MLB Best Bets: First five inning bets and analysis for Thursday, April 11th

MLB best bets with a focus on first five inning plays from Jonathan Von Tobel.

Apr 4, 2024; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Royals Bobby Witt Jr. (7) slides home to score a run in the seventh inning against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

First Five Innings Best Bets for Thursday, April 11th

Welcome to my biweekly first five inning article! Twice a week throughout baseball season I’ll write up some of the more intriguing first five inning plays of the day. Handicapping pitchers is such a big part of betting baseball, and betting first fives is something I have gravitated to as a bettor.

As always, make sure to keep an eye out for Adam Burke’s columns which will appear daily. Adam is our primary baseball mind, and will be so once again throughout this season.


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Throughout the season I will be keeping track of the results of this article, which you can view here

Weekly Recap

We are now two weeks into the regular season. A few pitchers have now made multiple starts, so I figured it would be a good time to shout out some of the top performers through the early portion of the season.

These four guys have been brilliant through their first two starts of the season. Keep in mind, these are only two starts and you should never blindly follow a pitcher. But, their FIP indicates that there is no unearned success here from these four starters. Shane Bieber was among these top five performers, but obviously the news of his UCL injury will keep him from pitching for the foreseeable future.

Anderson and Blackburn are the two notable names because both are on poorly rated teams. However, they are perfect through two starts and bettors were getting solid prices in their first two outings. They are definitely two pitchers to follow in the early portion of this season, especially if they oppose weaker starters.

MLB Betting Tools

MLB Odds | Makinen’s MLB Power Ratings | First 5 Innings Analyzer

First Five Innings Best Bets

Houston Astros (-135) at Kansas City Royals (+114) | Total: 9 (UN -112)

Hunter Brown vs Brady Singer

The first play today will be at Kauffman Stadium where the Astors will take on the Royals. Hunter Brown gets the start for Houston, and he will be the primary target of the play in this contest.

Through two starts Brown has a 6.43 ERA and a 5.35 FIP. The difference between those two figures indicates a small amount of bad luck, but Brown is still clearly pitching at a below average level. He has walked six hitters in seven innings of work, and 52.0% of the batted balls allowed have been hard hit. The .458 BABIP is extremely high, but when you allow such a high rate of hard contact the ball is going to find the outfield more often than not.

Brown must now get it together against a Royals lineup which has been very solid through two weeks. Kansas City is 12th in wRC+ (109) and 11th in strikeout rate (20.5%). Brown is having trouble generating swings and misses (17.1% whiff rate) and likely won’t be able to get a disciplined lineup to bite.

On the other end, Brady Singer takes the mound. Singer is absolutely on one this season. In two starts he has a 0.68 ERA and a 2.98 FIP. In 30 batted balls allowed only six have been considered to be hit hard (20.0.%). Singer is throwing his four seamer at a higher rate and generating a massive amount of weak grounders (-1.2 launch angle). Those grounders are eaten up by a Kansas City team which is currently third in defensive runs saved.

Bet Recommendation: Royals F5 ML (+100)