What Does a Push Mean in Sports Betting?

Has your point spread, total, or 2-way moneyline bet ever resulted in a “Push”? When your wager pushes, the sportsbook will return your original bet amount, or stake, to your account balance. Though a push is better than a loss, there are times when this can represent a missed opportunity and waste of bankroll.


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What is a Push in Sports Betting?

A wager that ties the sportbook’s betting line, or a 2-way moneyline wager on a game that ends in a tie, results in a push.

For example, if the New York Giants are -3 favorites and they win the game by 3 points, all point spread bets would push. The Giants’ 3 point margin of victory equals the -3 point spread line.

If Manchester United are 2-way moneyline favorites and end up tying their opponent, all 2-way moneyline bets would push. Remember that a 2-way moneyline is for one side to win outright. When neither side wins, all 2-way moneyline bets push.

2-Way Moneyline

2-way moneyline bets push when the game ends in a tie or draw. This frequently happens with soccer matches. It can also occasionally happen with NFL regular season games that end in a tie.

When a 2-way moneyline bet pushes, the sportsbook will refund your bet amount, or stake, back to your account balance.

Note that this cannot happen with a 3-way moneyline bet because a tie or draw is the third outcome. When a game ends in a tie or draw, anyone who bet “Tie” or “Draw” on a 3-way moneyline will win, and those who bet on either of the other sides will lose.

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Point Spread

Point spread bets push when the margin of victory equals the point spread line. This can only happen when the line is an integer or whole number like 3, 7, 10, or 12. A half-point point spread line can never push.

Point spread bets frequently push with NFL and College Football games. Some soccer Asian Handicap bets or goal line bets can also result in a push. Though technically possible in NBA or College Basketball, it’s not often that a game will tie the point spread because basketball is a high scoring sport.

Suppose the Kentucky Wildcats are +8 underdogs against the Duke Blue Devils. If the final score is Duke 80 – 72 Kentucky, the 8 point margin of victory equals the 8 point spread. That means all point spread bets push, and the sportsbook will refund your bet amount, or stake, back to your account balance.

Total

An over-under total bet pushes when both teams’ combined point total equals the total bet line. Like point spread pushes, this can only happen when the line is an integer or whole number like 35, 48, 60, or 80. A half-point total line can never push.

Total bets will occasionally push when betting on football. However, this will happen most often with lower-scoring sports, like baseball, hockey, and soccer. When the sportsbook sets a whole number run total or goal total, there’s a fair chance the bet will push.

For example, the goal total line for Inter Miami vs Houston Dynamo is 4. The game ends in a 2-2 draw. The 4 goal result equals the sportsbook’s 4 goal line. That means all total bets push, and the sportsbook will refund your bet amount, or stake, back to your account balance.


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Cons of a Push

Though many would be happy to have the sportsbook refund their money opposed suffering a loss, a push isn’t always a great result. There’s an opportunity cost to locking up a part of your bankroll.

For example, you place a $50 2-way moneyline bet on the Dallas Cowboys to win their next game. Let’s also suppose that game is 7 days away. The sportsbook locks up your bet amount, or stake, while you wait for the game result. A week later the Cowboys end up tying their opponent. The sportsbook refunds your $50 and you live to fight another day. Sounds decent, right?

Except you could have put the $50 to work elsewhere. Of course you didn’t think the game would end in a tie. Now on top of that, you have to wait 24 hours for the refunded bet to settle in your account.

Herein lies the opportunity cost of a push bet. Maybe you missed out on a great opportunity to bet on the Sunday Night or Monday Night games? Maybe you could have bet smaller amounts on baseball or basketball instead, potentially winning more money?

Always be careful betting on games that could result in a push. Though pushes aren’t common, you may be better off deploying your bankroll elsewhere.

FAQs

What does a Push Mean in Sports Betting?

A wager that ties the sportbook’s betting line, or a 2-way moneyline wager on a game that ends in a tie, results in a push. The sportsbook will refund your bet amount, or stake, back to your account balance

What is an example of a NFL point spread push?

For example, if the New York Giants are -3 favorites and they win the game by 3 points, all point spread bets would push. The Giants’ 3 point margin of victory equals the -3 point spread line. The sportsbook will refund your bet amount, or stake, back to your account balance.

What causes a point spread bet to push?

Point spread bets push when the margin of victory equals the point spread line. This can only happen when the line is an integer or whole number like 3, 7, 10, or 12. A half-point point spread line can never push.

What causes a 2-way moneyline bet to push?

2-way moneyline bets push when the game ends in a tie or draw. This frequently happens with soccer matches. It can also occasionally happen with NFL regular season games that end in a tie.

Can a 3-way moneyline bet push?

No. A 3-way moneyline bet cannot push because a tie or draw is the third outcome. In the event a matchup ends in a tie, everyone who bet on a tie wins, while those who picked one of the two other sides to win will lose.

What causes a total bet to push?

An over-under total bet pushes when both teams’ combined point total equals the total bet line. Like point spread pushes, this can only happen when the line is an integer or whole number like 4, 5, 38, 72, or 80. A half-point total line can never push.

What happens if my bet pushes?

The sportsbook will refund your bet amount, or stake, to your account balance. You may place another wager once the funds have settled.

Sports Betting Lessons

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Sports Betting Resources

  • How to Read Sports Betting Odds – Our helpful tutorial explains what the numbers mean for point spread, moneyline, total, and Asian Handicap bets.
  • Sports Betting Questions and Answers – Common sports betting questions and answers, a simple quick reference for beginners.
  • Sports Betting vs Casino Gambling – Learn how sportsbooks and casinos make money, and the important differences between each business model.
  • How to Read NFL Odds – Short and sweet guide to NFL point spreads, totals, and moneylines. We’ve got live example bets from upcoming NFL matchups.
  • Point Spread Bet – Understanding the point spread is key to betting on football and basketball. Learn how the point spread bet works with our tutorial video and text.
  • Over-Under Total Bet – Bet over or under the sportsbook’s line. We explain how to place this bet with easy examples, a video, and text explainer.
  • Moneyline Bet – Whether it’s a 2-way or 3-way moneyline, we’ve got you covered. Moneylines are available for almost every major sport league, including football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, tennis, and combat sports.
  • Teaser Bet – A teaser is a modified parlay that lets you buy points to shift point spread and total lines in your favor. Our fun tutorial video and detailed text article explain how to place this bet.
  • If Bet Win-Only – Sequence multiple bets together in an if-then sequence. Your next bet only sees action if the previous one wins. Ideal for bettors with small bankrolls.
  • Futures Bet – We explain what a futures bet is, how it works, and when to bet on a future sporting event. Common futures bets include the winners of the Super Bowl, Final Four, Stanley Cup, World Series, and NBA Finals.
  • Parlay Bet – Combine multiple selections into one bet that returns a huge payout if all your selections were correct. We explain how parlay bets work and provide common parlay payout tables.
  • Progressive Parlay Bet – Also known as a “Close Call Parlay”, this parlay variant can win even if one or more of selections lose. Our article describes this bet in detail.
  • Parlay Card Betting – Parlay cards are issued by major sportsbooks midweek, allowing bettors to make multiple point spread, total, and prop bet selections that can return big payouts. Not to be confused with an “off the board” parlay!
  • Prop Bets – We explain what a prop bet is, how to place a prop bet, and provide an expansive list of sports leagues with plenty of props to bet on right now.