Betting Strategy For First Inning Runs Scored & Pitching Stats

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The Major League Baseball season is nearing which means my homework is in full swing. One of my favorite baseball props to bet on any given day is the Yes/No on First Inning Score.

It may sound a little degenerate, but having your baseball action decided after one inning is exhilarating. It also allows you to carry on with your day without worrying about keeping track of three hours of ball.

There is an art form to playing the Yes/No prop. Many bettors have their angles and strategies, but mine is pretty simple.

  1. Who are the starting pitchers?
  2. Check the 1-5 lineup–are there injuries or changes to the normal lineup?
  3. Verify the weather, is it favorable to the hitter?
  4. Does the betting line or juice go in my favor?

Most baseball handicappers are already checking this information for a full game wager on a side or total. Take a few extra seconds and check the first inning stats and make sure you’re not missing out on value.

10 Pitchers Who Had Runs in the First Inning

Here are the top ten pitchers who gave up the most runs in the first inning (with more than ten first innings pitched) in 2018:

TeamPlayerERAIPHRERHR
COLAnderson, T10.5231.248383711
CWSGiolito, L9.0032.04134324
COLMarquez, G8.4533.04832317
SEAHernandez, F8.1628.237262611
HOUKeuchel, D6.8834.04726263
CHCHamels, C5.9731.23826219
ATLTeheran, J6.9731.02625248
CHCHendricks, K6.8233.037252510
NYMMatz, S7.2829.23624248
CWSLopez, R5.9132.03624218

I don’t focus on ERA in this instance because the only stat that’s important to the prop is whether or not there is a run scored.

What’s fascinating is Tyler Anderson of the Colorado Rockies is not a bad pitcher, but he got roughed up in the first inning a handful of times. His season ERA was 4.55 and he went 7-9 on the year.

10 Best Teams That Scored in the First Inning

Below are the ten best teams that scored in the first inning with a home/away split in 2018:

RankTeamRunsHomeAway
1Arizona Diamondbacks0.800.830.77
2New York Yankees0.720.890.55
3Cleveland Indians0.700.820.58
4Milwaukee Brewers0.690.820.57
5Seattle Mariners0.690.570.80
6Boston Red Sox0.630.850.42
7Colorado Rockies0.630.800.46
8Washington Nationals0.620.590.64
9Tampa Bay Rays0.590.640.53
10Kansas City Royals0.590.600.57

Take into account where teams score more frequently. Most teams fare better at home, but there are anomalies like the Seattle Mariners who were much better on the road in the first inning.

Notice at #7 the Colorado Rockies appears as one of the best at scoring in the first inning. Like many of the other teams, they also have a massive chasm between scoring at home versus on the road.

10 Worst Teams That Allowed Runs in First Inning

These are the teams that allowed the most first-inning runs in 2018:

RankTeamRunsHomeAway
30Colorado Rockies0.800.890.72
29Baltimore Orioles0.790.640.94
28Chicago White Sox0.730.540.93
27Cincinnati Reds0.670.650.68
26Texas Rangers0.630.620.64
25Seattle Mariners0.620.520.73
24Chicago Cubs0.620.650.58
23Los Angeles Angels0.600.630.58
22Detroit Tigers0.600.380.81
21Pittsburgh Pirates0.590.440.74

Again we see Colorado make the list, but as the team that allowed the most runs in the first inning in all of baseball. Take this into consideration, the Rockies finished 91-72 and earned a Wild Card birth in 2018.

Correlation Is Not Causation

The underlying fact is that Coors Field has more runs scored in the first inning than anywhere else. If you put Tyler Anderson in another ballpark, does he give up the most runs?

Correlation doesn’t mean causation. It’s important to break apart the first-inning runs scored and not create assumptions based on teams/ballparks alone, but also take into strong consideration who is pitching and batting.

Betting first innings can be very profitable if you put the work into it. The books generally price “No” as the favorite, but the “Yes” hits nearly 50% in the modern era.

Put in the work, find the value, cash those tickets.

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