What Is A Push?

A push in sports betting is a tie between the oddsmaker and the bettor.  In the event of a push a bettor’s stake is returned to the bettor.  

Spreads and totals introduce a new factor to consider into betting on North American sports.  The typical basketball or football game will have an overtime in order to prevent a tie, but oddsmakers don’t have that luxury.  If the total amount of points in an event is equal to the total, or the margin of victory between a favourite and an underdog is the same as the spread, it is a draw between the oddsmaker and the bettor.  This is referred to as a “push”.

Let’s look at an example.  Say the total is set at 210.0 in an upcoming NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors.  As is best for the oddsmaker, half of the bets come in on the over, and half on the under.

At the end of the game the final score is:

OKC – 102

GSW – 108

Resulting in a total of 210, equal to the total set by the oddsmaker!

In this situation, everyone who placed a bet on the over or the under at a total of 210 gets their stake back.  This is bad news for the oddsmaker as they don’t get to keep a margin on any of it! An event that ends in a push makes no money for the oddsmaker, that is why you will commonly see lines set ending in a “.5” to prevent the possibility of a push.