What Does PK Mean In Betting?

PK in Sports Betting

A pick’em (also called pick and PK) in betting lines means the matchup is so close there isn’t a favorite or an underdog.

But what does a PK mean in sports betting, especially in soccer and football? Why is it important to understand first how point spreads work before you truly understand what a PK is?

You’ll also learn how point spread odds are read, relevant betting terms, how and where to bet, and how to calculate potential payouts.

What’s more, you’ll find helpful tips to develop a winning strategy for betting point spreads and picks. Betting terms like PK lines, run lines, parlays, teasers, and line movements will be explained to help you successfully bet on pick’ems.

What Is a PK in Sports Betting?

The betting line is a PK when oddsmakers determine the two teams are even in strength, so the point spread is zero, and the moneyline for each side is the same.

To win your PK bet, you just need to have your team win the game. If it wins, you win your bet. If it loses, you lose your bet.

Say two teams are playing in a Super Bowl match. The point spread has narrowed to the point where it becomes a PK game, which looks something like this:

Team A – PK (-110)

Team B – PK (-110)

These odds mean you must bet $110 on your team choice for a chance to win $100 if your chosen team wins.

To fully understand what PK is, you need a firm grasp of point spread bets.

What Is a Point Spread?

Also known as betting the spread or handicap betting, point spreads make things equal for both teams in a matchup.

Both teams have a specific number of points to add to or deduct from their final scores to determine the game’s point spread winner.

Instead of betting on a team you think will win, you’re betting on the margin of victory or choosing which team you think will perform better than that set line.

Picture a football game between the New England Patriots and New York Jets. A point spread betting line might look something like this:


Point Spread


New England Patriots



New York Jets



In this example, the Patriots are clear favorites for the game, so they’re given a handicap of -6.5. This means New England must win by at least 7 points for the bet to win.

The Jets are the underdogs in this game so they’re given a handicap of +6.5. They must win outright or not lose by 7 points or more for the bet to win.

The spread is sometimes called the great equalizer because it turns every matchup into a 50-50 proposition. Even if your chosen team wins the game, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won your spread bet.

Point Spread Betting: Reading the Odds and Calculating Payouts

The number next to the spread (-110) is the juice associated with that bet in the example above.

Juice (vig or vigorish) is the amount a sportsbook charges for taking a bet. The sportsbook collects vigs only if the bettor loses the bet.

Most spread bets will be -110, which means the sportsbook takes a 10% commission. Simply put, you have to risk $1.10 for every $1 you want to win.

Given that the odds for both teams in the example is -110, the potential payout is also the same.

To win $100 on the Patriots at -6.5, you need to bet $110. For the Jets at +6.5, you also have to bet $110 to win $100.

Using Point Spreads in Your Sports Betting Strategy

Point spread bets are a big part of most sports bettors’ winning betting strategy. Some professional bettors, like sharps, exclusively use point spread bets to win more bets.

Unknown to many, even to most gamblers, it was a math teacher named Charles K. McNeil who refined point spread betting.

Called the point man in a sports gambling revolution, McNeil was one of America’s most influential bookies. He was adept at betting, and his peers viewed his handicapping ability with extreme respect.

McNeil believed that money, guts, and brains make up the three essentials that every bettor needs.

Successful bettors have a winning strategy that separates them from casual bettors.

  1. Do some serious research and gain experience.

Combining knowledge and experience will help you become better at handicapping or using an advantage to equalize the win probability.

An Asian handicap is the practice of point spread betting in soccer matches. Popular among handicappers, this process eliminates the likelihood of losing if a game ends in a draw (tie) after 90 minutes.

Over time, you’ll know what makes an effective sports betting strategy work for you. As you hone your betting skills, you have to do research on sports events to make informed betting decisions.

But don’t think that betting on a pick’em is easier than a regular spread bet because it isn’t.

Here are helpful tips you should consider when doing some research before making a bet on a pick’em:

Statistics: Don’t blindly go for the team or player with the better record. Each sport has different statistics, but the more you know about them, the better your decisions will be.

For example, in basketball games, look at efficiency rating, rebound success, three-point shooting percentage, and play pace. In American football, check out points per yard, yards per play, and turnover differential.

Power rankings: Power ratings are values assigned to each team to indicate its strength. The rankings are essentially a synopsis of all teams in a league and their performance in the past week.

Oddsmakers provide insights on each team and rank them based on their statistics.

Home field advantage: This refers to the tendency for athletes to have a bigger advantage when competing at their home facility.

Home field advantage is easy to see in the psychological effects that supporting fans have on the away team or referees, while away teams have to spend time and energy traveling or even change time zones

  1. Use line movement to your advantage.

Betting lines move when odds or point spreads change from when the bet opens to the time the game actually begins.

Using an NFL point spread as an example, let’s see how a line can move from a betting line’s opening to the game’s kick-off.

Opening Line (Monday):

Los Angeles Rams -3 (-110)

New York Giants +3 (-110)

In this example, the Rams open up as 3-point favorites against the Giants on Monday. The -110 odds refer to the vig on the bet, which means a $110 bet could win you $100.

Say the game is set on Sunday. You’re thinking of betting on the Rams, but you decide to wait a bit.

On Sunday morning, you find that the line has moved by 2.5 points.

Sunday’s Line:

Los Angeles Rams -5.5 (-110)

New York Giants +5.5 (-110)

What could have caused this line to move?

One reason could be because more money was coming in on the Rams than on the Giants. To encourage more bettors to pick the other team, sportsbooks or bookmakers move the betting lines.

Also, something unfortunate could have happened to the Giants. For example, there was an injury or suspension of an important player.

Recognizing and reacting to line movement can help you get the best possible price on your bets.

With time and practice, reading lines and projecting line movement will become an acquired habit or skill.

What Does PK Mean in Soccer Betting?

When a game is a pick (toss up), the goal line spread does not matter. If your chosen team wins, you win your bet. But if it loses, you also lose your bet.

Similar to point spreads, puck lines, and run lines, goal lines determine the difference in quality between the teams.

For example, for a half-goal line, the favorites must win outright to cover the goal line. The underdogs can win or draw (tie) to cover.

An example of a pick bet is the 2019 UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie between Tottenham Hotspur and Borussia Dortmund.

Both teams’ odds to advance were the same at -110. Because it was a pick bet, the bettors got good odds either way.

What Is PK on an NFL Betting Line?

PK on an NFL betting line means the game is even.

Suppose the Philadelphia Eagles are playing the Miami Dolphins, and the line is PK. In that case, it’s an even game, which means there’s no point spread.

Whether it’s the Eagles or the Dolphins, the team you choose to bet on doesn’t really matter. Your chosen team only has to win the game for you to win your bet.

Pick games don’t happen very often in the NFL, though. Out of 256 games in the entire 2018 regular season, there were only six games where the line closed as a pick. In the NFL playoffs that same year, there were no PK games.

Check out the latest football odds here. Don’t miss out on the odds boosts that we give every week on a huge range of events.

Understanding Betting Terms

Half Points

Point spread numbers carry a half point instead of whole numbers only. Half points eliminate any chance a bet will result in a push (tie).

When a game ends in a tie, bettors get a refund of their initial stake because no team covers the spread.

Puck Lines

The puck line is a spread betting option in a hockey game, where you’re betting on the favorite team to win by two goals or the underdog to lose by one goal or outright.

Run Lines

The run line is point spread betting in baseball, where it’s set at -1.5 runs for the team that’s expected to win and +1.5 for the underdog.


A parlay, also called a multi bet, combines two or more bets from multiple sporting events. This bet can include different wager types, like moneylines, point spreads, O/U or totals, futures, and prop bets.

Each outcome is called a leg, and each leg must succeed for the parlay to stand (win).

For example, you can bet on the Norfolk State Spartans from the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) March Madness, AC Milan from Serie A, Lille from Ligue 1, Liverpool from the Premier League, and Jan Blachowicz from the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) using just one ticket (bet slip).

At SporstBetting.com, you have a wide range of sports to bet on, like the NFL (National Football League), MLB (Major League Baseball), NHL (National Hockey League), soccer, tennis, boxing, rugby, cricket, and motor sports.

We make parlays more fun with ourParlay Party promotion. Place at least a $5 bet on four legs or more and get free bet credits on all parlay wins.


A teaser is similar to a parlay. Each sports event selected for a teaser must win for the player to win the bet.

What makes teasers different is that a bettor may alter point spreads and over/unders. The adjusted lines help bettors gain more confidence in their bets.

But while teasers seem easier to win, they don’t pay as much as parlays.

Should You Bet on a PK?

As with all betting, the answer is: It depends. Before you bet, you should evaluate PK lines in much the same way as you assess any other line, like the moneyline.

Note that betting odds vary to give incentives to various types of bettors. Point spread bettors are different from moneyline bettors, for example.

Also, point spreads can be teased, while moneylines cannot. Most sportsbooks don’t allow bettors to parlay moneyline bets and point spreads of the same game.

Wagering on a PK is more of a personal preference. Most amateur gamblers like pick’em lines because they’re simpler. The matching -110 odds take out some of the guesswork involved in betting.

Check out our odds listings here and decide whether you want to bet on pick’em scenarios or you’d rather bet on a team with better odds and earn a higher payout.

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