If you have ever bet on baseball you know that the starting pitchers for both teams more times than not decide the outcome of the game. Unlike other sports, online sportsbooks give you the option of making a bet on the money line by specifying that your bet is only valid if the scheduled starters for both teams are the ones who actually end up starting the game. This is old news to those that have been betting the MLB odds for years, but if you are new to betting baseball, this is something you want to get a grasp of before it ends up costing you.
Almost every sportsbook you sign up for will give you the option of either making a money line bet as “listed” or “action” By selecting the “listed” option, you are stating that your bet is only valid if both starting pitchers start the game for their respective teams. If for whatever reason one of the starting pitchers don’t make their scheduled appearance, your bet is considered to have no action, and your money will be refunded. By selecting the “action” option, you are simply placing your bet on which team you think will win regardless of who takes the mound for either team.
There are also sportsbooks out there that will give you even more options when it comes to making your money line bet. Instead of just selecting the “listed” option, some sportsbooks will give you the choice of “on” or “against” The “on” option states that the starting pitcher for the team you are betting on must start the game, while the opposing team can start whoever. The “against” option states that you don’t care who starts for the team you are betting on, but you require that the opposing starter must start the game. Just like the “listed” option, if the requirements aren’t met for either your “on” or “against” bet, your bet is considered to have no action and your money will be refunded.
While I strongly suggest always using the “listed” option, there are some advantages of using the “on” and “against” options. What option you select all depends on your reasoning behind your pick. More times than not in baseball, you make your picks based on which teams has the better starting pitcher. If you are picking a team simply because you think they have the edge on the mound, more times than not you want to go with the “listed” option, but if your bet is simply based on the fact that Clayton Kershaw is starting, than using the “on” option is the way to go. If you are picking a team because the opposing starter has really struggled in the past against this lineup, than you want to use the “against” option.
There isn’t any need to worry about “listed” or “action” when making bets on the run line or total. Sportsbooks automatically use the “listed” options on these bets. This just goes to show you how much sportsbooks use starting pitching when setting the lines, and why it is to your advantage to use the “listed” options.
You could easily get away without using the “listed” option for a long time, as you rarely have a starter scratched at the last minute. But why not take advantage of this option if the sportsbooks are going to give it to you? You can almost guarantee that the guy who gets called up to make a spot start in this scenario is going to be worse than the starter who got scratched. The other problem with playing “action” is that if you place a bet on a team at -150, the odds stay the same regardless of who steps in and starts in place of the scheduled starter.