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What is a Push in Betting? Clarifying the Scenario and Its Implications

In sports betting, understanding the various outcomes and terminologies is crucial for both novice and experienced bettors. One term that often confuses many is “push.” A push in betting occurs when the final score of a game lands exactly on the point spread or total set by the sportsbook. Essentially, a push results in no winner or loser, and the bettor’s stake is returned. This article will delve into what a push means, how it happens, and its implications for bettors.

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Understanding the Push Scenario

A push typically happens in point spread and total (over/under) bets. Here’s a closer look at how it works in these two common types of wagers:

Point Spread Bets

In point spread betting, the sportsbook sets a margin by which a favored team is expected to win. For example, if Team A is favored by 7 points against Team B, the point spread is -7 for Team A. If Team A wins by exactly 7 points, neither side covers the spread, resulting in a push.


Bet: Team A -7

Final Score: Team A 27, Team B 20

Outcome: Push (because the winning margin is exactly 7 points)

Total (Over/Under) Bets

In total bets, the sportsbook sets a line for the combined score of both teams. Bettors can wager whether the actual combined score will be over or under this line. If the combined score matches the total line exactly, the bet is a push.


Bet: Over 50 points

Final Score: Team A 27, Team B 23

Combined Score: 50 points

Outcome: Push (because the combined score is exactly 50 points)

Implications of a Push

When a push occurs, it has specific implications for the bettor and the sportsbook:

Refund of Stakes

The primary outcome of a push is that the bettor’s original stake is refunded. Unlike a win or a loss, where money is exchanged based on the odds and the stake, a push means no money is won or lost.


Wager: $100 on Team A -7

Outcome: Push

Result: The $100 stake is returned to the bettor

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Impact on Parlays and Teasers

A push can also affect parlay and teaser bets, which are multiple bets combined into one. In a parlay, if one of the legs (individual bets) results in a push, it is usually removed from the parlay, and the parlay payout is recalculated based on the remaining legs.


Parlay Bet: $50 on a three-team parlay

Teams: Team A -7, Team B -3, Team C +4

Outcome: Team A pushes, Team B and Team C win

Result: The parlay is adjusted to a two-team parlay

In teasers, where bettors can adjust the point spreads in their favor, a push typically reduces the number of teams involved in the teaser, and the payout is adjusted accordingly.

Psychological and Strategic Impact

Understanding the concept of a push is also essential for strategic betting. Bettors often try to avoid numbers that frequently result in pushes, such as spreads of 3, 7, or 10 in football, as these are common winning margins. Additionally, knowing that a push is possible can affect how a bettor manages their bankroll and assesses risk.

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Strategies to Handle a Push

To handle the possibility of a push effectively, bettors can adopt several strategies:

Betting on Half Points

One way to avoid a push is to bet on spreads or totals that include half points (known as “hooks”). For example, a spread of -6.5 or a total of 50.5 ensures there is no possibility of a push.

Line Shopping

Another strategy is line shopping, which involves comparing the spreads and totals offered by different sportsbooks to find the most favorable lines. Slight differences in lines can mean the difference between a push and a win.

Understanding Key Numbers

In sports like football, certain margins of victory are more common due to the scoring system. These key numbers (such as 3, 7, and 10 in football) should be taken into account when placing bets to minimize the chances of a push.

push in betting, betting scenarios, sports betting terms

A push in betting is a scenario where the outcome lands exactly on the sportsbook’s line, resulting in no win or loss for the bettor. While it may seem inconsequential, understanding pushes is crucial for managing your betting strategy and bankroll effectively. By using strategies like betting on half points and line shopping, bettors can minimize the chances of encountering a push and increase their chances of a successful wager.

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