What Does Tie Mean In Sports Betting?
by Doc's Sports - 10/10/2014
I’m sure all you all know what a tie is in sports - when two teams or individuals finish a game with the same number of points, and there is no winner. Mercifully, it is pretty tough for ties to happen in most sports. In basketball and baseball they just keep playing until there is a winner. Hockey uses a shootout to end ties in the regular season, and plays until it’s over in the playoffs. Football can have ties - at least in the NFL - but new overtime rules make it tougher all the time for one to actually happen. Only soccer consistently delivers ties - a contributing reason why it isn’t as popular here as other sports.
In sports betting, a tie means much the same thing, but it is slightly different - and more common as a result. The term tie in sports betting simply refers to a wager where no money was either won or lost. It is also commonly referred to as a push.
A tie can happen whether you are betting point spreads or totals. If, for example, a spread was three points, and the final score was 17-14 with the favorite winning. Whether you bet on the favorite or the underdog in that case you would not be a winner, but you also wouldn’t lose. You would get your entire bet back without penalty, and the sportsbooks would make nothing on the transaction. Similarly, if the total was 31 and the score was, again, 17-14 then neither over bettors nor under ones would be winners. They would both get a refund.
For the most part a tie doesn’t mean much for bettors - it’s just a mulligan, giving you another chance to pick a winner next time. There are times, though, when you need to be very aware of what ties mean, and how they should impact your bet selection process. One good example is with parlays. Some sportsbooks will treat a tie in a game in a parlay as just a voided game. If you have a tie in a three-game parlay, for example, then the whole parlay will just change into a two-team parlay. No big deal. Other books, though, will treat a tie as a loss in a parlay. That means, then, that the spread you are betting it is actually a half point worse than the one it says you are betting. If you aren’t aware of this then it can be surprising - and costly.
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