Push In Sports Betting

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What Is A Push In Sports Betting
Sportsbooks And Push Results
How To Avoid Push

You may have listened to the term “push” in sports betting. It’s part of betting slang. But, do you know what it is, how it affects your bets and how they happen?

This article will tell you everything you need to know about a bet ending as a push.

First and foremost, a push is when you place a bet that end in a draw. We’re talking about sports betting draws. For totals and point spreads, you can tie even if the actual game you’re betting on has a winner and a loser.

As bettors and competitors, we focus on racking up wins and mitigating losses. We even brainwash ourselves with sayings like “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” You will love to hear that “Mamba mentality” slogan while actually accomplishing victories.

However, sometimes sporting events tie, which means there is no winner and no loser. Some sports have implemented overtimes or shootouts to avoid ending in draws.

Still, when it comes to betting, even those games could end as a draw. Now, how do the different sportsbooks deal with pushes?

This guide will help you to know the following:

  • The in-depth definition of a push.
  • How sportsbooks deal with tied bets.
  • How can you avoid pushes?

We’ve scratched the surface, now let’s get into the deep waters of a push bet.

Game Ending With A Tie

Let’s address the elephant in the room. Pushes happen quite a lot in the sports betting world. Let’s put an example. Say you’re betting on the NFL.

Your chosen bet is a point spread in a game between the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions. The spread is set at +/- 3.

You can like the Packers -3 or the Lions at +3. Either way, there are chances that the game could end in specifically three points of the distance between the teams. As time expires, it could end 14-14, 20-17, 24-21, or 31-28 for Green Bay. Each of those score lines results in a push.

Why? Because you need the margin to be more than a three-point victory for Green Bay. If you bet Lions +3, you need to lose by less than three.

So if three points is the margin, no one wins. The oddsmakers don’t collect any vig or commission, and the bettors don’t reap any rewards. It’s like nothing happened.

Total bets also result in pushes with frequency. For example, the Mets and the Dodgers are playing. The pitching matchup is Jacob deGrom vs. Clayton Kershaw, two elite players on the mound.

Say the over/under is set at five. A 3-2 New York win is a victory for the Mets, but a push on the totals whether you bet the over or under.

The combined score adds up to five, which is the exact number set by the bookmakers, so it’s a tie.

There are some exceptions, but most sportsbooks take a similar approach when faced with a push bet.

You have A Push. What Do You Do?

Straight bets (also known as single bets) that result in a push are reimbursed. For example, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are -3 favorites over the New Orleans Saints. The Bucs win 24-21.

Both sides get their money back. If you bet $100, you will get refunded—not a penny more, not a penny less.

If the total of the game between Tampa Bay and New Orleans was set at 43, both over and under bets end in a push as well. Bettors who took either part of the bet will get a refund.

For moneylines, pushes happen if there is an actual tie. Say the Rams are -225 against the Cardinals, who are +200. If the teams end in a 21-21 draw, both bets get a refund.

As for parlays and teaser bets, things get a bit trickier. There are more games involved, which means more chances of one of them ending on a push. Here’s how multi-event wagers “react” to a push bet.

Pushes On Parlays Or Teasers?

Say the bettors get +600 odds if they win a three-team parlay bet or a +1200 for a four-team bet. But what if you win three legs of a four-team wager and push the remaining one? Do you lose? Do you win?

Most sportsbooks will remove the push game and readjust the odds as if the parlay/teaser had one fewer leg. Simply put, a four-team parlay with three winning legs and a push will pay you as if you won a three-leg parlay.

Yes, you were aiming for that juicy +1200 odds, but getting +600 due to the push bet getting removed from the bet is still a massive profit. It’s actually six times better than nothing.

This is the fairest and more logical way to deal with pushes in multi-event wagers. But it is not an official rule per se. Some sportsbooks will see a push bet, and take it as losing bets, therefore you lose the whole parlay/teaser. This is common in parlay bets produced early in the week that remains available for wagering up to the start of the parlay.

To avoid being played like this, you need to read the small print. It may be a pain in the behind, but it’s better to know what you’re dealing with than to get blindsided and lose your money. Research on how your sportsbook deals with pushes.

Obviously, you’re more bound to be faced with a push in a multi-event bet if you include a higher number of games. A 10 team parlay has 10 chances to get a push. A two-team parlay involves only two matches that could push.

How To Avoid Getting Into A Push Bet?

First of all, you have to be aware that avoiding a push bet is taking the mindset of “go big or go home.” You win or lose and deal with it. Having clarified this, yes, there is a way to avoid the possibility of pushes.

If you spend time watching a long sporting event and put some big bucks on the play, tying may not be a fulfilling result. It’s not a loss, but not a win either. On the other hand, if you are a high-volume bettor concerned with his ROI, a push could feel more like “oh well” more than a loss.

So, avoiding pushes is not hard. You need to bet on those half-point bets—which are known as hooks. There will never be a push on a spread like 3.5, 7.5, or a total of 49.5.

Even if the oddsmakers don’t put a hook on the odds, you can usually buy half a point. You might pay a small price in the vig, but it usually is worth taking it at -125 to get -2.5 instead of a -110 on laying three.

On moneylines, even if it can happen, the chances of a push are really slim. There are no ties in the NBA, NHL, and MLB. The NFL had one tie in 2019, two in 2018, and none in 2017. The chances of pushing a bet when betting on moneylines is really small.

Some sports where ties are more likely—like soccer—offer three-way betting. You can bet on either side of the game, or even bet that the result will be a tie. In a three-way moneyline, if you pick a team to win, a push will result in a loss, not in a refund.

Go For The Win, Settle For The Push

In the end, a push is not a loss, and not a win, but it’s not a bad result. It gives you a free data point to consider, though. Of course, that only holds if your sportsbook refunds the pushes.

Always remember to read the terms and conditions thoroughly before placing your wagers. If you’re betting for a favorite, avoiding pushes by buying half points, you buy yourself a 0.5 point margin. For example, betting on a -2.5 is better than a -3. You need an FG to win the bet, not to push it.

Inversely, when betting underdogs, getting from +2.5 to +3 gives you an edge. In this case, an FG loss would give you a push rather than a loss.

Pushes and half points are a way for you to either expand your winning chances or mitigate your losses.

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