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What Is Action/No Action in Sports Betting?

Ryan Metivier

by Ryan Metivier

Updated Aug 3, 2022 · 3:58 PM PDT

As a sports bettor, you’ve likely heard the term “action” thrown around at your sportsbook.

If you’ve ever been left wondering exactly what it means or have been unsure of why your bet was graded as “no action”, then read on as we unpack exactly what “action” is and how it affects your wagers.

What Does It Mean to Have “Action”

When someone has action on the outcome of a sports game, it’s a way of saying they have placed a bet on the game. To have action means you have a monetary interest in the outcome of an event.

If you’re an avid sports bettor and you’ve likely been called an action junkie. In sports betting, getting called an action junkie would imply you’re simply someone who usually likes to place a large volume of bets, rather than someone who’s seen all of the latest action flicks.

Another use of action would be to describe the betting menu or schedule of games offered on a specific day.

If you overhear someone say (or read it on a message board), “What’s the action look like tonight?” it’s merely another way of asking what games are being played that day. In sports betting parlance, someone inquiring about action might be asking with a keen interest in what games are of interest to bet on.

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Additionally, action can also be used by bookmakers to reference the slate games they’re offering odds and lines on. For bookmakers, action can also be used to refer to the number of bets or volume of wagers that have been taken by bettors.

Action is an expansive term, with many different use cases in sports betting. That being said, no matter the context, action always refers to when money is being placed on the outcome of a sporting event.

What Is “No Action” in Sports Betting?

When your bet is graded “no action,” it means that your sportsbook has canceled all wagers on a particular line. This means that no bets will be graded, whether they’re winners or losers.


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In a way, the end result is the same as if you were to have a “push” from your wager. The result sees the bet stake returned in full, without penalty to the sports bettor or sportsbook.

The Reasons Bets Are Graded “No Action”

The most likely reasons for a bet to be refunded as “no action” would be due to a game cancellation or a key player no longer playing.

It could also be if a game or match does not extend through a minimum amount of play or game time to be recorded as complete.

Rain, other weather-related conditions, injuries, coaches decisions, or personal reasons with the player could all be factors which lead to some of the above happenings.

Sports Susceptible to No Action Results

After reading the above, it’s probably not hard to think of a few sports right off the bat which could easily run the risk of causing your bet to be voided.

No Action in Baseball

Baseball is one of the most common sports to be graded “no action” in sports betting.

When betting baseball, you will see the options to bet with “Listed Pitchers” or an “Action” option. Because the outcome of baseball games are so heavily influenced by each team’s starting pitchers, should one or both of the listed starting pitchers not be able to start a game, your bet will be graded “no action” if you wagered using the “Listed Pitchers” option.


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However, should you choose an “Action” bet in the same baseball game, then no matter who the starting pitchers are when the game begins, it will not affect your bet. This means that no matter what, you will not need to worry about your bet being voided. However, you should always be cautious before exercising this betting option. Should a replacement pitcher be of a much different caliber, it may drastically alter the probability of the outcome you’d wagered on.

Additionally, baseball is also a sport heavily affected by weather, and this can play a role in a bet being graded as “no action.” With many outdoor stadiums and the season starting early enough where snow is still present in many cities, baseball is very susceptible to weather-related cancellations. For most books, at least five innings or 4½ if the home team is winning must be played for the game to have action.

No Action in Tennis

Tennis is another sport that often suffers delays and cancellations due to weather, but also due to matches running behind schedule.

However, when this happens, many sportsbooks will still allow the bet to have action as long as the match is rescheduled to take place within 30 days of the original date. Others simply state the bet will stand as long as the match is completed, without locking down a specific period of applicable time. In most cases, if a match is canceled during a tournament due to weather, it will simply be delayed until the next day or until the playing surface is deemed safe.

Tennis is a sport where players often “retire” mid-match due to injury or fatigue. Many sportsbooks will deem a bet no action should a player retire before the completion of the first set, and some books will void a bet should a player retire at any point.

It Isn’t Limited to Just Tennis and Baseball

Of course, any outdoor sport runs the risk of weather cancellations or games being rescheduled. Extenuating circumstances could force even an indoor match or game to be delayed.

At times, political unrest may also be to blame for games being rescheduled.

No Action on Player Props

In the case of player props, you’ll definitely want to know your book’s rules if a player does not start or touch the field in the game. This would be important should you be betting a player prop where the player is listed as a game-time decision.

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For instance, some books will still grade a bet to have action so long as the player is on the active roster. So if Todd Gurley has been limited in practice all week with a knee injury, you may want to monitor the injury report closely prior to placing a rushing yards bet on him. Should he get yanked from the lineup right before kickoff, your bet will still be active, but you’ll have obviously lost before the game even starts.

Always Scrutinize Your Sportsbooks’ Terms and Conditions!

If you’re concerned about your bet potentially being returned as no action, it’s important to check the specific rules at your chosen sportsbook.

Each book’s rules may vary from sport to sport, and what’s listed as action at one sportsbook might be listed as no action at another.

Ready for Some Action of Your Own?

Now that you’re well-informed on differences between action sports betting and no action sports betting, you’ll know what to look out for when placing a wager.

If you’re ready to learn more about sports betting and how to get down a little action of your own, head over to our Betting 101 guide to learn more about how to bet sports.

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