The Betting Scene: Know the Rules when Betting MLB

A postponed MLB game had some bettors rejoicing and others reading through the rule pages at their favorite sportsbook.

MLB rules change from book to book

It’s tough enough to win betting on sports, but getting trapped in a rule at your favorite sportsbook is never a good time. Last week bettors again experienced a tough lesson in reading through the rules at their sportsbook.

On Tuesday, Apilr 20th, the Cincinnati Reds hosted the Arizona Diamondbacks and led heading into the 7th inning 4-3. As skies darkened, the DBacks Andrew Young smashed a lead-off homerun to tie the game. It was clear that the umpires wanted to continue play as the rain fell, mixed with sleet, creating terrible conditions on the field. A walk, a double and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases for Arizona. When Reds' pitcher Lucas Sims issued a walk, the DBacks took the lead.

Then Sims took matters into his own hands, throwing every new baseball into the dugout as it was too ‘wet’. Umpires had no choice but to stop the game at this point. And sports bettors who had tickets on the game were left on edge – the game was postponed until Wednesday. Uggh.

Bettors holding run-line, moneyline and totals tickets were left in limbo at this point. One OSGA member contacted us as his bet was graded "No Action" by industry giant Bovada. We did some research and found out that it depended on not only the sportsbook, but even what type of bet was placed, whether the bet was voided, held or graded a win/loss.

It all goes back to the way MLB started handling games that were halted by weather after years of problems in the playoffs. Currently the rule states "A game shall become a suspended game that must be completed at a future date if the game is terminated for weather, if a regulation game is called while an inning is in progress and before the inning is completed, and the visiting team has scored one or more runs to take the lead, and the home team has not retaken the lead or it is a regulation game that is called with the score tied."

MLB betting rulesClearly this game falls into the category above and was suspended. In years past, this game would have reverted to the score at the end of the last full inning and the Reds would have been declared the winner 4-3. But now, despite going more than the required 5 innings, games that fit these odd criteria are 'suspended' and played usually on the next available day. However, if the teams involved were not scheduled to play, the suspended game would be resumed later in the season.

Not a good rule for bettors

This may be good for baseball to 'make it fair' or 'get it right' for a team that had taken the lead. But for bettors, it just makes a mess. After getting the note regarding the game graded as a loss, we examined the rules for MLB regular season suspended games at many of the top online sportsbooks to get to the bottom of this. We were shocked at how many different scenarios are out there and how it changes almost from book to book.

What made the most sense to us, is that tickets are still live bet if the game is completed within 24 hours. What we found was this really just doesn't happen everywhere anymore. In fact, the rule that most sportsbooks applied was to void wagers on the game and refund the bets as 'no action'.

Industry giant BookMaker has it stated pretty clearly in their rules. "If a game is suspended and is not completed by 5 AM, all bets on the full game will be void and stakes refunded."

Unfortunately, this is not a blanket rule and other sportsbooks handle this differently. They also handle it differently based on the type of the wager. 

Bet Type Matters

Online giant Bovada will pay a moneyline wager based on the last full inning before a game is called. But, if a game is called before nine innings have been played, total and runline wagers are settled as 'No Action'. This is similar to the way the top U.S. sportsbooks, FanDuel handles suspended games as well. They pay moneyline wagers if the game goes more than five innings and void bets on the total, run line and game props if the game goes less than nine innings. But, if a suspended game is completed the next day, all bets will stand.

Sounds easy enough to figure all of this out, but when you have a winner and the game gets suspended, it can all get quite confusing.

Top betting shop Heritage Sports told us that with these oddball situations they "just try and use some common sense and try to keep everyone reasonable." In the suspended game from last week, Heritage paid all the ML bets per the rules as the 7th inning was completed. They also paid the winners on the Over as there were runs scored in the top of the 8th that pushed the total over. And to make baseball bettors even happier, they voided the under bets!! This is on top of dime lines and line as low as -104 overnight at

The Bottom Line

Betting on baseball is a marathon not a sprint with 162 games plus the postseason and games are not suspended very often. But, in addition to finding a sportsbook that deals dimelines, it is also important to check these kinds of rules which are specific to Major League Baseball.

Check back for The Betting Scene as our occasional articles we will highlight new items of interest in the world of online sports betting.

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