You’ve done your homework and placed a point spread bet for tonight’s game. You order wings, grab a beer, and get ready for the game.
The game ends and your bet was right on the money! *High five*
The only problem is — it was a push and you don’t make anything.
But how could you bet correctly and not have anything to show for it?
In this guide, we talk about what is push betting, provide helpful examples, and walk you through what happens in push betting situations.
Table of Contents
- In Sports Betting, What Is a Push?
- What Does a Push Betting Result Look Like?
- So, Who Wins?
- Which Sports Can Result in a Push Bet?
- What Is a Push in Betting: Football Example
- What Is a Push in Betting: Basketball Example
- What Is a Push in Spread Bets and Over/Under Bets?
- What Is a Push in Parlays?
- How Sportsbooks Deal With a Push
- What Happens to Your Money in a Push Bet?
- How to Avoid a Push Betting Result
- Bet Online With ZenSports to Avoid Push Headaches
In Sports Betting, What Is a Push?
When the result of an online sports bet is a ‘push’, that means that there was a tie between the bettor and the sportsbook.
You may have heard of a ‘push’ in Blackjack — where the dealer and the player tie and the bets are typically returned.
It’s the same in sports betting.
So, what is a push? In betting, it is more or less a tie.
Here’s another way to think about it:
The sportsbook is going to set a number for an expected outcome of a game. If the number you bet is the exact same as the number set by the sportsbook — the result is a ‘push’.
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What Does a Push Betting Result Look Like?
A push is most likely to occur when betting on the outcome of football or basketball games, or other sports that use point spreads.
Not sure what a point spread is? No worries. We’ve got you.
A point spread is basically a way to level the playing field for teams in betting.
A push result might look like this:
Odds for Kansas City vs. Tampa Bay:
40 over or 40 under
Results of the game:
Kansas City — 31
Tampa Bay — 9
Since the combined scores of the game are exactly 40 (which is the number put out by the sportsbook), the result would be a push and the bettor would be returned their money.
So, Who Wins?
In a push situation…
Neither party wins nor loses — the wager is simply refunded to the bettor so that he or she breaks even on their bet.
So pushes aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Usually, the worst thing about them is the time spent betting and watching the game only to breakeven.
The nice thing is that bettors are not punished for pushes by the sportsbook. Bettors never lose money on a push.
We know that understanding odds in betting can be tricky…that’s why we made this guide that will help you understand sports betting like a pro!
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Which Sports Can Result in a Push Bet?
Push bets happen most often in the following sports:
But, push bets are totally possible in other sports, too.
Because push bets are most common in football and basketball, we’ll provide examples of a push bet situation in each of these sports below.
What Is a Push in Betting: Football Example
We gave a push example earlier with a Kansas City and Tampa Bay game, but let’s do another!
Imagine there was an upcoming game: the Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers.
For this match, you bet on a point spread that is set at +/-7. Now you could bet for or against either team in this situation.
Whichever way you bet, there will always be a chance of the score being 20-27, 13-20, 7-14, or some combination where one team is +/-7.
Any of those ending scores would result in a push since the outcome matched exactly the point spread set by the sportsbook.
What Is a Push in Betting: Basketball Example
In basketball, a push looks similar.
Typically, wagers will be made on point spreads or how many points you think a team will win by.
For example, in a game between the Boston Celtics and the San Antonio Spurs, the Spurs might be favored and the spread is set at -17.
(The favored team is marked with a (-) negative sign.)
Now, here is where it gets interesting…
In order to make money on this bet, the Spurs would have to win by a number greater than 17 and you would have to bet on them to win.
Regardless of whether your bet is in favor of the Spurs or the Celtics, if the score is something like 90-107, or a score with a 17 point difference, the result is a push.
In sports betting, there are other types of bets than just point spreads. Over/Under betting is another popular route, especially for new sports bettors.
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What Is a Push in Spread Bets and Over/Under Bets?
Throughout this guide, you’ve seen us talk about point spread betting and over/under betting.
Let’s dig into those a bit deeper.
As a refresher, spread betting is putting a wager on the outcome of a sporting event and the result depends on the accuracy of the wager.
In this type of betting, a push happens when the outcome matches the expected spread set by the sportsbook.
Over/under bets are a bit more straightforward.
The sportsbook predicts a total number for a statistic in a game (think: combined total of score). Bettors then wager on whether the actual number will be over or under the predicted total.
In this type of betting, a push happens when the actual total matches the predicted total.
What Is a Push in Parlays?
A push in a parlay sounds complicated, we know — But it really isn’t.
In a parlay, a bettor has wagered on multiple items on one bet, or ticket.
For example, someone has made a parlay bet when they have wagered on the outcomes of three sporting events on one bet.
In other words, to win, the wagers on all three games must be accurate.
So, what happens if your parlay is going smoothly – you’re killing it – and one of the games is a push?
Not to worry…
Typically, if there is a push in a parlay, the push is simply removed from the parlay.
Like in the example above, if you have a parlay bet on three games but one is a push, your parlay bet becomes a parlay on two games.
How Sportsbooks Deal With a Push
In the event of a push, sportsbooks will almost always refund the bettor what was wagered.
In other words, you’ll get your money back.
Parlays can be a bit different. As we just went over, sportsbooks will typically just remove a push from a parlay ticket. Keep in mind that if an event is removed from the ticket, the payout potential is decreased.
Bottom line: Not all sportsbooks deal with a push in the same way so it’s always a good idea to read the fine print and make sure you’re clear on the rules and specs of your bet.
What Happens to Your Money in a Push Bet?
When a bet results in a push, it means a ‘no action’ has occurred. In other words, any money wagered is returned to the bettor and there is no exchange.
But isn’t the whole point of betting to have fun and win some money?
Let’s talk about how to avoid a push or break-even situation.
How To Avoid a Push Betting Result
Let’s be honest, a push result is almost always disappointing.
Fortunately, there are ways to avoid them!
A lot of times, you will see sportsbooks adding a ‘.5’, or a half-point to their totals so that a push cannot occur. This works because there is no such thing as half a point in a sporting event.
How Half-Point Betting Saves the Day
The best and most common way to avoid a push is through half points.
If you don’t already, you will grow to love half-points. With half-point betting, there is no sitting around watching a game only to breakeven on your bet.
This will likely not come as a surprise, but sportsbooks don’t like pushes either.
That’s why, more often than not, sportsbooks will impose a line with ‘a hook’, or half-point.
This ‘hook’ ensures a winner and a loser regarding that spread.
How Does an Online Bet Look Using Half-Points?
Let’s refer back to our hypothetical football example with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If you recall:
- The sportsbook predicted a +/-7 spread
- The final score was 10-17 (let’s pretend)
- The result was a push
But if a half-point is involved:
- The sportsbook predicts a +/-7.5 spread
- The final score was 10-17
- No push, only winners and losers
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Bet Online With ZenSports to Avoid Push Headaches
Sports betting can be tough at times…
Like in any game, there are hard losses and incredible victories.
Our platform is there to make it easy for you to bet on the sports you love, with anyone in the world — right from your phone.
ZenSports wants to help people like you have fun, earn some cash, and get in the game!