What Does PK Mean in Betting? Guide to the Best Pick’Em Sportsbooks 2023

In this article, we will give you the ins and outs of PK betting. You’ll discover what a PK bet is, how best to utilize them, how they work in different sports as well as what are the best sportsbooks you can sign up with to make the most of your PK bets.

What Does PK Mean in Betting?

PK is short for Pick’Em, Pk’Em or pick and relates to spread betting. One of the most popular ways to bet on sports is betting on the spread as it evens the playing field and means even if a team has no chance of winning bettors can still place bets on them as the underdog essentially has points added to their score before the games even began.betus PK betting

With Pick’ems there are no clear favorites, the bookies believe the two teams to be evenly matched and thus the spread is 0, meaning that a pick’em spread bet essentially becomes a moneyline bet, where you are just betting on what team you think will win and the amount they win by is not relevant.

How Do You Read Odds That Are Pick’Em?

Although a PK means that the spread is zero and the two teams are believed to be very evenly matched it doesn’t mean that one team isn’t slightly favored. You can tell what team is the favorite at sportsbooks by looking at the odds.

The typical odds for spread betting is -110 for either team. This number will sometimes move slightly but it’s always going to be around that amount. In a Pick’Em game the slight favorite will be the one with the minus sign plus the higher number. For example, let us take look at a hypothetical match between the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs where a sportsbook has listed the game as a PK.

Team PK Odds
Buffalo Bills -113
Kansas City Chiefs -107

In this game, The Buffalo Bills are the sportsbook thinks that the Bills have a slight edge over the Chiefs as you would need to bet $113 on them to make a $100 profit. To make $100 on the Kansas City Chiefs you would only need to bet $107.

What Does PK Mean in Soccer Betting?

In popular sports like basketball and football games are usually high scoring and rarely end in a tie but even if regular time ends in the scores being even it will be decided in overtime, although NFL games can technically still end in a tie it’s a very rare occurrence. Soccer games on the other hand often end in a draw and unless it’s a knockout tournament, there’s no overtime.

With this being the case you may be wondering what happens if you place a PK spread bet on a soccer game and the game ends in a tie. Well, what happens is that your bet is a push and your stake is refunded. For instance, if you place a $20 PK spread bet on Manchester City to beat Liverpool and Man City wins your bet is a winner, if Liverpool wins you lose your bet and if the game ends tied up you get your $20 stake back.PK betting soccer

It’s important to remember that a PK spread bet and a PK moneyline bet on soccer is going to offer different odds. In football and basketball, the odds on a Pick’em spread bet will usually be identical to the moneyline, there may be slight differences but it’s going to be very small. However, with soccer, a pick spread bet odds can be very different from the moneyline.

This is because, with a PK moneyline bet, there are 3 possible outcomes win, lose, and draw and you can bet on one of these meaning that 2 outcomes result in you losing money. Ignoring other factors and looking at only the possible outcomes you have a 33.3% chance of winning money and a 66.6% chance of losing money. On a pk spread bet, there are 3 possible outcomes as well but you only lose money on one so you have a 33.3% chance of winning money, a 33.3% chance of losing money, and a 33.3% chance of neither winning nor losing.

How Does a PK Bet Affect the Spread?

For Pick’em betting a spread essentially becomes a moneyline in most US sports. This is because the spread is zero you are really just betting on what team will win the game and how many points they win by is totally irrelevant like it is in a moneyline bet. This means that the odds of a PK spread and PK moneyline bet will usually be the same although there can be small differences.bovada pk bet

This isn’t the case in all sports though. As we went over in the previous section about soccer when a tie is a possible outcome the odds on a moneyline will often be higher because if you bet on one team to win and the game ends in a tie or the other team wins you lose your bet and your stake. In a PK spread bet if a game ends in a tie it’s a push and you receive your stake back.

Tips to Betting on a Pick’Em Line

Pick’em games are hard to predict the winner as by their very nature the two teams playing are evenly matched and the game is pretty much a flip of a coin. However, you can give yourself the edge when betting on PK spreads by following our top five tips below.


The first thing to check when placing PK bets is to check the form and stats of the two teams for at least their previous six games (if they have played that many in the current season). Make sure to check both their home and away form and think about where the PK match is being played. Also, look at the quality of teams they have beaten or lost to and the points differential.

This information is easily obtainable on the league’s website or a reputable sports site. For example, for NBA you can check the NBA teams page and for the NFL you can check out the NFL website, additionally, ESPN has extensive stats for many sports.

Consider Head-to-Head Record

While form is important it’s also advisable to check the head-to-head record of the two teams from the current season and previous seasons as some teams just seem to have the advantage over another. For example in soccer Tottenham Hotspur football team went 16 years between 1990-2006 without beating Chelsea FC even though both were top-flight football teams.

It’s also important to consider which team is at home and the head-to-head record at the stadium or ground the game is being played.

Check Team and Player News

This is essential as players missing can have a huge impact on these tight games. Try to check team news every day leading up to the game to see if there are any key players injured or likely to miss the game. Also if any players are coming back from injury, check on what the coach is saying about their possibility of playing and how much of the game they might play.

Don’t Place Bets Early

This ties in with our previous tip. The reason you don’t want to place your pick’em bets too early is that even the smallest aspect could affect the results. If you place your PK bet three days in advance a lot could happen before the game starts. A  player could pick up an injury, get ill or any number of things could occur that may potentially stop them from playing or negatively affect their performance.

In outdoor sports, the weather could also play a factor and you won’t have a reliable prediction of the weather until at least 24 hours before. That’s why it’s best to leave your Pick’em betting until the day of the game or maybe the day before.

Check the Odds of the Moneyline

As we mentioned earlier even though Pick’em spreads are essentially moneyline bets on sports like basketball and football the odds are not always the same and depending on what team you are choosing to bet on the odds on a PK moneyline bet may give you slightly better odds or vice versa.

It’s only ever going to be a slight difference in sports where a draw is impossible or highly unlikely but these small amounts can add up over time.

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Joe is a writer from the UK who holds a Master's degree from Framingham State University in Massachusetts, USA. He specializes in sports gambling but also covers poker and casinos. He is a huge sports fan who enjoys all sports, from the NBA to darts and everything in between. He is also a die-hard Tottenham Hotspur supporter, although he's a savvy enough gambler not to bet on them.