What Are “Action” And “No Action” Bets In Sports Betting?

The sports betting glossary runs deep. There are a lot of important terms that you need to understand, especially those that can have a direct impact on the bets that you place or on your bankroll.

The terms “action” and “no action” are two that fit into that category. “Action” is a broad term that can have a few different meanings in sports betting parlance — all of which we’ll cover in a bit. In this case, we’re using it as it refers to a bet you have on the outcome of a contest.

“No action” is basically a bet that you placed that in turn gets refunded to your account. It’s not due to it being graded as a push, but rather for a specific circumstance that causes the operator to deem it as a no action bet.

What does “action” mean in sports betting?

There’s a lot going on at online sportsbooks and sportsbook apps. From major sporting events to niche offerings and all points in between, there’s a really good chance that you’ll find something that captures your interest.

After you find what you’re looking for, you’ll naturally want to get a bet or two in. When you place a bet on the outcome of a sporting event, that means you have “action” on it in the form of money at stake in a bid to earn more.

For the purposes of this article, that’s how we’ll use the term “action”. As mentioned earlier, it can also pop up elsewhere across the sports betting landscape. Let’s take a look at the other ways that the term may be used.

Other things “action” may refer to

If you say that you have action on a game, then a relatively experienced sports bettor will understand what you mean. However, “action” can also refer to several other things in the sports betting vernacular, including:

  • A general way to describe what’s on tap in the sporting world for the day at hand: “What’s the action look like tonight?”
  • By oddsmakers referring to the games that they’ve released numbers on: “XYZ is taking action on the following …”
  • A general term for sportsbooks to describe the volume taken in on a game or slate of games: “The game between A and B is seeing a lot of action.”
  • As part of a question from a sports bettor who is wondering which events will be most heavily bet on: “Where’s the action going this week?”

“Action” is one of those broad and general sports betting terms that can have a few meanings. When used with the proper context, your meaning will typically be clear to those familiar with gambling jargon.

Confirming you have action on a bet

After you add your pick to a betting slip, you plug in the dollar amount that you want to bet. The sportsbook will display the potential payout right away. It’s always a good idea to give everything a once-over to make sure that all is well.

Next, just click submit. Your online sportsbook or betting app will do its thing behind the scenes, and your bet should be accepted quickly. You’ll see a confirmation, and the bet you placed will now be listed in a section that’s labeled “pending bets” — or something similar.

Once you’ve completed these simple steps, you now have action on that game or event. The initial confirmation serves as your notice that the book has accepted the bet, but you can also double check in your “pending bets” section if you wish.

Why would a bet be considered “no action”?

First things first, it’s important to understand the difference between:

  • a bet being rejected
  • a bet being graded as “no action”

The former could happen for a handful of reasons, including a sudden shift in the lines or a lack of adequate funds in your account. You’ll know this right away, as you’ll receive an on-screen notification from the operator. Once you accept the new betting odds or add more funds — or whatever the case may be — you should be able to put through the bet without further issue.

A “no action” situation is something that won’t come up until later on. The bet will be graded that way by the operator, and your initially accepted bet will be refunded to your account in full.

Here are the situations that can lead to that happening.

When are bets graded “no action?”

action no actionA “no action” bet can be a little on the annoying side, especially in cases where you’ve put a good deal of effort into research. It’s part of the deal with sports betting that’ll happen from time to time. Here are the main reasons why:

  • Cancellation of a game or event.
  • Withdrawal of a key player.
  • Game or event failing to reach minimum requirements for completion.
  • Other unforeseen circumstances.

For many sports, game cancellations don’t happen all that often outside of extreme events. The involvement of a player could potentially impact team-based sports and disrupt the landscape for other events.

Let’s take a look at the sports that are most susceptible to being graded as “no action”.

“No action” rules for baseball betting

Of the major team sports, “no action” is most likely to come up with MLB betting. There are three main situations that will lead to a bet being no-actioned:

  • Starting pitcher change.
  • Postponement due to weather.
  • Game not reaching minimum number of innings.

The starting pitching matchup is one of the biggest factors involved in betting on MLB games. As a result, you have two options for betting on the games. You can choose the “listed pitcher” option, which means the bet will only have action if there are no changes. The other option is for the bet to be considered “live/action” regardless of any unexpected changes.

On the weather front, it’s not uncommon for MLB games to be postponed. The main culprit is rain, but wintry conditions could also have an impact in the early- and late-season matchups. If you place a bet on a game and it winds up being postponed, then the sportsbook will grade your bet as “no action”.

At most sportsbooks, a minimum number of innings is required for a game to be considered complete, as games can sometimes be called early due to weather. Typically, the minimum is 4.5 or 5 innings, but consult the terms and conditions at the book you’re playing at for specifics.

Additionally, see if there are any special notes about games that are completed within 24 hours. It’s possible that the game will still be considered “live/action” as long as it’s expected to be completed within a reasonable amount of time.

“No action” rules for golf betting

Weather can also wreak havoc on PGA Tour stops. Events are typically held over four days, and any periods of extreme weather could impact the completion of rounds and lead to delays. A PGA tournament usually goes from Thursday through Sunday, but a tournament with lots of delays could wind up not being completed until Monday.

For bets on the tournament as a whole, your bets will be safe as long as the event is completed within seven days. When betting on rounds, head-to-head matchups, or specific props, there could be situations in which “no action” comes up. The exact rules may vary by operator, so be sure to review the golf betting section at your operator for details.

Also, a player withdrawal from the event will naturally impact any bets you may have placed on that golfer. If the player doesn’t tee off, any bets you’ve placed will be considered “no action” and refunded.

For golfers who complete a certain number of holes and then pull out of the tournament, the rules may vary, so consult the operator’s terms and conditions for clarity.

“No action” rules for tennis betting

The “no action” rules for tennis betting are very similar to what you’ll find in golf. Weather can lead to delays, and players could withdraw from the event or even retire during a match. On the delay or postponement front, bets are generally considered to still be live as long as the match is completed in a reasonable amount of time.

no action tennisThis is another situation in which you should review the wording in the terms and conditions. A reasonable amount of time could be as soon as 24 hours, or it could be much longer in an extreme case. Your operator will have clear rules in place on how it handles things.

The same applies for withdrawals or a player retiring during a match. At some books, a bet will be graded as “no action” if the player completes less than a set of the match, while others may have a different policy in place. Most operators have pretty solid help sections that outline all of the possible scenarios that might come up.

No action rules for player bets

Individual player prop bets and futures bets are another area in which the rules can have an impact. The rules here can be a little tricky, depending on what happens.

If props are listed for a player who winds up not suiting up, common sense suggests it’s a “no action” bet. However, the rules can vary, as some operators will consider it live as long as the player is on the active roster.

Futures can be even more confusing. For example, if you make a bet on a player to win the NBA MVP and that player misses the entire season, it looks like a “no action” bet. However, what happens if the player competes in part of the season before going down?

Once again, we have to emphasize the importance of becoming familiar with the rules of the sportsbook you are playing at. While there are some hard-and-fast rules that are followed by many in the industry, there can be gray areas elsewhere that operators handle differently.

Other sports betting “no action” rules

We’ve covered most of the main situations in which “action” or “no action” will be a factor, but it’s not completely unheard of for it to happen in other sports.

For example, a NASCAR race or UFC bout could be postponed, canceled or delayed at the last minute.

Football, basketball, hockey and soccer games generally play as scheduled, but an extreme weather event, issue at the venue, or other major circumstance could lead to upheaval.

In today’s legal and regulated environment, many operators are on the ball and clearly list out how they handle these situations. While they may not come up all that often, it’s still a good idea to review the policies so that you don’t receive any unexpected surprises.

Are you notified when bets are graded as “no action”?

When sportsbooks settle bets, they refer to it as grading. Generally, it’s a win or a loss, but a push can happen when a spread bet or totals wager lands exactly on the listed number. “No action” bets are graded similar to the rest, albeit with a difference.

The bet is neither a win nor a loss. It’s not a push, either, since nothing occurred that would result in a tie. Any bets that are graded as “no action” will appear in the settled bets section of your account.

It’ll typically look like a straight refund of the wager amount, but the appearance will naturally vary by operator. If you make your bets and don’t remain engaged with what’s going on, then you may not know that a bet has been deemed “no action” until you go back to check results.

However, certain operators allow you to set up notifications via the app or online, but exactly what you’ll be notified about will vary.

What happens to your funds for “no action” bets?

When a bet is graded as “no action”, the amount of your bet will be refunded in full. For personal tracking purposes, it shouldn’t be counted as a win or a loss. It’s basically a straight refund, so it makes the most sense to regard it as a “no bet.”

There’s not much in the way of recourse for players in terms of disputing bets that are graded as “no action”. Legal and regulated sportsbooks in Tennessee have clear-cut rules in place that explain the situations in which “no action” may occur.

For a bet to be graded as “no action”, it’ll have to fall into one of the listed parameters. If a game is canceled or a player withdraws, it doesn’t fall on the sportsbook. It’s part of the business of sports betting, and not something that’s worth getting hung up on.

What to remember about “action” vs. “no action”

If you’ve put money in-play on a sporting event for recreation and with the aim of earning a profit, then you have action on the game. Remember that “action” can also appear elsewhere in sports betting jargon, such as on games that are being heavily bet.

“No action” in sports betting is going to come up occasionally due to unforeseen circumstances. Included on the list are weather that impacts the proceedings, or a change in competitors. When a bet is ‘no actioned”, your funds will be returned in full and not graded as a winner or loser.

While many operators handle “action vs. no action” in similar fashion, it’s important to remember that there may be some variances here and there. As such, you should always consult the terms and conditions for the exact details. When in doubt, check out the help section at your operator or reach out to customer service for additional clarity.