What Does Action Mean In Baseball Betting?

In baseball betting, the term “action” refers to whether a wager will have action or not based on the game’s outcome. Action essentially means that a bet is valid and will be graded. If a game is postponed or canceled and a bet is placed on it, that wager is said to have “no action” and the bet is refunded.

The opposite, a wager having action, means the bet is active and will be settled after the game’s result. For a baseball bet to have action, the game must go at least 5 full innings (4.5 innings if the home team is ahead).

Moneyline Wagers

What Is The Moneyline?

A moneyline bet is a wager on which team will win a game outright, regardless of the margin of victory or run differential. This is the simplest and most popular form of betting in baseball. With moneyline betting, the odds are adjusted based on the perceived strengths and weaknesses of each team.

For example, if the New York Yankees are facing the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees will likely be the favorite with odds like -200, while the underdog Orioles may have odds of +180. This means you would need to bet $200 on the Yankees to win $100, while a $100 bet on the Orioles would pay out $180 if they win. The team with the minus sign is the favorite, while the underdog has the plus sign.

The moneyline odds adjust based on the perceived probability of each team winning. Favorites have shorter odds, meaning you have to risk more money to win less. Underdogs have longer odds, so you risk less to potentially win more. In any matchup, the moneyline odds will add up to around -100 when taking into account the house edge or “vig” that the sportsbook charges.

Runline Wagers

Runline Wagers

A runline bet is baseball’s version of a point spread bet. With a runline bet, the oddsmakers set a spread of 1.5 runs that the favorite must win by in order for a runline bet on them to cash. The underdog team can lose by 1 run and a bet on them still wins.

For example, if the New York Yankees are -1.5 runs on the runline against the Boston Red Sox, then the Yankees must win by 2 or more runs for a bet on them to win. If the Yankees win by exactly 1 run, then a bet on the Red Sox +1.5 runs would win. If the game ends in a tie, the runline bet is refunded.

The payouts on runline bets tend to be more attractive compared to moneyline odds since there is a built-in spread. Runline betting is a way to back favorites at reduced risk, though the payouts are lower compared to betting them on the moneyline.

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Some key things to know about runline betting:

  • The favorite is always -1.5 runs on the runline
  • The underdog is always +1.5 runs
  • Winning margin must exceed the runline spread
  • Allows betting on favorites at reduced risk

Runlines give bettors an additional option alongside moneyline and total wagers for betting on baseball games. It evens out the teams, with the favorite needing to win by multiple runs to cover the spread.

Total Wagers

Total Wagers

A total wager, also known as an over/under bet, is a bet placed on the total number of runs scored by both teams in a baseball game. The sportsbook sets a line representing the total number of runs expected to be scored in the game.

Bettors then wager on whether the actual total runs scored will be over or under that set line. For example, if the total is set at 8 runs, you would bet whether there will be more than 8 runs (over) or fewer than 8 runs (under) scored in the game by both teams combined.

The payout is typically even money or very close to even money for both the over and under. If the total runs match the set line exactly, bets on both the over and under are refunded or considered a push.

Total run betting allows you to wager on the overall flow of the game without having to pick a winner. It provides action throughout the game as the scoring unfolds.

Prop Bets

Prop bets, short for proposition bets, are wagers on specific events or outcomes within a baseball game that are not directly tied to the final outcome. They allow bettors to wager on very specific occurrences, rather than just picking a winner.

Some examples of common MLB prop bets include:

  • Will a specific player hit a home run?
  • How many total runs will be scored in the game?
  • How many strikeouts will the starting pitcher record?
  • Will there be a grand slam hit?

Prop bets add excitement and allow for more wagering opportunities within a game. They require in-depth knowledge of teams and players. With so many events happening within a baseball game, prop bets give bettors dozens of extra ways to get action on each game.

Betting the Action

Betting the Action

When you place a wager on a baseball game, you will usually see the listed starting pitchers for each team. However, you also have the option to bet “action” instead of a specific pitcher. Betting the action means your wager will still stand even if there is a change in the starting pitcher before the game begins.

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By betting action, you are essentially betting on the teams themselves regardless of who is pitching. Your bet will still have action as long as the game is played on the scheduled date. The moneyline odds may change after a pitching change, but your original wager will remain valid. Betting action removes the pitching matchup from your decision and focuses your bet on picking the winning team.

Some key points about betting action:

  • Bet stands if there is a pitching change
  • Wager is on the teams, not a specific pitcher matchup
  • Odds may change after a pitching change
  • Focuses bet on winning team over pitching matchup

Betting action provides flexibility if starting pitchers change before first pitch. By removing the pitching matchup from consideration, you simply bet on the team you think will win.

Why Bettors Like Action

Many bettors prefer action betting in MLB because it offers certain advantages compared to betting on listed pitchers. Action betting means the wager will stand regardless of any changes to the starting pitchers before the game begins. With action betting, you don’t have to worry about last minute pitching changes voiding your bet. This gives bettors more flexibility and removes the risk of a canceled wager.

Additionally, betting action allows you to get your bet in early without having to wait for starting pitchers to be confirmed. Oftentimes odds will move after the listed starters are announced, so betting action provides the opportunity to lock in a line you like right away. Many professional handicappers prefer having their bets stand regardless of any shifts in the odds.

Overall, action betting offers bettors more control over their wagers. By removing the possibility of a canceled bet due to a pitching change, action allows bettors to lock in lines and eliminate some variables from their bets. This appeals to many sports bettors who prefer flexibility and mitigating risk.

Managing Action Bets

Where to Bet on Baseball?

When betting MLB action instead of listed pitchers, it’s important to manage your bankroll and betting appropriately. Since pitchers can change often, sticking to a proper bet sizing and avoiding chasing losses is key.

Some tips for managing action bets include:

  • Set a bankroll limit for your MLB action bets and stick to it. Don’t bet more than 1-5% of your bankroll on any single wager.

  • Make sure you fully understand that action bets stand regardless of pitching changes. Don’t make a bet thinking a certain pitcher will start.

  • Avoid chasing losses by increasing your bet size. Stick to your standard bet sizing.

  • Consider hedging if a pitching change significantly alters the odds. You can place a small hedge bet on the other side to mitigate losses.

  • If you have action bets on games with unclear pitching, closely monitor any pitching announcements up until game time.

  • For favorable matchups, wait until the last minute to lock in action bets in case pitcher changes occur just before game time.

  • Use proper bankroll management and bet sizing to weather the ups and downs of action betting over the long run.

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Action Betting Strategies

When it comes to action betting in baseball, there are a few key strategies to consider. First, look for mismatches between a team’s win probability and the moneyline odds. For example, if a large underdog has a 30% chance to win but is +300 on the moneyline, betting them has positive expected value. Similarly, betting big favorites at short odds can also provide value.

Another action strategy is betting the over on high total games. Games with totals set at 10+ runs tend to go over at a very high rate, often over 60% of the time. Identifying when books have not adjusted the totals enough for two high-powered offenses can lead to profitable over bets.

Live betting can also present many action opportunities in baseball. Watching line movements and betting against steam in lopsided games is an advanced technique. Additionally, betting on late inning comebacks when a team is down just a run or two can generate excitement and offer value.

Overall, successful baseball action betting requires following sharp money, tracking line movements, understanding win probabilities, and capitalizing on live betting opportunities. By combining data and models with game situations, bettors can find reliable spots for action wagers.


When it comes to betting action in baseball, there are a few key takeaways:

  • Action refers to betting on baseball games where the outcome is still undetermined. This differs from betting futures or props where some outcomes are already known.

  • There are several common action bets – moneylines, runlines, totals, and prop bets. Each offers a different way to wager on live baseball with shifting odds.

  • Bettors like action betting because it provides engagement through constantly changing odds and the potential for in-game wagering. It also avoids the lengthy wait times of futures bets.

  • Managing your bankroll and betting responsibly is important with action betting. Have a budget and don’t chase losses. Use sound strategies.

  • Strategies like tracking line movements, betting opportune underdogs, and focusing on high-value prop bets can give you an edge with action wagering.

  • While exciting, action betting comes with inherent risks. But with preparation and discipline, it can be an entertaining part of following and engaging with the sport of baseball.

Adrian Cook
Adrian Cook

Hello, I'm Adrian Cook, and I am the author of BaseballMatchDay.com. I have a deep-rooted connection to baseball as I was once an avid player of the sport. Baseball has always held a special place in my heart, and my personal experiences as a player have shaped my understanding and love for the game. Having been on the field, I intimately understand the intricacies, challenges, and joys that come with playing baseball. It is this firsthand experience that allows me to bring a unique perspective to the content I create.

Baseball Basics, Rules, Strategies, and Legends
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