What Does Tie Mean In Sports Betting?



What Does a Tie Mean in Sports Betting?

If you’re used to American sports, you may be unfamiliar with the concept of a tie, as most games don’t allow games to end in a draw. If games end with level scores, games like hockey, football, and basketball will go into overtime to ensure a decisive result.


However, in European sports, such as soccer, ties are a part of the game and can even be bet on before and during the match. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of ties in sports betting, don’t worry; we’re here to give you everything you need to know, including the types you’ll come across, as well as helpful tips for navigating them in your bets.

What Is a Tie In Sports Betting?

A tie in sports betting is when two teams finish on equal points at the end of the game. In some sports, this means that the teams keep playing until a winner is determined, but in some sports, the game is over, regardless of whether or not the teams are level on points. This will have ramifications depending on the type of bet you make. If you bet on a team to win in a sport where ties are allowed at the end of the game, your bet will be considered a loss. 


However, if your bookmaker does not offer the option to bet on the tie and the game ends in a tie, the bet will be considered a dead heat, which means the bet will be paid out at half the stakes of the original bet. For example, if you bet $10 at odds of 20/1 and the bet is considered a dead heat, your bet will be calculated as a $5 bet at 20/1, meaning you will receive $105 ($100 profit plus the original $5 bet). This decision is at the bookmaker’s discretion; each online sports betting site will have different terms and conditions around this phenomenon.


A sports betting tie can also refer to any event where points are considered level at the end of the event. For example, if you bet on a team with a handicap of -5 points and they win by a score of 30-25, they’ll have won by exactly five points. This means the final score after the handicap is 30-30, making the game a tie.

Types of Ties in Sports Betting

Now that we know what a tie in sports betting is, let’s look at how it can affect different bets we’re likely to make.


  • Moneyline Tie Bet – In this example, you’re betting on a sport where the game can end in a draw, such as soccer. These moneyline bets have three options; the home team, the away team, and the tie. If you choose this bet, the only way you can win is if the match ends in a tie. If either team wins the match, you will lose your bet.
  • Dead Heat Ties – If your game can end in a tie, but your bookmaker doesn’t offer the option to bet the tie, your bet may result in a “dead heat.” In this scenario, the bookmaker will often pay out your original bet at half its value. For example, if you make a $100 bet at odds of 10/1, your bet will be calculated as a $50 bet at odds of 10/1, giving you a total return of $550 ($500 profit and $50 original bet. This often applies to games where a tie is unlikely, such as cricket. However, always read the terms and conditions of these events, as the payout is up to the bookmaker’s discretion.
  • Losing Tie Bets – If you make a handicap bet or an over/under bet where the end result is a tie, your bet will be marked as a loss. For example, if you bet on the L.A. Lakers to beat the Toronto Raptors with a handicap of -8, and they win the game 120-112. After the handicap is applied, the game is tied at 112-112, and as the Lakers failed to win the game after the handicap is applied, you lose the bet. Similarly, if you bet the over or under on a points total and get the total dead on, you also lose the bet.

Tips For Navigating Ties in Sports Betting

As you can see, sometimes the tie can work for you, and sometimes it can work against you. If you want to ensure you’re always on the positive side, follow these helpful tips.


  1. Always Check the Moneyline Options– If your bet on your favorite team winning has a three-way moneyline option, then your bet will lose if the game ends in a tie. However, if there is no moneyline bet option, then at best, you will receive half your expected winnings.
  2. Always Check the Terms and Conditions – In the event of a bet being considered a dead heat, it’s essential to know the bookmaker’s policy before this happens. While most will give you half the value of your bet if it had won, not all of them will do this. It’s worth knowing ahead of time what to expect so you don’t find yourself thinking you have extra money you’re not going to receive.
  3. Don’t Forget the Handicap Rule – The handicap rule is that your chosen team has to win by at least one more point than their handicap if they start with a minus score. If they win by the exact handicap score, the end result is a tie, which means they did not win the match, and therefore you do not win your bet.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Ties in Sports Betting?

While ties in sports betting are sometimes necessary due to the nature of the competition, they’re not always best for sports bettors. Here are some of the pros and cons of ties in sports betting.


  • Good Odds on Ties – In most games, the odds of the game ending in a tie are at least +200. This additional option gives players a solid bet with good returns. 
  • Gives Bettors More Options – If the result can end in a tie and bookmakers offer it as an option, it gives bettors more choice when making their pre-match predictions.
  • Limits the Time a Game Takes – If a match can end in a tie, there is a set amount of time in which the game will take place. This allows people to plan their days around the event, knowing that whatever the result, it will be over by a certain time.


  • Confusing for Handicap Bets – If your handicap bet ends in a tie, it can be confusing as to whether or not you’ve won the bet. However, any team in a handicap bet needs to win by more than the handicap to win the bet, and if the game ends in a tie after the handicap is applied, they haven’t won the game. 
  • Reduces Chances of Winning – If a game can end in a tie, it reduces the bettor’s odds of winning. For example, if teams are evenly matched, there’s a 50/50 chance that either side will win if the game does not allow a draw. However, if there is an equal chance of the game ending in victory for either side or a draw after the allotted time, then anyone who makes a bet only has a 33% chance of winning.
  • Results Depend on Bookmaker – While most bookmakers consider a tie to be a loss on a moneyline or handicap bet, some bookmakers will mark this result as a push if they do not give the option to bet the tie. This makes things confusing for players and forces them to check the rules of each site before making a bet.

Why You Should Be Aware of Ties in Sports Betting

You should always be aware of how a tie will impact your bet in sports betting, as different sports have different rules around tied games. Some sports will end the game regardless of whether or not the game is tied, so if you bet on a team to win the game, your bet will be marked as a loser. It also affects handicap betting, as some handicaps can result in a tie if a team wins by a certain margin.

FAQ: Ties in Sports Betting

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