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I have covered a lot of terms and jargon that gamblers have to familiarize themselves with if they want to learn how to bet on sports.  One term that leaves beginners scratching their heads is a “push.”  But what exactly does it mean and how does it impact your betting strategy?

Understanding the Meaning of Push in Sports Betting

A push in sports betting occurs when the outcome of a bet results in a tie.  This means that the bettor nor the sportsbook wins or loses the wager.

For instance, if you place a bet on a team with a spread of -10 and that team goes on to win the game by ten points, you’ve just experienced a push.

Your initial bet is returned to you in full and it’s as if the bet never happened.

Implications of Pushing Your Bets

A tie is a neutral outcome since financially you are in the same place that you started but how you feel after pushing one of your bets depends on the circumstances.

It can be a relief, especially if you were trailing the entire game or if a star player was injured during the game.

But it can also be a major disappointment if you feel you had an advantage, the game was playing out how you pictured, and the team gave it away at the end.  This can feel like a real opportunity lost.

For the sports handicappers on our site, we don’t really track pushes on our leaderboards and trends.  If nothing is gained or lost by the bettors following, then it doesn’t do much to add to the records.

But some people track them and will list them third in their records.  For instance, a record of 4-2-1 means four wins, two losses, and a single push.

Bet Types Where You Might Push Your Wagers

You can have a push in almost any scenario when betting.  Let’s look at the main bet types.

Point Spreads

If the spread is on a whole number you can easily push a spread bet.  If the margin of victory by the favorite matches the point spread, the bet will end in a push.

For example, if a team is favored by three points in a football game you are going to have a higher-than-normal chance of a push.  If the favorite wins by a field goal then the bet is pushed.


If the total points scored in the game match the over/under the books set the game will end in a push.


This is rare with American sports since ties are a dirty word in the States, but games can and do end in ties.  This would mean all moneyline wagers are pushed and bets are returned.

Ways to Avoid a Push When Betting Sports

The sportsbooks themselves hate pushes.  They have to return all of the wagers to bettors and don’t get to collect any vig off of the balanced action.  Bettors don’t love pushes either so here are some ways you can avoid them.

Buying Points

This is the easiest way to avoid tying.  You can buy onto a half number so there is only a winner or a loser.  We have a buying points guide for each sport if you want to know if it’s profitable to do so.


This is essentially buying points and putting them into a parlay but can help you get off of whole numbers and onto half points.  Our teaser guide has more info on how these work by sport.

Betting Three-Way Lines

This is more popular in sports like golf matchups and soccer, but books do offer what’s called a three-way line.  This means you have the option to bet either team or the tie option.  However, if you bet on either side and a draw does occur then you lose your bet instead of pushing.


If you parlay games together and one of the legs pushes, your payout just gets decreased like that game never happened.  So if you bet a 5-team parlay and one game pushes but the rest win, you get paid out like it’s a 4-team parlay.


Now you should be familiar with what a push is in sports betting and when they have the chance of occurring.  If you want to avoid them there are several different ways to do so, but sometimes a no-bet is better than a losing bet so use those strategies carefully.