Let’s check out some first five innings odds from the Bally Bet Canada Sportsbook for the same Yankees vs. Blue Jays game we discussed above.
First 5 innings moneyline
The F5 moneyline is simply a bet on which team will be ahead at the end of the fifth inning. Once again, the favourite has a negative line while the underdog has a positive line. A bet on the Yankees -145 requires a $145 risk to win $100, and a wager on Toronto means risking $100 to win $120.
Although it’s not in this example, there are many cases when moneylines on both sides are closer to even money compared to full-game lines. Favourites may not come with quite as much risk, and underdogs may not offer as large of a payout.
First 5 innings run lines
There are some notable differences between run line betting on the first five innings compared to a full game, the first of them being that the spread is no longer 1.5 runs for both sides. Instead, favourites are -0.5 runs, and underdogs are +0.5 runs.
A first five innings run line bet on the Yankees at -0.5 (-110) means risking $110 to win $100 and needing New York to be ahead by at least a run. An F5 run line bet on the Blue Jays at +0.5 (-115) requires a slightly larger $115 stake for every $100 in profit, and this bet cashes if the score is even or if Toronto is ahead.
Unlike betting the two-way moneyline for the first five innings, there is no possibility of a push. In the event of a tie, the favourite would lose and the underdog is the winning side.
First 5 innings totals
Betting on first five inning totals is just like the full game over/under, except you wager on a smaller number. Usually, the first five innings total will be around half of the full-game total, which makes some sense, although the starting pitching matchup is really what helps dictate the F5 total for oddsmakers.
An Over 5.5 (-120) wager wins $100 with a $120 risk, and an Under 5.5 (-105) bet means risking $105 to profit $100.