Lower Your MLB Risk
While Matched Betting is one of the best sports betting strategies available, doing matched bets on MLB games carries additional risk. Understanding the differences in house rules can minimize that risk. This guide is a starting point. It is up to you to understand your sportsbooks’ MLB house rules.
Read this overview of house rules and their impact on matched betting.
Understand what “Listed Pitcher” vs “Action” means. Learn more here.
This guide examines the potential impacts that different MLB house rules have on matched betting. Always double-check that the matched bets you are placing will be graded in the same fashion as each other. Some sportsbooks' written house rules are not very clear. Read the house rules and reach out directly to customer service if something is not clear. Additionally, house rules may vary by state. Ensure that you are checking the house rules for the state you are betting in.
Different MLB markets carry different levels of risk based on how the bets will be graded across different books. This guide groups them into low, medium, and high-risk levels.
House Rules to Know
Here are some, but not all, of the house rules that can impact matched betting on MLB:
- Listed Pitcher vs Action
- 4.5 and 8.5 innings rule
- Postponed game
- Pitcher props: starter vs throw one pitch
- Batter props: starter vs plate appearance vs play an active role
The safest matched bet you can make is a Listed Pitcher money line. Each side of the matched bet needs to have the same home and away Listed Pitchers. Bets that include both Listed Pitchers will be treated the same on all books. They will void in the same circumstances and the odds will not move.
Not all books offer Listed Pitcher money line bets. For example, Caesars PA typically offers Action bets. In contrast, PointsBet typically offers Listed Pitcher bets. These are not safe to hedge against each other.
PointsBet showing Listed Pitchers for MLB bets
PointsBet bet slip showing Listed Pitcher on a Moneyline
Note: Listed Pitcher bets will void if there is a pitching change. If you place a Free Bet on a bet that is voided, you may not get the Free Bet back. Like other house rules, this varies by sportsbook.
Medium Risk Bets
Matched bets on money lines, run lines, and totals, where both bets are Action bets can carry some risk.
If both bets are Action on each sportsbook, the bets will stand and will be graded even if there is a change in starting pitcher. Some sportsbooks may change odds on already placed Action bets if there is a change in starting pitcher. Sportsbooks such as FanDuel and DraftKings will not move the odds on Action bets. These are safe to hedge against each other.
FanDuel: Money Line: All Money Line wagers default to "Action" meaning all wagers struck will NOT be voided if a pitcher change occurs. Wagers will be honored at the odds at bet placement and settled as normal.
Run Line/Total: All other game markets are considered "Action" and wagers will remain open regardless of any personnel change. Wagers will be settled at the odds at bet placement.
DraftKings: Action Bets – A wager on team vs. team regardless of the starting pitchers. Once a wager is placed, the odds are locked in, regardless of starting pitcher change(s) before the start of the game. The names of the starting pitchers in the selections are simply for informational purposes. The Action rules apply to wagers placed on all markets except for Listed Pitchers markets.
The above house rules clearly state that the bets will not be voided and the odds will not move. However, some sportsbooks may move the odds if there is a change in starting pitcher:
Bally Bet: In the event of a pitching change before the start of the game, all full game Money Line wagers already placed will be adjusted to the opening price for the new pitcher.
BetFred: In the event of a pitching change before the start of a baseball game, money odds may be adjusted.
If you hedge a FanDuel money line Action bet with a BetFred money line Action bet and there is a change in starting pitcher, the BetFred line may move. The bet will not be voided on either side and you still have all potential outcomes covered, but this will adjust your payout and could result in losing money if the odds get worse.
Player props, especially batter props, are the riskiest MLB markets for matched betting. The most common difference across house rules is whether a player needs to make a plate appearance or if they are required to start. These differences mean that you can lose one bet and have your other bet voided. This can result in a significant loss.
Let’s examine a hypothetical matched bet:
FanDuel: Bryce Harper over 0.5 Hits
DraftKings: Bryce Harper under 0.5 Hits
Let’s say that Bryce Harper does not start the game, but instead comes in as a pinch hitter partway through the game and does not record a hit. The FanDuel bet will be graded as a loss. This is because FanDuel house rules state that a batter only needs to make a plate appearance. However, the DraftKings bet will be voided since he did not start. The result is that you would lose money.
Some sportsbooks use vague language, such as Caesars, which states “If the named player does not play, the wager will be void.” This implies that a player could take the field on defense and not make a plate appearance and the bet would stand.
Player props are also subject to other house rules around weather delays, and changes to a starting pitcher. Read on for more information.
Compounding the Risk
Multiple house rules can affect a single bet.
We already examined how batter prop house rules can vary based on the batter starting the game vs. the batter making a plate appearance. Some sportsbooks also tie their batter props to the listed starting pitcher. This means that if the Listed Pitcher changes, your batter prop bet may have its odds adjusted or the bet may be voided.
Now your batter prop bet is subject to the Action vs Listed Pitcher house rules as well as the batter proposition house rules.
The risk doesn’t stop there. If a game is called early due to weather, house rules again vary by book. Some require the game to go 4.5 innings. Others require it to go 8.5 innings.
Now your batter proposition matched bet is subject to three different sets of house rules. If any of these house rules are different on the hedge bet, you risk losing money.
Here’s an example: you place a bet on the Primary Book and are considering hedging on Book A or Book B. Here are their house rules:
Hedging with “Book A” is the safest because the batter only needs a plate appearance for the bet to be graded the same on both books. However, there is still some risk if the game is called early due to weather.
Hedging with “Book B” carries more risk because the bet will void if there is a change in starting pitcher or if the batter plays, but does not start the game.
Minimize Your Risk
Here are some tips on minimizing your risk:
- If the primary bet has Listed Pitchers, the hedge bet should have Listed Pitchers. Be sure that the same home and away pitchers are listed on both bets.
- If both bets are Action bets, use sportsbooks that will not adjust odds on a starting pitcher change.
- Don’t hedge an Action bet with a Listed Pitcher bet and vice versa.
- Be extra cautious with batter props. Some matched bettors avoid these entirely.
- Don’t hedge a money line with a run line. Money lines typically have the 4.5 innings rule, while run lines typically have the 8.5 innings rule.
- Check the expected weather for the game. Don’t bet on games with a bad weather forecast.
- Bet the game closer to the start of the game. This reduces the chance of a change in the starting lineup.
- Know your house rules and avoid hedging with a sportsbook that has different house rules.
Weather: Check here for the weather of each MLB game today.