What Does PK Mean in Sports Betting?

What comes to mind when you see PK in a sportsbook? If you think PK bet means Penalty Kick, you would be wrong! Although the abbreviation is used for that in soccer, PK has a different meaning altogether in the context of sports betting.

Understanding this type of bet is essential as it can help strengthen your parlay bets, improve the odds on a favorite, and enhance moneyline odds.

In this article, you’ll know exactly what PK in sports betting means. We will also look at how PK betting works and the strategies for using it effectively.

🔑 Key Takeaways

  • Discover the real PK mean in betting to place a bet in the best conditions.
  • Find out about the best PK or pick’em option according to your sport like soccer, football, basketball, hockey, and baseball.
  • You’ll know which pk odds to prefer or how to benefit your favorite teams when you’re betting.

Defining PK in Sports Betting

PK stands for Pick’em, Pick, or Zero Spread, describes a point spread where the sportsbook has no favorite or underdog. In this situation, neither team is favored, and the odds are identical for both teams. The point spread bet between the two teams is also zero.

Bookies use PK when they consider the game evenly matched, with no clear favorite. Essentially, a PK bet is a straightforward wager on which team or player will win the game outright, with no point spread or handicap involved — simply a win/loss outcome.

However, your wager is refunded if the game ends in a tie or draw. It’s considered a push since the spread is zero.

The Origin of PK Betting

PK betting can be traced back to the early days of sports betting. Bookmakers created it as a way to offer betting options on closely matched games where no team had a clear advantage. The PK bet bypasses the point spread and allows bettors to simply pick the winner.

Thanks to the surge in sports betting and expanded media coverage, Pick’ em gained popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, particularly in NFL and NBA games. Today, it’s a popular format in sports betting, as it offers a straightforward and more rewarding way to bet on competitive events.

How PK Betting Works

PK betting is similar to moneyline betting in that a wager on either team requires them to win the game outright for the bet to be successful. However, unlike moneyline, a PK wager features even odds and no point spread.

For instance, check out an example of a bookie’s odds on an NBA matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics:

Los Angeles Lakers-5.5 -110-180
Boston Celtics+5.5 -110+130

From the odds above, you can see that the bookie offers moneyline odds of -180 for the favorite and +130 for the underdog. However, the spread market tells a different story.

Both teams are priced at -110 with zero spread. The favorite (Lakers) has a -5.5 spread, while the Underdog (Celtics) has a +5.5 spread. In this market, the winner of the game will automatically win the spread, irrespective of the final score or the margin of victory.

  • So, let’s say you wager $100 on the Lakers to win; you will receive a payout of $190 ($100 wager + $90 winnings) if the bet is successful. You will get the same payout if you place a similar wager on the Celtics.
  • However, if you place the same bet on Lakers to win on the moneyline, your total payout would be $155.56 ($100 wager + $55.56 winnings).

Examples of PK in Betting

PK betting is not only applicable to NBA. As a matter of fact, it is available across various sports like football (NFL), soccer, MLB, and college sports.

You can understand this betting option better through the examples shared below.

Example 1 — NFL Betting

Team NameSpreadMoney
New England Patriots-4.5 -110-161
Kansas City Chiefs+4.5 -110+150

Betting Line:

  • Money Line: -161 for the Patriots (favorites) and +150 for the Chiefs (underdogs).
  • Point Spread: Indicates an even match.

Placing a PK Bet:

  • Wager: $50 on either the Patriots or the Chiefs.
  • Total Payout if Win: $95.45 ($50 wager + $45.45 winnings).
  • Push Outcome: Your wager will be returned if the match ends in a push.

Example 2 — MLB Betting

Team NameSpreadMoney
New York Yankees-105+140
Houston Astros-105-160

Betting Line:

  • Spread: -105 for both teams.

Placing a PK Bet:

  • Wager: $105 on the Astros.
  • Outcome: If the Astros perform up to expectations, you win your bet.
  • Payout: Wager $105 to win $100.

Example 3 — Soccer Betting

Team NameSpreadMoney
Los Angeles FC+100+140
New York Red Bulls+100-160

Betting Line:

  • Odds: +100 for both LAFC and the Red Bulls (even pricing, no spread).

Placing a PK Bet:

  • Wager: $100 on either LAFC or the Red Bulls.
  • Outcome: If your chosen team wins, you win your bet, regardless of the number of goals scored.
  • Payout: You would win $100 for every $100 wagered if your chosen team wins.

How to Place a PK Bet Online

Now that you know about PK betting, it’s time to put the knowledge to use. Follow the step-by-step guide below to place PK wagers at US sportsbooks.

  1. Sign up at any licensed US online sportsbook: and verify your account
  2. Deposit: using any preferred payment method on the site or app
  3. Head to the sportsbook: Choose your sports and check the upcoming events
  4. Select a market: You are looking for games with equal odds and spreads
  5. Place your bet: on the team you think will win the game (After research, of course!)
  6. Sit back and enjoy the match!

Strategies for PK Sports Betting

While PK betting is a straightforward bet, it still requires careful consideration and an informed approach to achieve constant “greens.” Below, I shared some solid tips with you that will boost your chances of getting a payout with a PK bet.

  • Research: While sports outcomes can sometimes be unpredictable, it doesn’t negate the importance of researching before you wager on a team. Moreover, don’t assume a game with even odds and zero spread will be a close contest. Ensure you conduct thorough research on teams, including their recent performance, H2H, injury reports, and more.
  • Compare Moneyline Odds: From the examples I shared above, you can see that the sportsbooks have different odds for moneyline and spread. Do the calculations, and you will realize that PK’s betting odds for favorites are slightly higher than those for the moneyline. So, if you are confident in your research and your team’s ability to win outright, go for PK bets.
  • Manage your Bankroll: As I used to say to potential sports bettors, there are no sure bets or 100% guaranteed sports betting strategies. That’s why it’s essential to wager only what you can afford to lose. Don’t chase your losses; have a budget and stick to it.
  • Track Odds in Real Time: Another strategy I use when placing PL wagers is to wait for the game to go live. Then, I closely monitor how the betting line moves to identify the clearer favorite and underdog, which is valuable information that can help me make an informed PK bet.

Common Misconceptions About PK Betting

While PK betting is available, it’s not as popular as point spreads or over/under bets. This leads to misconceptions that can result in poor decisions.

  • PK Betting is Just for Beginners: Some bettors think PK bets are only for newbies. However, this isn’t true. While PK bets are a great way to start with spread betting, experienced punters can also use them to increase returns. For example, using a PK line in an NFL game can offer strategic advantages.
  • PK is Limited to Some Sports: PK betting is versatile and can be used in various sports, including football, basketball, hockey, and soccer. This makes it a valuable tool for bettors across different sports.
  • PK Betting Requires No Research: Don’t be fooled—PK betting may seem simple, but it requires diligent research. To cover the spread or correctly predict a team to win, thorough analysis is essential.

As one seasoned bettor shared:

Even in soccer betting, researching team form and injuries is crucial for successful PK bets.

So, Will You Place a PK Bet Tonight?

With a PK bet, a win is a win, and you don’t have to worry about a favored team covering a specific point spread. This is the strongest appeal of PK bets, and why I will recommend trying it on your next sports betting log in.

However, keep in mind that PK bets’ outcomes are hinged on outright wins, and as such, you need to research your selection before putting money on it.

Interested in more daring bets with bountiful returns? Visit our page on Sports Betting Education.