MLB’s Best (and Worst) First Half Betting Teams

Resurgent Mets Lead the Way

When you’re betting on baseball, there’s nothing worse than having a surefire winner for eight innings that blows a late lead. The only way to avoid that while still being able to bet on individual teams with having some kind of legitimate stake in how a game plays out is to focus on first half betting.

By betting odds on a team on the first five-inning Moneyline (or spread), you can back a side while making sure that the bullpens play as minimal a role as possible. So, in a way, betting on MLB first-half picks can be more predictable than going with a full-game Moneyline or runline.

Of course, weird stuff can happen in the first couple of innings of games that might smooth out over three hours but, with these bets, you can mostly rely on the starting pitcher matchups because they play such a important role early in games. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the most profitable first-five teams so far this season as well as the teams you should avoid with these bets…

Teams To Follow

New York Mets

Unsurprisingly, the red-hot New York Mets — currently leading the NL East by 10½ games, and they are by far baseball’s best ‘first-five’ team. As of Thursday morning, New York is a ridiculous 32-11-9 on the ‘first-five-Moneyline’ thanks to fantastic starting pitching and clutch hitting. The Mets are averaging nearly three runs per game in the first five innings and, due to a sweep of the Washington Nationals, are only behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs in that statistic.

Even without Jacob deGrom or Max Scherzer (for now), the Mets are getting solid starts nearly every time out. Plus, it helps that they’re batting .290 with runners in scoring position and have a well-above-average OPS in each of the first five innings of games other than the 2nd. The Mets start games well in every aspect which makes them a perfect option for first-half match betting in baseball.

You can’t argue with the profitability, either. First-five Moneyline bets — based on a $100 wager per game — on the Mets have paid out well over $1,300. That’s more than double the next two most successful teams, the Houston Astros and New York Yankees.

Houston Astros and New York Yankees

The Mets have been so good in the first five innings of games that they deserved their own individual section while the Astros and Yankees have to share. Because Houston and (the other) New York have had great starts to their respective seasons, it’s intuitive that they would both be great in terms of first half betting.

Their rotations are No. 3 and No. 2, respectively, in starting pitcher ERA which kind of sums things up easily. While neither the Astros nor the Yankees have lit up the scoreboard in terms of offensive production thus far — at least based on what they usually do — they’re both hovering around 15 games above .500 in terms of the ‘first-five Moneyline’ and they have been profitable to the tune of over $600. It’s a far cry from the Mets’ success, sure, but they’ve each been extremely consistent, early-game teams to bet on.

Teams to Fade

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers are still trying to recapture their success from a year ago when they used one of baseball’s most promising young rotations to win 77 games. 2022 has been much more of a struggle and that has been reflected in Detroit’s issues in first half betting. The Tigers are dead-last in runs scored in the first five innings of games, pushing across just 1.36 runs per game which is the worst figure in the Majors by over .4 runs.

The offense has been bad across the board but the early-game issues have essentially negated Detroit’s middle-of-the-pack pitching staff. It doesn’t matter how well you pitch in the first five innings if you can’t score any runs. So, it makes sense that Detroit is 15-28-7 on the ‘first-five Moneyline‘ and has cost ‘first-five Moneyline’ bettors over $1,200 this season.

Baltimore Orioles

The only saving grace for Detroit from a first half betting perspective is that at least the Tigers aren’t the Orioles! The only team with a worse ‘first-five Moneyline’ record — and with more of a profit margin in the negative — than Detroit, has been Baltimore. The Orioles are a respectable 22-30 overall this season but they’re 13-28-11 on the ‘first-five Moneyline’ and $1,300 in the red.

Baltimore’s main issue has been pitching, not offense. The Orioles aren’t an offensive powerhouse, especially in the first five innings — they’re averaging a third-worst 1.81 runs per game in the first five — but their starters have a 4.90 ERA and their pitchers, in general, are allowing {well-above-average opposing offensive production} in each of the game’s first five innings individually. Essentially, Orioles pitchers are getting better as the game goes on, which does nothing for first-five bettors.

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