Guide to Sports Betting — Understanding Parlays, Pick’ems and Pushes


Posted: April 8, 2022, 9:43 a.m.

Last update on: April 8, 2022, 10:01 a.m.

It’s already been a big year for sports betting, with new states legalizing the activity and generating millions in revenue. Get in on the action with parlays, pick’ems and pushes.

sports book, vegas
Bettors place bets at the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas. Nearly two dozen states have jumped into action. (Picture: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Now that you have learned what a “moneyline”, a “point spread” and an “over/under” is, it is time to introduce what a “parlay” is.


A “parlay” is a type of bet that combines two or more bets to make a bet with a larger payout. The caveat in a “parlay” is that all selections must win for the bet to win.

The more games you add to your parlay, the bigger the payout becomes. A good thing about a “parlay” is that you can combine all the other types of bets. A parlay can be assembled with moneylines, point spreads, props, over/unders, and more.

For an example of a parlay, let’s say it’s a Friday night and you want to bet on some NBA basketball. You think the San Antonio Spurs (-2) and LA Clippers (+6) will cover the gaps in their respective games. Instead of betting $10 combined on them to cover and get almost $19 back if they do, you can “bet” both games in one bet at about 2.65 times your odds and turn your $10 into 26 $.50.

The key to “parlay” is that you must win both bets. So if they both cover the “point spread”, you win. But if one of the teams doesn’t, then you lose everything. The bet is considered lost as soon as one of the bets it contains loses. If you made a 3-team parlay and won two of the games and lost only one of the games, you still lose the entire bet. People who prefer to bet on “parlays” like the idea of ​​being able to bet an amount to potentially get a good return. If you bet on individual games, you tend to bet more because all of them combined add up.

choose them

Previously, we discussed what a “point spread” was. A “pick’em” or “PK”, as it is called, is a game in which neither team is favored on the “point spread”. So there is no propagation in the game. Not that it is not available. It’s just that the “point spread” in this game sucks. And the “moneyline” for both teams is the same, so when you bet on the game, whoever wins the game wins the bet.

For an example of “pick’em” in the NFL, the Denver Broncos were at home against the Los Angeles Chargers, and the game was a “PK”. If you choose Denver to win, then they just have to win the game – the “point spread” is considered zero.

The only chance a game can “push” on a pick’em is on a moneyline if the game ends in a tie.

To push

Speaking of “push”, what is a “push” in terms of sports gaming lingo?

Well, a ‘push’ happens when a bet ends in a tie between the bettor and the bookmaker, and in the event of a ‘push’, the bettor gets their money back. A “push” can occur on a “moneyline”, on a “point spread”, “over/under”, “prop” and “parlay”.

For example, let’s say you took the Atlanta Falcons -3 against the Detroit Lions in the NFL. If Atlanta wins by exactly 3 runs, the game is considered a push and a tie. A “push” is not a loss. You will always get your money back, and if you take a play that “pushes” into a “bet”, the odds are simply eliminated from your bet.

On a “moneyline”, the only time a game can “push” is if it ends in a tie. But usually the only sport that ends in a tie is football.

So the more you know about betting and the conditions involved, the more savvy you will become. Deciding when to “parlay” or stick to “point spreads” and “moneylines” is all up to you. But the options are endless.


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