5 Important Baseball Betting Rules You Need To Know

Rain delays can wreak havoc with your baseball bets. (Photo credit: m01229 / Foter / CC BY)

Understanding the several unique baseball betting rules is essential if you are considering betting on baseball.

There are a couple main reasons why baseball betting rules are different than other sports.

Starting pitchers are the biggest factor when oddsmakers set the MLB odds , so a last-minute pitching change will affect or even cancel your wager.

Also, weather can cause games to be called before they go the regulation nine innings, causing complications for over/under and run line bets.

Here’s a quick look at five of the most important rules to keep in mind when making your baseball picks.

1. If a game does not go the regulation nine innings (or 8.5, if the home team is ahead), your over/under and run line bets will be cancelled.

For example, let’s say you bet over 9.5 in a game between Texas and Baltimore. Texas leads 8-6 in the seventh inning before heavy rain causes the umpires to call the game.

Even though the game is considered official under MLB rules because it went at least five innings, the sportsbooks will refund all wagers on the total and run line. In this example, the rule would hurt you.

But keep in mind, the rule would also have bailed you out of a losing wager if you’d bet the under.

2. If a game goes at least five innings (or 4.5, if the home team is ahead), moneyline wagers will be honoured.

Unlike total and run line bets, moneyline (side) wagers become official for baseball betting purposes once the game is considered official under MLB rules.

If a game is suspended in the middle of an inning beyond the fifth, the winning side will be determined by the score after the last completed inning. Bets are refunded if the home team ties the game in the inning it goes into suspension.

Suspended games typically become no action if they are stopped and then continued the following day, although some sportsbooks do carry the bets over to the following day.

3. On a bet where the pitchers are listed, both starters need to throw at least one pitch.

When you are placing baseball picks on the moneyline, most sportsbooks will offer you the option of listing the starting pitchers or simply making an action bet.

If you list the starting pitchers, your wager is only valid if both listed pitchers throw the first pitches of the game for their respective teams. If either side changes starting pitchers before they throw at least one pitch, your bet will be refunded.

Pitchers must be listed for over/under and run line baseball picks.

4. On an action bet, your odds may change.

One of the commonly-misunderstood baseball betting rules is the action bet.

An action bet simply means you are betting on one team over the other, regardless of who the starting pitchers are. This works to your advantage if you want guaranteed action on a certain game.

But keep in mind that the sportsbooks reserve the right to change the MLB odds on the game if there is a change to the starting pitchers. And if they do change the odds on your action bet, the opening number of the new line will apply to your action wager.

We recommend not making action bets on your baseball picks since you probably don’t want your money riding on the AAA callup that is filling in for the ace who got scratched at the last minute.

5. First-half bets will stand if five full innings are completed.

A popular option for baseball bettors is making baseball picks on the first half (first five innings) of a game.

These wagers will stand as long as five full innings are completed, even if the game itself does not go the full regulation nine innings.

If the game is called after 4.5 innings with the home team ahead (which is an official game in Major League Baseball), the first-half bet will be cancelled.

Both starting pitchers must be listed for first-half bets and, like any bet with listed pitchers, both must start in order for the wager to stand.