What happens if one leg of a parlay pushes? Over/under push parlay; and Bookie parlay payout risk management

June 05, 2022

There are times where a player may have the perfect parlay betting slip in his hands, only to get ruined by a push? Believe it or not, a one-game push in a parlay happens all the time. The parlay push can be from a point spread, an over under, or even a player prop. But have you ever wondered what happens when there is a push in a parlay?

In this article we will cover how a push in a parlay affects the player’s ticket, how bookies using pay per head sportsbook software can deal with a push, and how players manage to often avoid having a push on a parlay. If you take action from sports bettors that love the thrill of making a high odds parlay ticket, then this is everything you need to know about what happens if one leg of a parlay pushes!

Some of the parlay options available to pay per head bookies.

Some of the parlay options available to pay per head bookies.

How Does a Push Work in a Parlay?

First, let’s review what a parlay actually is. In sports betting, a parlay is a bet with two or more different wagers on a single bet slip. What this does is it increases the odds of the ticket and therefore the potential payout as well.

Bet slip widget available to players using the pay per head platform

(Using the bet-slip widget, your players can easily add multiple selections to their parlays without leaving the main sportsbook board)

So the question is: what happens if a bet pushes in a parlay? That’s right, if one of those wagers falls exactly on the game total or point spread, it is considered a push.

Example of a parlay push bet scenario.

(Example of a Parlay push. As you can see, The parlay leg of Item#2 (Diamondbacks @ Dodgers was cancelled, this caused the original payout to go from $332 to $140)

The fact of the matter is, if a player is holding a parlay with a push he can still win the bet. What happens is the bet is reduced to the odds that the ticket would be if the game that was a push was never included. It’s the fairest way to resolve the issue since a push is technically not a win or a loss. The pushed game is nullified, and players still have a chance of winning their ticket if the rest of the wagers hit.

How Does a Parlay Push Work on Over/Under Bets?

An Over/Under push is one of the most common ways to end up with a push in a parlay. Oddsmakers are pros for a reason, and it’s not unusual to see NBA or NFL games land exactly on the posted total. Some of these players are very diligent by using NFL, MLB, or NBA basketball betting strategies. If one of the player’s bets is a total bet, and the game score lands right on the total number, then he has an Over/Under push parlay.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say the player is adding an NBA game with the posted total of 220.0 points. He wants to add the Over 220.0 points to his parlay bet.

Just his luck, the game ends with a final score of 114-106, or a total of 220 points. 

As mentioned earlier, when one game results in a push on a parlay, that game is nullified from the ticket. So this NBA game that the player’s bet on the over 220 points for would have its odds completely removed from the total odds of his parlay wager.

Controlling the maximum number of totals bets allowed in a parlay ticket.

(You can easily control the maximum number of totals allowed, on a per-parlay-size basis from within your player management screen)

How Does a Parlay Push Work on Moneyline Bets?

A push on a moneyline bet is pretty rare, so if it happens, it’s very unlucky for the player. More often than not bettors will bet on the point spread because the odds are usually better. The only way to get a push in a moneyline bet is for the game to end in a tie. The player also needs to be betting on a sport or league that can have games end with a tie as a result. If you are betting on European football (soccer), games can end in a tie, whereas if you are betting on the NBA or NHL, these games play until they have a winner.

max parlay payout underdogs settings

(Since moneylines bets (specially underdogs) use parlay true odds (as opposed to fixed odds) one thing you can do to protect yourself is to first set a maximum number of underdogs allowed in the parlays action you choose to accept and also setting a “max parlay payout”. Setting this limit any parlay that would normally payout more will be reduced to the amount set here)

What Happens If You Push One Leg of a Parlay?

The most common questions we get asked are ‘does a push cancel a parlay’ or ‘does a push lose a parlay’? The answer is neither! According to parlay push rules, the ticket is not voided or cancelled, but the odds for the pushed results are removed from the odds of the total ticket.

The same can happen if more than one game is a push. The total odds of the ticket will continue to decrease as more wagers result in a push. This is a very unlikely scenario, but the point is that players still have a chance to win their bets. Just expect the total potential payout to be less than when they first made the parlay ticket.

Teasers rule: Ties equals Lose.

(Often, the tie-lose rule gets confused with that available to Teaser bets. In teasers, there is an option where you can set your offered teasers to lose if there is a tie within the player’s selection)

How to Calculate the Odds of a Push in a Parlay

Once the ticket gets graded, the player’s ticket will update with the new payout of the parlay bet after the push happens. As can be expected, the odds will drop significantly when there is a pushed game result. But in case the player doesn’t want to wait for the result to occur, there is a way to calculate the new odds.

Using a parlay calculator with push stipulations can be an excellent way to see if a potential payout would be worth the bet in the case of a parlay push. Here’s an excellent parlay payout calculator that we recommend that allows you to specify in your parlay calculation, if one of the games is a push. As you can see, the odds and the potential payout fall, but the player can still usually get a decent payout on his wager, even with a push in a parlay.

How to Use the Parlay Calculator

  1. Enter your total wager amount
  2. Specify how many bets you want in your parlay
  3. Provide the Odds for each leg of your parlay
  4. Specify which leg or legs of the parlay will be a push
  5. Find your results below

Using a Parlay Payouts Chart

Here is a Parlay Payouts Chart from the same site that the Parlay Calculator is from:

Standard Vegas parlay (fixed) odds.

(Standard Vegas parlay payouts)


This chart shows the payouts for parlays. The odds are based on a fair payout of -110 per bet, which is fairly standard for a point spread or over/under bet. 

By using these rules as a guideline, we can assume that a 3 Team Parlay (6/1) with one leg that pushed will only have the potential payout of a 2 Team Parlay (2.6/1) if both remaining legs win. The same for any other combination of parlay legs on the player’s ticket. 

Custom parlay payout odds available to pay per head bookies

(Keep in mind that it’s your book, and you are able to place the conditions to your players on how you decide to accept their action. For example, the standard Vegas parlay payout can be easily adjusted either from your backend panel or by calling us at customer support.)

How Sportsbooks Deal with a Push

The general rule of thumb for sportsbooks is that in the event of a push on a parlay ticket, that game is voided from the final odds of the ticket. If it is a single bet that pushes then the bettor is simply refunded their initial wager. It is akin to a push in Blackjack where neither the dealer nor the player wins, and so the round is a wash and the player gets their wager back.

How Half Point Betting Saves the Day

Often, players use an easy solution to avoiding a push on their parlays. It’s called half-point betting and it simply adds a 0.5 to a game total or point spread. This ensures that the bet cannot result in a push. 

Here is an Example:

Let’s use that same NBA game total bet from earlier. The sportsbook has this game posted at a total of 220.0 points. If the player wants to ensure this bet does not result in an Over Under push parlay, then simply add 0.5 points or remove 0.5 points from the total.

This means the new bet would be either 219.5 or 220.5. This means that if the player bets the Over 220.5, he needs the game total to be at least 221 points, or if you bet the Over 219.5, you need at least 220 points.

The only thing to keep in mind is that this strategy can alter the odds of the bet. A total of 219.5 would give slightly lower odds than 220.0 or 220.5. In the end, the difference shouldn’t have a major effect on the potential payout of the parlay.


Parlays can be a fun way of betting multiple different wagers on the same ticket for a higher potential payout. But what happens if the player pushes on a parlay? As you now know, nothing major! Generally he still has a chance to win a profit at the end of the night, albeit at lower odds and therefore a lower potential payout

As we mentioned, you are in control of your book. There is a plethora options and settings you can apply (or request to be applied) depending on your risk tolerance and bankroll. Having said that, the most common thing to do when there is a parlay push is to just remove the odds of the pushed wager from the player’s parlay, leaving him with a chance to still win the other legs of the ticket!

Get started with the best pay per head bookie software

Are you looking to make an informed decision about the best Pay Per Head provider for your sports betting business? Our exclusive in-depth pay per head sportsbook review article reveals a comprehensive comparison of our services against the top competitors in the market.