All legal online sportsbooks have rules that you’ll need to follow when making your Major League Baseball bets. While many of the rules are basic in nature, such as on how the book will settle bets, others go into more specifics on things that can impact your bets and payouts.
We’ve got the bases covered below for what you need to know about MLB betting rules at online sportsbooks.
What needs to happen for an MLB bet to have action?
If you place a bet on an MLB game, you have action on it. Action is a common term in the world of sports betting. Once you place your bet, the wager is pending until the game goes live. Depending on your bet, the game may need to be official or go a full nine innings for it to count.
We’ll cover all of that in full detail in a bit. For now, just know that if you place a bet and the game goes off without a hitch, you have action on any outcome or player props that you placed beforehand.
How do MLB date or venue changes affect bets?
Rainouts and postponements are relatively common during MLB season. In order for a bet to have action, the game must take place at the listed venue and start time. Games that move to a later date or different stadium will result in voided bets.
This will apply to any pregame bets, such as those on the outcome or player props. From the perspective of the sportsbook, the betting odds and lines depend on the information at hand. A change to a later date or different location can change the equation, so removing the bets from the board makes the most sense.
Sportsbook rules for shortened or suspended MLB games and seasons
Rain delays are also pretty common, as in a game that gets underway and then halts due to poor conditions. If the game resumes and doesn’t end early, your bet won’t change, but the handling of shortened games can vary.
For a simple moneyline bet, at least five innings (or 4.5 if the home team is ahead) need to happen for a bet to have action. Run line bets and totals require the full nine innings (or 8.5 if the home team is ahead).
If a game is delayed and won’t resume until the next day or later, the sportsbook may consider it to be action as long as it resumes within a set amount of time, say 36 hours, of the original start time. Bets will be voided if that doesn’t happen.
As for the season as a whole, sportsbooks will void and refund MLB futures bets in the event of an incomplete season. For a shortened season, bets for World Series, pennant and division winners will remain live, but team win totals and season-long player prop bets will be void as the initial odds and lines depend on a full season. Find the latest MLB futures odds on our dedicated pages:
MLB house rules by bet type
Outside of the standard house rules, there are also some that may apply to individual baseball bets. Here’s a quick look at some more potential MLB betting rules:
Run line Rules
Take the favourite minus the runs or the underdog plus the run line.
- Games generally must go the full nine innings, or 8.5 if the home team is ahead.
- The actual final score of the game is the last word for bet settlement.
Bet on the outright winner of the game.
- Games must go at least five innings — 4.5 if the home team is ahead — for the bet to settle.
- Delayed games may still count if they resume within a set amount of time, say 36 hours.
Wager on the total number of runs scored.
- Nine innings are necessary for bets to go final, or 8.5 if the home team is ahead.
- These bets settle based on the official final score.
Live Betting Rules
In game bets that you place after the game has started.
- Bets that specify the listed pitcher are void in the event of a change on the mound.
- For innings bets, the relevant frame must finish for the bet to have action.
Multi-leg wagers on single or multiple games.
- If a game fails to have action due to cancellation or postponement, the sportsbook will settle your parlay based on what happens in the other contests.
- For same-game parlays, not all wagers are eligible for you to combine, such as taking both sides on the moneyline.
Game prop rules
Bet on things that may or may not happen during the game.
- Innings bets will use the results at that point in time.
- If an outcome that isn’t listed as a choice happens for a multi-choice wager, the bet will be a push.
Player prop rules
Wagers on specific player performances during a game.
- Bets involving players who are ruled out in advance of game time will be void.
- For pregame MLB player props, players must start, throw a pitch or record a plate appearance for the bet to be considered action.
Many legal online betting sites march to the same drummer when it comes to house rules, but there may be some slight differences here and there at different books such as DraftKings, Caesars and FanDuel. Be sure to take the time to review the rules wherever you play to avoid confusion down the road.
Do extra innings count for MLB bets?
Unless stated otherwise in the terms, MLB bets are based on the game in its entirety, which includes any extra innings. There are exceptions, though:
- Innings bets — first inning only, five innings, seven innings, etc.
- Any wager that is specifically noted as being for nine innings only
The main pregame bets — moneyline, run line and total — will include any extra innings, as will any game, team or player props. If a bet is for a specific segment of the game, the terms for that bet will clearly say so.
What’s a listed pitcher option?
When betting lines for MLB games come out, the expected or announced starting pitchers are one of the main factors sportsbooks will consider. Many bettors will also factor this key point into their decision-making.
So what happens if there’s a change of one or both pitchers? For a standard pregame bet, you’ll likely see the bet disappear from the board and then reappear with new lines. In MLB circles, this is an action bet as it’ll go off regardless of any changes.
There’s also a “listed pitcher” option for MLB games. If you place a bet under these circumstances, the sportsbook will void it if there’s a change to the matchup. It’s a solid option to keep in mind for a little extra protection or when you feel that there’s uncertainty in the projected starting pitchers.
Settlement of MLB bets
Once an MLB game goes final, you can expect sportsbooks to settle pregame bets quickly. Your account will immediately receive any winnings. Official game results and data determine the result of each bet.
As such, the sportsbook will not entertain disputes on results that you may disagree with. For example, a foul ball call on what you feel should’ve been a home run is a moot point. The official word from the game is all that matters.
The same applies to player props and live betting. In the event of a tie bet, such as an over/under on 8.0 runs for a game that lands exactly on that total, the sportsbook considers it a push. This simply means that there’s no winner or loser. As a result, the sportsbook will refund your stake in full.
Things move quickly in the world of online sports betting. When you win, you should see the winnings in mere minutes. An occasional delay could happen due to trouble with the data feed, but the settlement will happen as soon as that’s rectified. If there happens to be an extreme delay, you can always contact the sportsbook for an update.
What are correlated MLB plays and why can’t you make them?
A correlated play refers to two or more outcomes that become increasingly likely due to the success of one of them. For example, if an MLB team is winning after seven innings, there’s a solid chance that it’ll win the game.
As such, don’t expect to be able to tie together a seven-inning and full game bet on the same slip. The correlation is too strong, and sportsbooks aren’t in the business of giving out money to those who think they’ve found a crack in the algorithm.
All that said, the rise of same-game parlays has opened the door to more potential plays on single contests than there were in the past. There are still limits on what you can tie together on one ticket, and the sportsbook will clearly note them on the slip if you try to place a bet that it doesn’t allow.
Minimum and maximum bets at online sportsbooks
The majority of online sportsbooks have very low minimums. You can place your bets for as low as $0.10 in some spots, while others require at least $0.50. The maximum for accepted bets can vary by the sport or type of bet, but many of the top books have clear rules about max payouts.
- BetMGM: $1 million
- DraftKings: $1 million
- FanDuel: $1 million
- Caesars: $2 million
You won’t be able to place a bet that would generate a payout larger than that, such as a big parlay with odds of +9000 at stakes of $11,000, but you will have the option of adjusting your stake on the bet slip.
Online sportsbook rules for promotional offers
Legal online sportsbooks have incentive offers for new players. Yep, there are rules on those, as well. They’ll vary by sportsbook and offer, but all of them will have specific terms and conditions.
Can online sportsbooks decline bets?
While sportsbooks aren’t in the business of turning away customers, they do have the right to refuse bets. Here are some situations when they may do so:
- You’re trying to place a bet over the maximum allowed for that type of wager.
- The wager would generate a payout in excess of the posted maximum limit.
- The contest or bet you want to wager on is no longer available.
- The sportsbook has banned you from wagering.
Outside of the above, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about. Naturally, your account will have to have enough cash in it to cover any wagers you attempt to place. If you can’t get a bet to go through and there’s no glaringly obvious reason for why that’s happening, you can always touch base with customer support for some help.
How do sportsbooks handle mistakes?
Mistakes happen to the best of us, including online sportsbooks. An errant line can appear from time to time. Once the sportsbook catches it, the book will adjust the odds and has the right to void any bets that used the mistaken number.
If it’s small potatoes, the book may let it go, but it’s not going to do so with a major error, such as single-game odds that would generate an enormous payout at small stakes. The old adage applies here: If it looks too good to be true, there’s a good chance that it is.
On rare occasions, sportsbooks may own up to their missteps as a goodwill gesture. This generates some positive publicity, which is never a bad thing in the competitive industry. In general, if you come across a big mistake, expect the sportsbook to catch it and adjust it.
What recourse do you have for disputes?
So you’ve reached loggerheads with an online sportsbook. Now what? If you’ve gone through all of the normal channels — customer support, taking it higher up the food chain, etc. — and still haven’t received a resolution for a legitimate gripe, you can contact the gambling regulators in your province.
This comes with a big caveat: Your concern has to be legitimate, such as the sportsbook refusing to pay out, poor accounting practices that impact your onsite bankroll, or the removal of a bet without an actual reason. If you’re looking for the authorities to help you feel better about a bad beat, don’t waste your or their time.
Legal online sportsbooks will provide direct links to the relevant regulatory body. On the site, you’ll find clear steps to follow and information on how the process plays out. This is another strong argument for playing at legal and regulated sportsbooks only.