What is a Push in Sports Betting?

Key points

  • A push describes a bet for which there’s no winner or loser between a bettor and the sportsbook.
  • The sportsbook will refund your initial stake if the bet is a push.
  • A push is most common for spread and total bets, but it can come up elsewhere.

When you bet on sports, you’ll make a profit if you win your bet and lose your stake when you don’t. While that’s pretty simple, there’s one more possibility for certain bets: a tie. The wager has no winner or loser — a “push” in sports betting parlance.

What is a push?  

A push happens when a bet has no winner or loser. Outside of soccer, ties are rare for major team sports, so a push will mainly come into play for spreads and totals if the result lands directly on the sportsbook’s line. Here’s an example of a push:

The Los Angeles Rams are -3 favorites over the Kansas City Chiefs:

  • Los Angeles needs to win by more than three points to cover the spread, such as 28-24 or 31-21.
  • Kansas City covers by losing by fewer than three points, such as 35-34, or by winning the game by any score.
  • If Los Angeles wins by exactly three points — 27-24, 22-19, etc. — then it’s a push on the spread.
  • There’s no winner or loser on the bet as a result.

When you bet on a spread or total that’s a whole number, the possibility of a push is always there. As a result, many game lines end in .5, which eliminates the chance of a push.

If you’re getting set to bet on totals or spreads and want a clear result, then you should avoid betting on lines that don’t include the half-point. For those who don’t mind an occasional push or would like a small safety net, betting on whole numbers can work.

As for soccer, draws are common. The main bet is a three-way moneyline, which offers the chance to wager on either side to win or a draw. Another option, though, is “draw no bet,” which means the bet will be a push if the game ends in a tie.

Is a push the same as a tie?

For betting purposes, a push is basically a tie between the bettor and the sportsbook. There’s no winner or loser for the wager. For games that end up tied, such as an NFL regular season game that’s not settled during overtime, the end result is the same. If you had bet on the moneyline for that game, your bet is a push but the spread will have a winner.

Do you lose your bet if it’s a push?  

No. There isn’t a winner or loser when the result of a bet is a push. As a result, you won’t lose your initial stake. The push is simply the way that the bet is graded, just like what happens for winning and losing bets. For your individual tracking of betting results, you can consider the push to be a tie.

How do sportsbooks handle a push?

After games end, online sportsbooks grade all of the action. They pay out winning bets and note losing wagers. Sportsbooks will also grade a push and refund your initial bet. When viewing the results in your account section, the sportsbook may note the result as a push, tie, or void.

Sports betting push examples

While a push is most common for a spread or total bet, it can also happen with other wagers. Here are some additional examples:

Spread: A push can happen when the line is a whole number, such as 3 or 7 points.

  • Example: Golden State Warriors -3 over Boston Celtics.
  • If Golden State wins by exactly three points, the bet is a push.

Total: The total line is a whole number, such as eight runs or 45 points.

  • Example: New York Mets Boston Red Sox, over/under 8.
  • For your bet to win or lose, the total needs to be more or less than eight runs. If the total is exactly eight, such as 5-3 or 6-2, then the bet is a push.

Moneyline: An NFL regular season game that is still tied after overtime.

  • It doesn’t happen often. Using last year as an example, just one of 272 total regular season games ended in a tie.
  • Postseason NFL games continue until there’s a winner.
  • The other major leagues avoid ties: MLB (extra innings), NBA (overtime), NHL (overtime plus shootout if necessary.)

Props: A prop bet that’s an over/under with a line that’s a whole number.

  • Example: Tom Brady total passing yards O/U 280.
  • It’s a push if he throws for exactly 280.

The push could also impact a parlay. If one of the results is a tie, then most sportsbooks will remove that wager from the equation and settle the bet based on the results of the other legs. Most two-leg parlays will push if either leg pushes and another wins. For the exact terms and conditions on how your sportsbook handles things, though, be sure to check out the house rules.

How should a push be handled for your records? 

If you track your betting results in full detail, then you can treat a push as a tie for your overall record of wins and losses. For those who don’t track results, consider adding this step to your overall routine. It’ll give you insight into your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your true profitability or total losses from betting on sports.

On a standalone basis, each push is a break-even betting event. You get your stake back and live to bet another day, at least with another betting unit of equal value.

Privacy Policy