What Does Push Mean in Sports Betting?
Imagine for a moment - you're a new gambler, and you've placed your first big-money wager at your local sportsbook.
You spent hours studying the stats, you kept up with all the relevant news, and placed a confident, educated point spread bet. After an exciting game, you find that all your research paid off – your wager was right on the money. For some reason, your bet is simply refunded.
How is it possible to place a perfect bet and come out with nothing? This is the result of what is called a push. The concept can seem confusing to those new to gambling, but it is a fairly common occurrence that doesn’t necessarily entail a loss.
In this guide, we will answer some of the most commonly asked questions about what a push in sports betting means, what causes it, and how it might look if this happens to you.
So What Does a Push Mean in Sports Betting?
A push result in sports betting is when the set point spread that you bet on is the same as the final difference in score. It is, in essence, a tie between you and the sportsbook you placed your bet with.
Let’s say that your sportsbook sets the Philadelphia Eagles vs Houston Texans game at +/-10, and you bet on either side of that spread. Whichever way you set your wager, if the final score is any combination where one team is +/-10 points (20-30, 10-20, so on), the outcome is a push.
Any ending score with a difference matching a given point spread is considered a push.
Push Result vs Tie Game
Although conceptually similar, there are important distinctions and nuances to understand between a tie game and a push result.
A push is dependent on the outcome of point spreads being a tie, not simply the final score, even if it is a tie game.
However, if you had bet on the moneyline rather than the point spread, a tie game DOES entail a push result.
When Do Push Results Happen?
Push results can occur in any sport in which point spreads are used, thus it is most common in football, basketball, hockey, and soccer. It can, however, occur in nearly all sports as more come to use the system.
For example, the over and under for a baseball game can be set at a certain number of runs; the variables can be adjusted to suit most scoring systems.
What Will the Sportsbook Do With My Bet?
One of the first logical responses to a situation like this is: “So, what happens to my money?”.
Fortunately, sportsbooks do not penalize bettors for placing bets resulting in a push in any way, so you will receive your wager back in its entirety. When the game is over, the sportsbook will grade all bets, at which time they pay out wins and record losses.
Push results are also graded in this process, and your bet will be refunded at this time. This result may show up in your account as “push”, “tie”, or “void”.
Is a Push Considered a Loss?
A push is considered neither a loss nor a win- it is simply a tie. Whether there are certain personal positives or negatives associated with that can depend on your outlook and attitude as a bettor.
Perhaps you didn’t make any money, but your team pulled off the backdoor cover at the end of the game. For some gamblers, that could be at least a personal win. If your biggest concern is the cash outcome, maybe this result could be a bit more disappointing.
How Should I Log a Push in my Records?
For those who track the results of their wagers, a push result can be recorded as a tie.
It should be considered a non-factor in your overall profitability, as it has no effect beyond its presence as a footnote in your records. A push is a break-even betting event, both in terms of your money and your betting record.
To log a push in your records, it should be listed as a third number. For example, a 3-4-1 betting record entails 3 wins, 4 losses, and 1 push.
How Can I Avoid a Push Result?
Although a push result doesn’t necessarily hurt, it can certainly be frustrating. Luckily, there are strategies you can use to avoid them.
One of the most frequent ways bettors or sportsbooks will avoid a push is by using a “hook”, also known as half-point betting.
Due to there obviously being no such thing as half points in any sporting event, using them in point spreads prevents final scores from adding up to an amount matching the spread and causing a push.
For example: if a sportsbook sets a +/- 5 spread and the final score is 10-15, the result is a push. If the spread is set at +/-5.5, there is no way the score can ever end in a push.
Thus, you will frequently see sportsbooks use half points – they want to decrease the likelihood of coming out empty-handed as well to keep money flowing on every game.
Want to Learn More?
Now that you’ve learned what a push result is and the in-game factors that can cause it, you know the steps you can take to avoid this underwhelming outcome. Little insights like this are the key to maximizing profit and excitement on your bets.
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