What Happens to MLB Props, Parlays & SGPs if Player Isn’t in the Lineup?

What Happens to MLB Props, Parlays & SGPs if Player Isn’t in the Lineup? article feature image

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II. Pictured: Pete Alonso.

Baseball is one of the few sports in which a healthy player may not be in the lineup.

And since baseball lineups don't come out until a few hours before the game, you may have already bet props or parlays including that player.

So what happens to your bets in that case? When do they count, and when are they void? We'll break it down in three categories — straight prop bets, multi-game parlays (like parlaying a three total players in three different games to hit a home run), and same game parlays.

Plus, we'll outline how the big U.S. sportsbooks handle each case, because these things can vary book to book and even within one book depending on the situation.

First, the Action vs. Listed Caveat, Which Doesn't Apply to Props

Baseball is unique in that you can make sure your moneyline bet will only count if the original pitchers actually started. It's called Action vs. Listed.

  • Action means your bet will count even if there's a late pitching change.
  • Listed means your bet will void those bets if one of the pitchers changes.

However, you cannot apply this caveat to props and your bet will stand regardless unless it impacts that specific player you bet.

If you bet Pete Alonso to homer against the Marlins and starter Sandy Alcantara is scratched before the game, your bet will stand. But if you bet Alcantara over 7.5 strikeouts, that bet will be void.

1. Straight Props

For most straight baseball props at most sportsbooks (like a player to record a hit or a pitcher to go over 5.5 strikeouts), the player must start. This is of course different from other sports which can freely substitute players.

  • Hitter Props: Most sportsbooks will void a hitter prop bet if the player is not in the starting lineup. At FanDuel, however, the player needs to just get one plate appearance.
  • Pitcher Props: Most books require the pitcher to start and throw one pitch for bets to count. So if you bet a starter who cedes the first inning to an opener and then pitches innings 2-7, any bet on that starter would be void.
  • Stolen Bases Markets:DraftKings is the only book of the six we listed that make specific mention of stolen bases, but they'll count the bets if the player enters the game in any capacity (pinch runner, defensive replacement, etc). So be careful betting SB props before a lineup is out, because a speedster may end up in a game as a defensive replacement and never actually have a chance to bat or steal a base and you'll lose your bet.

Most books handle props the same, requiring a hitter to both be in the starting lineup and get a plate appearance. FanDuel just requires a plate appearance in the game.

FanDuel and Barstool don't make specific mention of whether or not a player has to actually throw a pitch, but I can't think of any instances in which a player started a game but never threw a pitch. It's more likely to happen to a hitter who injures himself in the field before ever getting to bat.

2. Multi-Game Parlays

Sportsbooks will treat any multi-game parlays the same way they treat regular parlays if a player isn't in the lineup — that leg just drops out, and the rest of the parlay remains at a decreased price.

So let's say you parlay the following players to score a run (and they're all playing in different games).

  • Juan Soto +100
  • Brandon Nimmo +130
  • Alex Bregman +105
  • Payout: +843

But then the Padres lineup comes out and Soto isn't in it. He drops out, and it just becomes a two-leg parlay with Nimmo and Bregman.

  • Brandon Nimmo +130
  • Alex Bregman +105
  • Payout: +371

3. Same Game Parlays

A) How Each Book Treats SGPs with a Voided Leg

Some books will void your entire SGP if one of the players included doesn't start, even if all the other legs hit. At DraftKings and FanDuel, the player needs to just get a plate appearance — so a pinch-hit appearance can screw you if you have an over. DK actually treats it differently for regular player props (must start) vs. props in SGPs (must get 1 plate appearance).

And I will say that while this is how books handle things to start the 2023 season, they may make changes to these rules to prevent having to void your SGPs, because they're so profitable. We'll try to keep this as updated as possible.

Sportsbooks always want more betting volume and they don't want to have to void your SGPs, so they try not to offer players who aren't in the lineup. Most books will only list players who they'd expect to start against a righty or lefty before lineups are announced.

Here's how each book treats SGPs where one leg is void:

  1. FanDuel: Void if one player doesn't get a plate appearance (so if player pinch-hits, the SGP stands)
  2. DraftKings: Void if one player doesn't get a plate appearance
  3. BetMGM: Void if one player doesn't start
  4. Caesars: Void if one player doesn't start
  5. Barstool: Void if one player doesn't start
  6. PointsBet: Void if one player doesn't get a plate appearance

Here's a recent example from FanDuel — DJ LeMahieu never got a plate appearance, so even though Steven Kwan got a hit, the whole thing is void.

@FanDuel_Support general question if one player doesn't play in a SGP as part of a SGP+ does that void the entire part of it? So did it matter if kwan got a hit? pic.twitter.com/xSDknRdcHY

— cxt (@cxt07) April 12, 2023

B) Why Most of Them Void Your SGP

While sportsbooks clean up on same game parlays over time, they can get burned by outlier situations.

Unlike a regular parlay across several games, most books won't just drop that leg and re-price it because they can't account for the changes in probability created by a player being out of the lineup. They'll just void it altogether.

Take this example. I bet the following same game parlay for Mets-Marlins, expecting both Brandon Nimmo and Tommy Pham to play — Nimmo usually leads off, and Pham will more often be at the bottom of the lineup.

  • Nimmo 1+ hit
  • Pham 1+ hit
  • Pham 1+ RBI
  • Payout: +475

But then Nimmo ends up sitting, and Pham ends up leading off. The book would need to re-price the entire parlay because Pham is now much more likely to get a hit and RBI since he'll likely get an additional at-bat since he's batting leadoff.

They're not going to just drop the Nimmo leg and keep the price the same, because the price will be worse if Pham ends up at the top of the lineup. They don't want to give that to you for free. Should you be rewarded for betting early and locking in a favorable price on Pham? Maybe. But the books don't care.

And they could theoretically offer you a new price, but would you then have to approve that price? I wouldn't necessarily want the new price, because the book is probably gouging you.

So instead, they just void the whole thing.

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