MLB 1st Inning Prop Betting

by faststeady

The average sports bettor that isn’t a fan of MLB isn’t generally going to bet on a baseball game. One reason bettors don’t bet on baseball is because the game is long and there is often not much going on. One way to get in and out of MLB betting markets is to wager on the 1st inning prop bets that most online sportsbooks offer nowadays.

There are two common types of 1st inning prop bets in MLB. The 1st prop bet is “what team will score first” and the 2nd prop bet that has become popular is “will there be a run scored in the 1st inning”. I like betting on whether or not there will be a run in the 1st inning because it’s simple to find value, as the sportsbooks set the odds for this prop bet without much thought.

The two best sportsbooks to bet on MLB 1st inning props are Pinnacle and 5Dimes. When handicapping whether or not there will be a run scored in the 1st inning you need to do several things. Most bettors don’t put in the time to research small prop bets like this MLB prop bet, but all you need to do is master one market to make a considerable amount of money.

MLB 1st Inning Prop Bet Odds

Sportsbooks release odds on 1st inning prop bets using simple formulas and move the lines based on the action they receive on the bet leading up to the game. When you bet on whether or not there will be a run in the 1st inning of an MLB game you simply bet on “Yes” there will be a run or “No” there won’t be a run. The bet will look like the example I’ve posted below.

  • R. Delgado / J. Johnson Must Start for Action
  • ATL/MIA Score in 1st Inning Yes -110
  • ATL/MIA No Score in 1st inning -110

With this prop bet the starting pitchers must start for action, which is important. The example above clearly hasn’t been bet into much yet today because the odds are -110/-110 on both sides of the bet. With these odds you need to bet $110 to win $100 on the “Yes” or on the “No” in this game, which means to breakeven you need to win 52.38% of your bets at these odds.

Handicapping MLB 1st Inning Prop Bets

I use several websites to assist me in handicapping 1st inning prop bets. When handicapping whether two teams will score in the 1st inning or not you need to look at several important statistics. I’m going to walk you through the steps I go through when I bet on 1st inning MLB prop bets using the example that I posted above.

How Often Does Each Team Score in the 1st Inning: I first look at how often each team scores in the 1st inning and to do this I use TeamRankings. In 2012 (Up to June 6th) both the Marlins and Braves have scored in the 1st inning in 29.09% of their games.

How Often Does Each Team Allow a Run in the 1st Inning: Another statistic that TeamRankings tracks is how often every MLB team allows a run to be scored in the 1st inning. Looking at the stats I can see that so far in 2012 the Marlins have allowed a run in the 1st inning 34.55% of the time while the Braves have only allowed a run in the 1st inning 27.27% of the time.

Look at 1st Inning Pitcher Stats: After I look at the two stats above I also look at the stats for the two stating pitchers. Looking at the stats for a pitcher throughout the season isn’t going to help much though. You need to analyze the starting pitchers stats in the 1st inning only and to do that I use Baseball-Reference. Using their site I can bring up inning by inning stats on every pitcher.

  • In the example above Randall Delgado and Josh Johnson are pitching. In 2012 thus far Delgado has 10 IP’s in the 1st inning and has allowed a total of 3 runs while allowing hitters to bat only .200 against him. Josh Johnson has 11 IP’s in the 1st inning and has given up 4 runs while allowing batters to hit .283 against him so far in 2012.

Confirm the Starting Line-Up: Make sure you don’t bet on this bet too early unless you see that the odds are drifting on the bet you want to make. You want to be able to confirm the starting line-ups, which you can do at RotoInfo. You can breakdown how batters are hitting in the 1st inning at Baseball-Reference, but I don’t bother doing that.

  • Once the line-up is confirmed I look at how the first few hitters have performed in recent games. You can quickly do this by looking at the box scores at the official MLB site. You want to make sure you know what power hitters are due up in the 1st inning (Jose Bautista on Blue Jays, etc.) and what speed players are leading off. I usually bet on the “No” with this prop bet and I’ll avoid teams with speedy leadoff guys that are hitting the ball well.

After doing my analysis on this bet I would bet on the “No” at -110 because I think I have a better than 52.38% chance to win this bet. Both teams only score in the 1st inning under 30% of the time, which is amongst the worst in MLB. Johnson is a solid pitcher and Delgado has great 1st inning stats (It’s his 2nd best inning based on stats in 2012 so far).

One thing to note is that you can do the work and still lose this type of bet on one unlucky bounce or bad pitch. You need to be able to stick with handicapping the games each day and not simply bet based on your “gut”. Ideally with a bet like this you don’t ever want to risk much juice because this bet is somewhat of a toss-up due to the unpredictable nature of bad bounces, etc. You need to make sure that you analyze pitchers 1st inning splits because even good pitchers may struggle early in games.

About The Author

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faststeady has been a professional sports bettor for the past decade and focusses on non-US sports here at