MLB Betting Rules – Guidelines and Examples for Baseball Bettors

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MLB Betting Rules
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It’s very important to know and understand the sports betting rules prior to making your first bet, especially when betting on MLB. No sport illustrates the importance of knowing the betting rules better than Major League Baseball. Will give some great examples below and guidelines below.

Unforeseen events can burn you when you don’t know the betting rules, especially MLB betting rules as you will see below.

Your odds are better if you are aware of the stipulations ahead of time. Your chances should be 50-50 in most circumstances, but that percentage could drop drastically if others were entrusted with the decision after the fact.

Most sportsbooks rules state that sporting events are considered official for betting purposes if they are played to within five minutes of their Scheduled conclusion. Football and hockey Games must go at least 55 minutes, NBA contests 43 minutes and NCAA ones 35.

A premature celebration in the final minutes does not affect the result. However a half-time protest that halts the Game, like one at Rutgers some years ago, results in all wagers being returned.

Baseball: MLB Betting Rules Often Misunderstood

Baseball of course employs no clock, so different betting rules apply to MLB. Generally, for betting purposes, a baseball game must go at least five innings. Four and a half if the home team is ahead.

For totals, and for run lines like 1.5-2, 2 runs pick or 1.5 -160, the game must go the full nine (or eight and a half if the home team wins.) Some sportsbooks insist that totals bets reach a decision. So a Game called at 16-16 in the 16th is no play.

In some cases, major league baseball rules differ from baseball betting rules. If a game is suspended in the middle of an inning, it seems only fair that it be continued at a later date. Bet makers and bet takers, however, want their wagers resolved sooner than later.

A game suspended in the first four innings is no bet, period. A couple of years ago the Marlins led the Yankees 5-4 in the first inning when the rains came. Guys who bet over 7.5 were crying too, because their astute picks were useless.

MLB Real Game Betting Rule Examples

One particular MLB game was suspended in San Francisco just as the Dodgers took a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth. Since the Score was 2-2 after five, and the Giants had no opportunity to come back in the bottom of the sixth, all wagers were returned. The Game was completed the following day. LA heldon for a 6-5 victory. That result however, was meaningless to all bettors.

In another contest between St. Louis and Colorado, the game was halted after six and a half innings. The Cards got the money for their 6-3 lead. Of course all over-under action was void.

As Yogi Berra noted, it ain’t over til it’s over. It’s true that once a Game goes over, it cannot go back under, but it may not pay off.

One October in the MLB playoffs the Braves were -140 and 7.5 over the Mets. In another game the Yankees were -120 and 9.5 over the Red Sox. A guy who bet both overs was probably not happy when the National League game went into extra innings at 2-2 and the Yanks took a 4-2 lead into the ninth.

Miracles Do Happen!

But miracles do occur! Atlanta took a 3-2 lead in the top of the 15th. The Mets tied it and loaded the bases for Robin Ventura. His blast over the fence could have made the final Score 7-3. But when he passed Todd Pratt on the base paths, the rules of baseball dictated only the necessary runs would register. This made the final Score 4-3, an under.

The Yankees, meanwhile, exploded for five runs in the top of the ninth to swell that score to a comfortably over 9-2. But Fenway fans, upset at several umpire calls, vented their displeasure by showering the field with such various and sundry items as beer containers and batteries.

The umpires removed the players from the field for safety’s sake, threatening to call the Game. This also posed a major threat to our over players, since totals plays only count on completed games. The game was resumed, avoiding a doubling damning evening for the over guys.

MLB Starting Pitchers Betting Rules

Another stipulation unique to baseball involves the starting pitchers, who constitute the major component of the betting line. MLB bettors can make a wager with “listed pitchers” as in “Cone over Oliver.” Some bettors may stipulate one or both starters. Bettors who always want the listed starters play “as is.” Those who want to play regardless of pitchers call “action.”

“Action” bettors have a bet regardless of the starting pitchers. A pitch out, a change of starters, results in no action for those who specified at least one pitcher. Whereas action bettors simply have their bet price adjusted with the new pitchers.

Sometimes bettors do not even realize the adjustment until the following day. A change of starting pitchers can wreak havoc with wagering. That said, the adjustments protect both sides. You don’t want to be laying Pedro Martinez prices on Ramon.

Here again the major league rule may differ from the betting rule. For betting purposes, the starting pitcher must throw at least the first pitch. For major league records, he is the guy written into the starting lineup card.

Betting Rules Protect Bettor and Bookmaker

The difference may seem negligible, but on April 23, 1997, Tim Davis of Seattle was -155 and 11 over Jason Pittsley of Kansas City. A bettor might have picked the underdog Pittsley, whose 2.57 ERA was more than Four runs less than that of Davis, who had been shelled by KC the previous year.

The bettor probably would have been pleased by the Royals’ 12-10 victory. Maybe even checking the box score to see Pittsley and Davis listed as the starters. He would have been much less pleased to learn that Davis had been injured during warm ups. Bob Wells had thrown the first pitch, constituting a pitching change. Thus negating all bets specifying pitchers.

Davis was the recorded starter for MLB historians, but not the official starter for baseball bettors.

The switch could have been beneficial or detrimental to your bankroll, but the shock would be less is you were aware of the rules. Letting others decide for you after the fact is probably not advantageous.

Your bookmakers probably have posted rules and regulations. If not, or if they do not cover some potential incident, ask. If they have no stipulation, suggest your own.

We gave glaring examples of why you specifically need to understand the MLB betting rules in advance however this is true for every single sport you’ll ever wager on. Bottom line – know the rules!