What Is a Push in Sports Betting?

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May 13, 2020, 12:25 PM EDT

So you’ve bet on the Chiefs as 10-point favorites over the Chargers, and as Patrick Mahomes takes one final kneel-down, the clock hits triple zeroes with a final score of Kansas City 31, L.A. 21.

Now what? The Chiefs didn’t win by more than 10 … but they did win by 10. So is your bet a win or a loss.

Neither. It’s a push.

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What Is a Push in Sports Betting?

In sports betting, a push is the result of a tie between the bettor and the sportsbook.

The bettor is refunded their money, and doesn’t lose any juice.

On a Point Spread

For a bet to push on a point spread, like in the intro example, the final-score margin must be the same as the spread taken by the bettor.

For example:

  • The bet: Chiefs -10
  • The outcome: Chiefs win, 31-21
  • The bet: Villanova +3
  • The outcome: Villanova loses, 73-70

Since actual games do not involve half points, only spreads that are whole numbers have a chance at resulting in a push.

On a Total or Over/Under

For a bet to push on a total, the number of points scored must match the over/under bet made by the bettor.

For example:

  • The bet: Over 63
  • The outcome: Alabama wins, 41-22
  • The bet: Under 7
  • The outcome: Cubs win, 4-3

The same as spreads, over/under bets also must come on whole numbers to have a chance at a push.

On a Moneyline

For a bet to push on a moneyline, two factors must hold true.

  1. The game ends in a tie.
  2. A tie or draw was not one of the bet options.

The second one comes into play mostly in soccer, where a typical moneyline bet offered by the sportsbook includes an option for each team, as well as the draw (called a three-way moneyline).

In such a case, the game resulting in a tie will count as a loss if you’ve backed one of the teams to win, since you had the option to bet on the draw.

In a two-way moneyline (where the only options are to bet on either team), a tie game will result in a push. But beware, the payouts for a two-way moneyline are significantly worse for this reason.

Is a Push a Loss?

No. Nor is it a win. For any bet that pushes, the bettor simply receives back all of the money he/she wagered, and does not have to forfeit any of the vig.

In a bettor’s win-loss record, pushes are listed third. So a bettor that goes 4-2-1 on the night won four bets, lost two and pushed on one.

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