PK In Sports Betting: What It Means and How It Works

The PK wager, or pick’em in betting, is a straightforward two-way choice: Team A or Team B. In this instance there is no point spread involved. You simply pick the team you think will win, and that’s it.

The term “PK” in sports betting simply means “pick’em.” It is a type of bet.

A pick’em is a rare occurrence when oddsmakers do not see any difference between two teams. The odds are so close that sportsbooks are unable to determine which team is better, or who will be the betting favorite or the underdog. In these games, oddsmakers will set the point spread at zero, or a pick’em.

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What Is PK In Betting?

The PK wager, or pick’em in betting, is a straightforward two-way choice: Team A or Team B. In this instance there is no point spread involved. You simply pick the team you think will win, and that’s it.

If you make a PK bet in soccer or football and the game results in a draw or tie, then the wager is considered a push and you get your money back.

Do not confuse a pick’em bet with a moneyline bet. If you make a moneyline wager on a soccer match, there could be three possible outcomes: Team A wins, Team B wins, or a draw.

How PK Betting Works

A PK bet is simplified because you have only two choices. Once you made a decision on a team you like, then it’s time to bet and you pick’em!

At American sportsbooks and apps, a pick’em bet will often be marked with “PK” in the straight bets, or the point spread section. Sometimes will be marked like a point spread designation of -0 or +0.

At Asian and some European sportsbooks, a PK bet in soccer will be designated as Draw No Bet (DNB).

If you win, you earn back your stake plus winnings. If you lose, then you lose your entire wager. If the outcome is a tie or draw, then you get your money back.

Examples Of PK Betting

Many North American sports leagues utilize a pick’em wager in events that use a point spread in games. Variations of this are a run line in baseball, or a puck line in ice hockey.

In North American football (including the NFL, college football, or the CFL), point spread bets are the most popular form of wagering. Two teams will be designated with a point spread, which is a margin of points to level the playing field. If the point spread is a zero, it will be designated a pick’em or PK.

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest sporting events every year. It’s also the largest betting day of the year in the USA. Ten years ago, Super Bowl XLIX was so evenly matched between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks that oddsmakers could not determine which team was better. It’s rare that a game lands on a pick’em. It’s even rarer when that’s the point spread in the Super Bowl. To understand the significance of a pick’em line, you just need to take a look at NFL historical betting data. A pick’em occurs approximately 1.1% of the time.

The Super Bowl is played on a different neutral site every year, so neither team gets the benefit of a home-field advantage. If the Patriots or Seahawks played on their home turf, there would’ve been a clear favorite. However, the home-field advantage was neutralized in the Super Bowl between two equally matched teams. As a result, sportsbooks in Las Vegas and all around the world set the point spread in Super Bowl XLIX as a pick’em, or PK.

A pick’em might seem rare in football, but they happen more frequently compared to basketball.

A pick’em doesn’t always mean that two teams are evenly matched, but depending on a specific situation, there is no clearcut favorite.

Injuries are a major factor in determining if a specific game is listed as a pick’em. The New York Knicks could open as a -2 favorite against the Indiana Pacers in the NBA Playoffs. If a starter is later listed on the injury report, then oddsmakers could move the point spread to a pick’em.

New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers

Home/away splits are another factor. On paper, one team is slightly better than the other if they played on a neutral site. For example in the NFL regular season, the Seattle Seahawks have a noticeable home-field advantage in front of their boisterous fans and in a stadium that’s so loud that opposing teams struggle to communicate with each other. The San Franciso 49ers are the better team and should be a two-point betting favorite at a neutral site. However, the 49ers must go on the road and play the Seahawks in a hostile environment, so the point spread will be moved to a pick’em.

Understanding PK Odds And Payouts

The odds for a straight pick’em bet might be slightly lower than a moneyline wager, but the simplicity is why it’s popular.

With a moneyline wager in soccer, there are three potential outcomes including a draw. That’s a 33.3% chance that any of those outcomes will win. With a pick’em bet and only two potential outcomes, there’ a 50% chance that your wager wins.

Bettors will opt for a PK bet when there are two evenly matched teams. This often happens in major championship events li the FIFA World Cup Final, UEFA European Championship, or the MLS Cup Game.

The standard price for a pick’em bet in a college football or NFL is -110 odds, or you must lay $110 to win $100. Keep this in mind because sometimes it’s better to bet a pick’em, and there are some instances where a moneyline bet is a better option.

Keep an eye out for situations when the point spread is a pick’em but there’s a discrepancy in the moneyline. In Week 1 of the upcoming 2024 NFL season, the New York Giants host the Minnesota Vikings. A few sportsbooks listed the line as a pick’em. However, the moneyline prices are different for each team with the Giants at -115 and the Vikings at -105.

If you want to bet the Giants, a pick’em bet is the better option. If you make a moneyline wager on the Giants, you will have to lay $115 to win back $100. Pick’em bets are -110 odds, so you’ll only have to lay $110 to win $100.

If you think the Vikings will win, then a moneyline wager is a better bet than a pick’em. If you bet the Vikings on the moneyline, you only have to lay $105 to win $100, versus a pick’em bet where you must lay $110 to win $100.

Pros And Cons Of PK Betting

Some cautious bettors prefer pick’em bets, or draw no bet in soccer. It’s often viewed as the safest bet to make because you only have a 33.3% chance of losing, with a 33.3% chance of winning and a 33.3% chance of getting your money back if the game results in a push.

One of the negatives about betting a pick’em is that it’s hard to predict the outcome.

When an oddsmaker handicaps a game, a multitude of factors are considered and explored. Even during an era of analytics and advancements in AI technology, it’s still amazing when a game is listed as a pick’em.

If oddsmakers and sportsbook experts are unable to make a decision after analyzing even the most granular data, then there’s probably multiple reasons why it’s a pick’em. If a game is that difficult to pick and too close to call, it’s probably wise to avoid it.

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