MLB Betting Rules for Scratched Pitchers: What Happens When the Pitcher Changes After I Bet?
Julio Aguilar/Getty Images. Pictured: Gerrit Cole #45 of the New York Yankees walks off the field after the sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at TD Ballpark on April 12, 2021 in Dunedin, Florida.
An MLB pitcher is scratched just before game time — so what happens to your existing wagers? It’s probably happened to you if you bet baseball regularly.
Whether or not your bet is canceled depends on the option you choose when placing it — Listed Pitcher or Action. The odds will be exactly the same for both; it’s just a matter of having more control of your bets should something change.
Action: Most sportsbooks default to all bets being action, regardless of a pitching change. So even if there is a pitching change, you would be locked into your original bet, even though the new moneyline might be wildly different.
Listed Pitcher: Your bet will only be valid if the pitchers listed at the time you placed the wager actually start. So if you bet the Yankees at -200 with “Listed Pitcher” selected and Gerrit Cole is scratched an hour before the game, your bet will be voided automatically.
You generally have to select Listed Pitcher, as Action is the default.
How Do I Choose Action vs. Listed?
Different sportsbooks display your options differently.
FanDuel will give you a dropdown option in your bet slip after you’ve selected the game — it’s much more in your face.
DraftKings‘ default option in its regular MLB betting section is Action.
Under Game Lines, there are three separate bets for listed pitcher — Pitcher A must start, Pitcher B must start, or both pitchers must start.
What About Props & Other Bet Types?
Not all sportsbooks list it in the house rules, but DraftKings, PointsBet, FanDuel and WynnBet are among the books that state all bets will stand on derivative markets like First 5 innings bets.
From DraftKings: “The Action rules apply on wagers placed on all markets with the exception of the Listed Pitchers markets.”
This excludes player props — if you bet a Shane Beiber strikeout prop and he doesn’t end up starting, the bet will be void.
Should You Choose Action or Listed Pitcher?
So which is better? It can go both ways. If you bet the Astros with “Action” at +170 against the Yankees and Cole is scratched, you likely have the Astros at a much better price because New York’s replacement pitcher will be far worse. But if you bet the Yankees, you’ll be disappointed that you bet them at -200, since you’re stuck at that price and they may re-open as a smaller favorite or even an underdog.
If you prefer to have more control over your wagers, go with Listed Pitcher. Most sharp bettors confident they have an edge prefer to bet Listed Pitcher, because variance in that sense is worse for them.
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