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What Does it Mean to Push in Sports Betting?

by January 1, 2022
Hockey Puck

Sports betting is all about winning and losing. From the thrill of your team hitting a buzzer-beating shot, to the agony of watching the team you bet against hit a last-second field goal to crush your bet, we bet to win. However, that doesn’t always happen.

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What is a push?

A push is a tie. When a point spread or total in a game hits exactly what the number you bet it at, it results in a push. For example, let’s say you bet the Packers to beat the Vikings at -7 and the total to go over 49 points. If the Packers win 28-21, both of your bets would push. You bet them to win by at least seven points and they won by exactly seven points, so the bet is a push. You also bet the teams to combine for over 49 points and they scored exactly 49 points, so your bet is a push.

When does a push happen most often?

A bet is more likely to push in some sports over others. For example, football or basketball games lined at a flat number are more likely to push than hockey games which don’t have ties and are almost always lined at 1.5 goals. A football game with a 3 point line can finish with a team winning by exactly 3, but a hockey game lined at 1.5 can’t have a team win by 1.5 goals. That is why many games and props are lined at half-point prices. For example, player props are usually lined at half points such as 51.5 so a push is impossible.

What happens when a push occurs?

A push is a tie, so neither you nor the sportsbook wins. In the event of a push, the bettor is refunded their money and it’s like no bet was ever made in the first place. Pushes are a bit more complicated when it comes to parlays and teasers. Sportsbooks have different rules with how pushes affect those types of bets, so it is important to read those rules and understand how a push will affect a parlay or teaser bet that you place.

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Whether you’re new to sports betting or a betting pro, our How To Bet and Sports Betting Strategy and Advice pages are for you. You can get started with our 101 section — including How to Bet on Sports — or head to more advanced strategy — like 10 Tips to Become a Sharper Sports Bettor — to learn more.

Jack O’Brien is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Jack, check out his archive and follow him @JackOBrienNFL.

Betting 101, Strategy