Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
For those not familiar, if an MLB game gets called early due to rain after five innings (or 4.5 with the home team leading), it is an official game.
In that scenario, moneyline bettors will get paid out based on which team led at the conclusion of the last completed inning while other bets (over/unders, live bets, runlines) get refunded.
But what if the game is tied when the game is called for the night? What happens to your bets when the two teams will resume the following day? Well, that depends on where you placed your bets.
Betting Rules for Suspended MLB Games
First, a caveat I will always make when referring to baseball and tennis betting (or any sport for that matter): always check your book for their specific rules. Having said that, there has been industry standards for quite some time in regards to suspended MLB games that will resume at a later date:
- Over/unders, runline and live bets get refunded
- Moneyline wagers get paid out based on which team led at the end of the last full inning
Those two betting rules assume the game went at least five innings (or 4.5 if the home team has the lead) in which case all first five inning wagers are paid out as they normally would.
Let’s take a recent real example from a suspended game between the Mets and Cardinals. New York held a 4-2 lead after eight complete innings before a short rain delay.
The tarp then came off and Mets closer Edwin Diaz came in for the save. Much to the chagrin of Mets moneyline and under 7.5 bettors, Diaz blew it. (A Mets bullpen collapse…shocking…I know.)
After the top half of the ninth inning — with the game tied 4-4 — the umps called for the tarp again. This time, it wouldn’t come off. The game would eventually get suspended for the night and resume the following day.
Well, if you were sitting in a Vegas sportsbook with an under 7.5 ticket like myself, you just had your night made as your under gets refunded — despite the total already going over.
On the flip side, over 7.5 backers suffered a cruel push even though the bet could not possibly lose in a 4-4 game.
The story is similar in regards to the moneyline. Despite tying the game in the ninth, Cardinals bettors sitting in Vegas lost since the Mets led 4-2 after the last fully complete inning (8th). And after cursing Diaz for blowing the save, Mets moneyline backers got paid out in a tie game (that the Mets would eventually lose 5-4 the following day).
It can seem backwards, but that’s just the way it’s always been. It’s similar to having a 10-3 game called in the 8th inning due to rain when you have an over 9.5 ticket. It is impossible for you to lose your bet but you still don’t paid.
That is until the repeal of PASPA in 2018, which brought in new operators in other states across the country. New Jersey was one of the first states to enter the space and a number of operators popped up.
Well, there is no central governing sport betting body that mandates specific rules (one could argue there should be some oversight and regulation but that’s a story for another day). As a result, these new operators can implement whatever rules they see fit.
And some of the new rules in a few of the Garden State operators differ from what we’ve seen in Las Vegas since the first sportsbook opened up inside of a casino in 1975. Again, these aren’t state-mandated, so you could even see different rules among different operators within the same state.
One of those differences lies in how suspended MLB games get graded. I would argue some of the New Jersey operators took a more logical approach as they wait until the conclusion of the game (if played the following day). Take a look at the verbiage from the official FanDuel baseball betting rules:
If a game is suspended and continues to a conclusion the following day (local time), then all bets will stand. In the case of a suspended MLB Playoff games, all bets will stand until the game is completed.
Getting back to our Mets-Cardinals example, a bettor with the Cardinals and the over would’ve won both the next day if they placed their wagers at FanDuel. (Remember, the Cardinals won 5-4 the following day). Meanwhile, a bettor in Las Vegas with those two same bets would’ve went 0-1-1.
One set of rules won’t benefit bettors more over time, but you should know different rules exist — depending on where you bet. And we could see even more variations in the future as new states legalize sports betting and new operators pop up.
Whenever you are unsure of what happens to your bet during unusual circumstances, there might not be one right answer. You could very well win a bet that your friend loses — despite placing the exact same bet.
Know your book!