Sportsbook House Rules
Each sportsbook has its own “House Rules” which determine how a bet is graded. These rules cover unlikely events, such as what happens to your bet when a game is canceled.
Usually, the different house rules across sportsbooks do not have an impact on matched betting (Otherwise, we'd have to read through lengthy text such as FanDuel's house rules.) However, in Major League Baseball, there are notable exceptions. A simple example is when a game is postponed due to weather.
MLB House Rules Example
Let’s examine the house rules for batter proposition bets for FanDuel, DraftKings, and ESPN.
FanDuel: For all MLB player markets, wagers will be void as per below (unless explicitly states in market-specific rules): Pitcher Markets: If a player does NOT throw a pitch. Batter Markets (Hits, Runs, etc): if a player does NOT have a plate appearance.
DraftKings: On any pre-live prop, the player(s) must start, and either throw at least one pitch (if pitcher) or record at least one plate appearance (if position player) in the designated game for the bet to have action.
ESPN: All Pre-Match markets involving hitters, require the player to be listed as in the starting line-up, and to have at least one plate appearance.
When comparing house rules you can see that ESPN and DraftKings both require the batter to start and make a plate appearance. Meaning that a matched bet on a player prop between ESPN and DraftKings will be graded the same*. FanDuel is slightly different since the player does not need to start, see the next section for how this can affect a matched bet.
*Other house rules including starting pitcher and weather delays can also impact bets. See our MLB House Rules guide for a more detailed MLB house rules comparison between the sportsbooks.
MLB Matched Betting Example
With the house rules above, let’s examine a hypothetical matched bet:
FanDuel: Bryce Harper over 0.5 Hits
DraftKings: Bryce Harper under 0.5 Hits
If Bryce Harper does not start the game, but comes in as a pinch hitter partway through the game and does not get a hit, then 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 Bryce Harper did not start. It's quite obvious that ESPN's house rules are much different than FanDuel's sportsbook house rules.
In this scenario, you would lose the FanDuel bet and push the DraftKings bet. This results in you losing money.
Variations in house rules like this can leave a matched bettor at risk. It is important to understand the house rules of each sportsbook that you are using so you can avoid this costly mistake.
NFL House Rules Example
Unlike MLB house rules, almost all sportsbooks have compatible house rules for the NFL. For example, NFL overtime is included when sportsbook grade their bets unless explicitly stated otherwise (e.g. Regular Time Only, 4th Quarter, etc.).
FanDuel: NFL overtime counts for all markets unless stated otherwise.
ESPN: All ‘match’ bets on American Football are determined on the basis of the result after the so-called extra (over) time.
DraftKings: All bets include overtime unless otherwise stated.
Interested in more sportsbook house rules comparison? Check out this guide for a more in-depth look.