What Is a Push in Sports Betting?

Have you ever wondered, What is a push in sports betting? Or what happens when a sports bet ends in a tie?

Well, imagine placing a wager on your favorite team, only to find out that the result neither wins nor loses your bet. That’s where the concept of a β€œpush” bet comes into play. Understanding push bets is crucial for mastering the art of sports betting and ensuring you make informed decisions.

In this article, we’ll unravel the mystery behind push bets in sports betting, providing you with essential insights to navigate this aspect and wager effectively.

πŸ”‘ Key Takeaways

  • Learn the nuance of the push in over/under betting.
  • Try out the mentioned strategies approved by a professional sports bettor.

What Is a Push in Sports Betting?

What does a push mean in betting? It happens when nobody wins or loses a bet, and you get your money back. It’s like the game never even happened.

This occurs when the betting prediction matches the actual outcome exactly, such as if a team wins by the exact number of points predicted. 

I was placing a bet on the NFL point spread for the game between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants. The spread was +/-3. I decided to bet on the Cowboys -3. Now, imagine the game ended with a score of 24-21 in favor of Dallas!

The final score matched the spread exactly, resulting in a push. And this, is how I came to find out what a push is in sports betting.

The Impact of a Push on Bettors 

A push in betting is akin to a tie, where neither the bettor nor the sportsbook wins or loses.

For example: In NFL games ending in regular-season ties, moneyline bets result in a push, though the spread has a winner.

The bettor’s stake is refunded, considered a tie β€” in record or no action bet. 

Sportsbooks refund pushes after game review, noting them as push, tie, or void. Financially, you don’t lose any money, while sportsbooks don’t profit from the bet, refunding the initial stake. 

A push bet is generally not a favorable outcome for a bettor or the sportsbook. However, there are specific steps sports bettors can take to lower the chances of encountering a push bet. We’ll go into more detail below.

Push in Over/Under Betting 

Now, let’s see: what is a push in betting over/under bets? Pushing on a total, like predicting how many points will be scored, works just like pushing on a spread.

For instance: In a Lakers vs. Celtics basketball game with a total of 220 points, if the final score is 112-108, totaling exactly 220, it’s a push. It doesn’t matter who wins; if the total matches, it’s a push for both teams.

You can tweak your bet by buying points, but it’s not wise. Moving from +3.0 to +3.5 or -7.0 to -6.5 isn’t smart because it’s a small difference compared to the big numbers in totals.

Football totals are usually in the 40s, while basketball totals can be as high as 250. Paying extra for half a point is not worth it with such big numbers.

Here is a table with examples that simplifies pushes in over/under betting:

GameTotal PointsFinal ScoreOutcome
Lakers vs. Celtics (Basketball)220112-108Push
Cowboys vs. Giants (Football)4524-21Push
Yankees vs. Red Sox (Baseball)95-4Push

If you’re wondering how to avoid pushes in sports betting, here are some tested-and-tried strategies you can implement:

  • Compare odds and lines across multiple sportsbooks.
  • Understand key numbers, especially in basketball and football.
  • Buy half points, but be aware of the reduced odds when doing so.
  • Research and analyze team matchups to make better predictions.

Understanding Push Bets in Different Sports

Bets in many sports often end in a tie, particularly in baseball, basketball, football, and hockey, mainly with over/under bets.

To further your understanding of what a push bet is, we provide the below examples of pushes in betting.

Push Bets in American Football

In NFL betting, a push occurs when the final score matches the predicted score set by the oddsmakers.

Example: When a team is expected to win by 7 points, and they win by exactly 7 points, it creates a push bet.

Push Bets in Basketball

When betting on the NBA, a push occurs when the final score matches the oddsmakers’ predicted total points for the game.

Example: When the oddsmakers set the total points for a basketball game at 200, and the final score is 100-100, totaling 200 points, it creates a push bet.

Push Bets in Baseball

In MLB betting, a push can occur in moneyline bets if the game ends in a tie or if the final score matches the predicted run difference.

Example: If you bet on a baseball game where the oddsmakers predict the Yankees will win by 3 runs, and the final score is 5-2 in favor of the Yankees, matching the predicted run difference of 3, it results in a push bet.

Push Bets in Hockey

In NHL betting, a push can happen in puck line or goal line bets if the final score results in a tie or if the margin of victory equals the set spread.

Example: If you bet on a hockey game where the oddsmakers predict one team will win by at least 2 goals, and the final score ends with the winning team ahead by only 1 goal. It results in a push for those who bet on that team to win by 2 or more goals.

Strategies to Manage Pushes in Betting 

Jack Andrews, professional sports bettor and co-founder of Unabated, a platform designed to help bettors make calculated bets, had this to say about push betting strategies,

What I really crave is variety. I want a range of opinions on betting lines and the ability to compare them across different sportsbooks.

I probably need several casual sportsbooks for occasional bets, but I also rely on sharp books to guide the market and identify where the casual ones may be mistaken.

In essence, I need extensive options to cover all my bases.

Jack Andrews

Let’s explore the most important betting strategies recommended by Jack Andrews, below: 

Push Betting StrategyDescription
Compare odds & lines at multiple bookiesCompare odds from various sportsbooks before betting to get the best ones.
β†’ If one offers -110 for a basketball game while another offers -105, opt for the latter for better value.
Understand key numbers, esp. in Basketball and FootballIn basketball and football, common final score margins include 3, 7, and 10. Knowing this helps gauge the likelihood of a push.
β†’ If a team favored by 3 points wins by exactly 3, it’s a push.
Buy half points & be aware of the reduced oddsSportsbooks offer half-point buying options to adjust point spreads.
β†’ If a team is favored by 3.5 points, you can pay extra to change it to 3, useful for predicting close games. However, note that this may result in lower odds.
Research and analyze team matchups for better predictionsStudy team matchups before betting. Consider recent performance, injuries, and head-to-head history.
β†’ A strong defense facing a high-scoring opponent might result in a lower-scoring game with a higher chance of a push.

Push Bets Best Practices

If you are not tracking your bets yet, start now to win the game next time. It helps identify your strengths and areas for improvement and shows your real profits or losses.

Most sportsbooks don’t refund push bets if you use bonus funds or free credits, and the same applies to a winning bet.

Always read the fine print before placing push bets on any sportsbook. This will help you understand how they handle a push, especially in live betting.

A push occurs when the game outcome lands on a whole number point spread, creating the possibility of a push. Knowing these rules helps you avoid unexpected results.

So, Will You Place a Push Bet Tonight?

By using our proven betting strategies, you will navigate the intricacies of push bets and emerge successful! So the next time you wager on your favorite sports, keep our push betting tips in mind to make smarter wagering decisions and limit the outcome of the push.

Ready to take your sports betting game to the next level? Well, now’s the time to learn more from our comprehensive betting guides and dive deeper into more advanced strategies.