What Are Action And No Action Sports Bets?

If you spend enough time in sports betting circles, you’re bound to run into some frequently used terms over and over. While some of them are little more than codewords that are bandied about across the industry to make points, others should make you perk up and pay attention.

Action” and “no action” are two terms that fall into this category. The former refers to a game or event that you have a wagering stake in, while the latter describes a bet that you placed that goes on to get canceled or voided. Those are the broad strokes for the two terms, but there’s much more that you need to know.

That’s especially true in terms of how your bankroll may be impacted. We’ve got the scoop on that right here, as well as everything else you need to know about “action” and “no action.” By the time you’re through, you’ll have a full understanding of how this pair of terms applies in a variety of circumstances.

What is sports betting action?

If you place a wager on a sports game or event, that means you have action on it. That’s the main way that people use the term in sports betting circles, but it could also refer to other situations, including:

  • As a description of which games are attracting lots of wagering attention.
  • As a query on where the most interest is being generated.
  • To point out which events a sportsbook is accepting wagers on.
  • To inquire on what games are the most appealing ones to bet on.

For our discussion, we’ll focus on its main use: When you get a bet in, you have action. In a nutshell, it means that you have put money at stake in the form of a wager, naturally with the goal of being correct and ultimately getting rewarded with winnings.

How do you know if you have ‘action’ on a bet?

When you find something you want to bet on with an online sportsbook, you click on your choice and then it’s added your betting slip. From there, you plug in your wagering amount, verify that everything is correct and click the submit button.

The sportsbook generally processes the bet instantaneously. The only major impediments to it going through would be if the sports betting odds suddenly changed or if the wager somehow was removed from the board at the same time.

While those two situations may not happen too often, they still bear mentioning. Assuming neither of those circumstances arise, the sportsbook will accept and approve the bet. You’ll receive confirmation that it has gone through.

The confirmation also serves as a notification that you now have action on the bet. The wager will be listed in the “pending bets” section of your account. It’ll remain there until it can be settled, which only happens once the event result is official.

When does ‘no action’ come into play in sports betting?

A bet that was initially live and suddenly and unexpectedly became halted is a “no action” bet. There are a number of reasons that can cause this to happen, naturally varying by sport. We’ll cover the top causes in a bit.

The no action bet is completely different from a wager that has been rejected, such as one that gets pushed back for a shift in lines or one that a sportsbook refuses for inadequate funds in your account.

In those two cases, you’ll know right away that the bet hasn’t been accepted. In the case of a no action bet, you typically won’t find out until later. The amount of your wager will be refunded in full to your account. This result is similar to what happens with a “push” or tie on a previously placed bet.

How can you tell if a bet is ‘action’ or ‘no action?’

When you place a wager and receive confirmation from the sportsbook that the book has accepted it, that serves as your notification that you now have “action” on the bet. The action bet will be listed in the pending wagers section of your account, along with any other bets you have placed.

A no-action situation won’t happen until later on if your bet has been officially accepted. We’ll cover what causes that in a bit. For now, know that you’ll be able to see any bets that have been “no-actioned” in the settled wagers section of your account.

For settlement purposes, it’s effectively a “push” with the amount of your wager returned to your account. However, it’s not really a “push” since the bet was essentially canceled. The exact terminology for settlement will vary by operator, but it’s commonly listed as a voided bet.

Reasons for bets to be graded ‘no action’

While a bet receiving a label of “no action” isn’t routine, it will happen from time to time. When it does, something has come up that impacts the wager itself or its potential outcome. The most common occurrence is due to the outright cancellation of a game or event.

The vast majority of scheduled contests go off without a hitch, but unforeseen circumstances can arise here and there. Examples include extreme weather, limitations on the availability of participants or an outside circumstance that prevents it from taking place.

A bet can also be no-actioned due to the absence of a player. While a single scratch won’t impact a team-based bet, any props on that player will be deemed “no action.” The same holds true for individual sports when a player you’ve wagered on suddenly withdraws.

Last but not least, there could be various unexpected issues that are not covered above that could lead to a bet being no-actioned. If a sportsbook labels a bet as no action, you can rest assured that there’s a valid reason.

Baseball no action betting rules

Some sports are just more likely to see no action rules applied. Baseball is one of them. Of the team-based sports, it’s the one that can be most impacted by outside factors and late changes. Here are the top reasons why baseball bets get no-actioned.

  • Weather postponement — rain, snow, etc.
  • Game failing to reach the minimum number of innings.
  • Change in starting pitcher from the originally listed option.

As part of a baseball handicapping routine, you need to factor weather into the equation. The wind and temperature can have a direct impact on the trajectory of the ball. Additionally, severe weather can lead to a game being postponed.

One important note to keep in mind is that the length of the postponement can impact the status of a bet. If the game finishes the following day, the bet could remain live if no other factors impact the wager.

On the innings front, for a game to be official, it has to reach a minimum number of frames. Sportsbooks can also impose the minimums on their own, with the typical standard being 4.5 or five innings of completed play.

In advance of games, teams will release the scheduled starting pitcher. If there’s a change on that front after the release, it could impact any initial bets. Keep in mind that there’s some protection built in for players, as well.

For baseball, there are bets with a listed pitcher option, which means that the sportsbook will consider the bet action only if there are no changes. As an alternative, some wagers will remain live regardless of any pitching changes that may come up.

Golf no action betting rules

Mother Nature can also have a say in what happens at golf tournaments. Golfers can’t reasonably compete in extreme conditions — think torrential downpours or intense winds — so scheduled events may not be able to go off as planned.

Using the typical PGA Tour stop as an example, the average golf event takes place from Thursday through Sunday. If there’s a slight weather blip in the midst of the proceedings, the event could be slightly delayed.

When it has already started and remains on track to be completed in a reasonable timeframe, you should be good to go. The no-action rule shouldn’t apply in this case. In the event that the tournament is completely canceled or pushed to a later date, it will apply.

No action rules can also be applied to individual golfers. Examples include any props, head-to-head bets, futures or other wagers placed on a player who suddenly withdraws in advance of the event. These bets will be voided and refunded.

Also, keep in mind that there may be circumstances in which a golfer withdraws after the event has already gotten underway. This is where things can get tricky with sports betting. Operators may have different rules on how they handle it, so be sure to review the rules where you play.

Tennis no action betting rules

The same factors that apply to no action betting with golf also come into play with tennis betting. The average ATP or WTA event takes much longer than a PGA stop, as well, which opens the door to even more potential issues.

Weather can come into play for outdoor tennis events. Since the tournaments take so long to complete, there’s enough time to deal with postponements and whatnot. A complete cancellation or delay to another date due to unforeseen circumstances is another story.

If that were to happen, then no action would come into play. On the individual player front, it’s the same as golf. If the player withdraws before the event takes place, it’s no action on bets involving that player.

Retirements during a match or tournament happen often enough in tennis circles, and the exact way they’re handled may vary by the sportsbook. For complete clarity, consult the rules or terms and conditions at the books where you play.

No action betting rules for other sports

While no action situations are most commonly associated with the three sports listed above, it could happen with other events. For example, a NASCAR race could get postponed to a later date, or a UFC fight could be canceled when a participant withdraws.

Team-based sports outside of baseball are generally safe from being no-actioned, but there are naturally some exceptions. A big weather event, a problem at the stadium where the game was scheduled to take place or another completely unforeseen circumstance could arise.

Sportsbooks generally have all the bases covered on how things will be handled in the unlikely event that something like this happens. For each sport, there’s a specific listing of house rules that will detail the procedures for when the unexpected comes up.

No action betting rules for props and futures

We touched on this briefly earlier, but it warrants closer examination. An unexpected player scratch due to injury or other reasons can lead to prop bets on that athlete coming off the board or changing to no action.

On the futures front, season-long player props can be impacted if a player is unable to compete prior to the season getting underway. For in-season injuries, you should consult the rules section of your sportsbooks.

For golf and tennis wagers on winners of future events, the same applies. The futures market for teams can also feel an impact, such as in the unlikely event of a complete cancellation of a season or, in the case, of an unexpectedly shortened year.

If those two things happen before the season gets underway, bets will be no-actioned or refunded. When the season has already started, things could get tricky, so be sure to consult the house rules, so you know what to expect in the event of an unlikely scenario coming to pass.  

What is a graded bet?

The term grading refers to what happens to wagers prior to settlement. If your choice is correct, then the sportsbook will grade your bet as a winner. The same is true for losses and pushes. Once the bet is graded, a settlement on the financial front takes place.

If you have a winner, the sportsbook will credit funds to your account. If a “push” happens, the wager amount will be refunded, while losing bets have already been transacted. It’s important to remember that grading is based on official league data and statistics.

There may be circumstances that arise in which you disagree with a call or outcome, but there’s not much you can do outside of moving on and living to fight another day. Sportsbooks will not entertain disputes against results that have been deemed official and graded.

How are funds handled for no action bets?

When you have a bet no-actioned, it’s treated essentially the same as a voided or “push” bet. In the case of a push, it’s effectively a tie. The wager is off at this point, so your wager amount is refunded in full. 

A bet that is voided or no-actioned is treated the same way. If you look in the settled bets section of your account, you’ll see it listed. The actual appearance may vary by operator, but it usually looks the same as a void or push.

Key takeaways on action vs. no action in sports betting 

The term action is often thrown around in sports betting circles. Its most common use is as a reference to events on which a bettor has a stake in the outcome. If you’ve placed a bet, then you have action on that event.

No action is a situation that can come up from time to time. When a bet is no-actioned, there’s a circumstance that has impacted the wager itself. It could be a weather delay or the participation of a player, for example.

In all cases, the sportsbook will have a concrete reason for treating a previously placed wager in this fashion. We’ve covered the majority of situations in which it may come up here, but it’s still a good idea to review the house rules by sport for additional clarity.