In the world of sports betting, there are sometimes unlikely outcomes. A tie, also referred to as a push, is seen as an unlikely outcome, since much is done in football, for example, to avoid it. But it does happen, which calls into question any bets placed for one team winning over the other. In the case of an NFL game ending in a tie, the bettor would simply get their money back, which quickly resolves the situation.
However, there is also what is referred to as a dead heat. This occurs when there is a tie between multiple possible winners. It most commonly occurs in golf and horse racing, given that there are so many potential winners all aggressively vying for the same positions.
It is possible, for example, for two or more horses to come in at second place. This is a dead heat.
When Does It Happen?
Dead heats are very rare in horse racing. A photo finish is almost always used to declare one horse the winner over the other. But in the rare cases where a decission simply cannot be made, the position will be declared a dead heat.
In golf, however, dead heats are far more common. Since it is relatively common that golfers may end with the exact same score, dead heats tend to be declared on a fairly regular basis. But there are carefully crafted rules by bookmakers to avoid bets falling on a dead heat, as much as possible.
If multiple golfers come third, a playoff is arranged to declare a final winner, which helps the situation. Plus, bookmakers will only accept bets as to which golfer comes first, and never which comes seventh, for example. This drastically helps reduce dead heat problems.
Dead Heat Payouts
But the question remains; what if a bettor placed a bet on a horse to win third, but that horse tied for third with two other horses?
Bookmakers have tried to find the fairest solution to the dead heat conundrum. Though, it is still a controversial subject in some circles.
In a dead heat payout, the bookmaker will simply divide the original stake between the options that tied. So if you bet $20, and your horse tied with another for second, then your stake becomes $10. Then, the original odds are referred to, and the payout is made. So if the odds on your horse were 5/1, your $20 bet would earn you $50.
Is It Fair?
There have been many that argue against how dead heat payouts are calculated, but there really isn’t any other option that would work.
However, it is also very important to keep in mind that bookmakers all have their own set of rules. Be sure to check that your chosen bookmaker follows the payout rules explained above. It is, of course, a bookmaker’s right to decide their own rules, and some may have decided on their own way of handling the payouts.
Check the terms and conditions, or as customer support, to be sure.